How expensive is Nicaragua? Can you travel around on a smaller budget or do you need to bring a bag of money?
Nicaragua is one of the cheaper countries in Central America. Below, we provide an overview of the possible costs you can expect. A distinction is made between the basic backpacker and the backpacker+ for whom everything can be a bit more luxurious. These are prices per person unless otherwise stated.
In Nicaragua, payment is made with Colónes. The exchange rate will be about 40 Colón for 1 Euro, where you can easily find the current exchange rate online. The U.S. Dollar is not a very common currency, if you travel across country borders you may have to pay in U.S. Dollars. It is helpful to bring some U.S. Dollars with you.
In general, you can stay fairly cheap in Nicaragua. In this, of course, several options are possible within all budgets. You can easily sleep for €10 in a great hostel in a dorm and for a little more €20 you have
already a private room for 2 people, often including breakfast. In the more luxurious hotels you have rooms from around €40 per night for a 2 – person room. Keep in mind that during the high season (from December – April) and Semana Santa (the week before Easter) hotels are more likely to be fully booked and prices rise. Planning ahead and booking can reduce costs.
Food and drink
Eating and drinking in Nicaragua doesn’t have to cost a lot. A coffee in a café costs €2, a beer €1.25, lunch €5 – €8 and dinner €8 – €12. Many ho(s)tels have a kitchen and if you cook yourself or get street food you can also keep the costs down quite a bit.
Do you cook a lot of your own food and occasionally eat out with the occasional coffee or
beer on the terrace, then you can count on €12.50 on average per day. If you like to eat out and if you like it a bit more luxurious, then you can take into account €25 per day.
The various activities to do in Nicaragua such as the Canyon tour at Somoto, Volcano boarding at León, renting a scooter/dirtbike or a surf lesson all cost between €20 – €30. Depending on how many activities you want to do, you set your budget.
If you travel by public transport in Nicaragua you can expect to pay around €4 – €5 for a long journey of several hours, and a few euros for shorter distances. You can also take the shuttle
do between the larger cities. For this, you should easily charge $25 per ride.
Traveling in say 3 weeks from Somoto to León, Granada, Masaya, Isla Ometepe and San Juan del Sur from Managua you can expect to pay around €40 for the buses and ferry, with the occasional shuttle €100. Renting a motorcycle/scooter/quad is then exclusive.
If you want to go to the Corn Islands then you should quickly take into account a return ticket of around €300. Your stay on the islands is not cheap either. It is good to take this into account when you are setting your budget.
To date, upon entering
Nicaragua still requires a negative PCR test result. This is one of the biggest expenses you have to make in advance.
If you enter Nicaragua by land, there is an entrance fee of $13 per person and an exit fee of $4, payable in dollars. When flying to and from Nicaragua, these costs are often already included in the ticket price.
Other other expenses include laundry, bank transaction fees, a SIM card with data and souvenirs. For this we charge €50 per person.
And what is the total cost of all that?
The basic backpacker
- Average per night €15 (dorm and private room alternated)
- Food and drinks per day €12.50
- Activities total €115
- Transport total from and between the larger cities by public transport €40
- Other €50
- Total for 3 weeks €782.50, average €37.30 per day
- Average per night €40 (private room with private bathroom)
- Food and drink per day €25
- Activities total €150
- Transport total from and between the larger cities with occasional shuttle €100
- Other €50
- Total for 3 weeks €1245 per person, average €59.30 per day