Nicaragua – Level 3: Reconsider Travel Advisory Issued May 4, 2018

Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crime and civil unrest.

On April 23, 2018, the U.S. government ordered the departure of U.S. government family members and authorized the departure of U.S. government personnel.

Political rallies and demonstrations are occurring nearly daily, often with little notice or predictability. Some protests have resulted in injuries and deaths. Some demonstrations have elicited a strong response that has in the past included the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and live ammunition against participants and occasionally have devolved into looting, vandalism, and acts of arson. Such acts may occur again in future demonstrations. Ability to purchase food and fuel may be limited suddenly, as recently occurred. Likewise, access to the Sandino airport in Managua may be blocked without warning. Both the Government of Nicaragua and the U.S. Embassy in Managua are limited in the assistance they can provide. Travel by U.S. government personnel within Nicaragua is restricted, and additional restrictions on movements by U.S. government personnel outside of U.S. diplomatic facilities may be put in place at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly.

Violent crime, such as sexual assault and armed robbery, is common. Police presence and emergency response are extremely limited outside of major urban areas. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using public buses and mototaxis and from entering the Oriental Market in Managua and gentlemen’s clubs throughout the country due to crime. U.S. government personnel require special authorization to travel to the Northern and Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions due to crime and transportation safety concerns.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Nicaragua:

  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Restrict travel during demonstrations, except in an emergency or to depart the country.
  • Shelter in place if your surrounding area is affected by demonstrations or move to a safer location if your current location is unsafe.
  • Consider arrangements to depart the country if you feel unsafe in Nicaragua.
  • Maintain adequate supplies of food, potable water, and fuel if sheltering in place.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Do not display signs of wealth such as expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Nicaragua.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Originally Published: May 4, 2018

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