Political rallies and demonstrations are occurring daily, often with little notice or predictability. Some protests result in injuries and deaths. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and live ammunition against participants and occasionally devolve into looting, vandalism, and acts of arson. Both the Government of Nicaragua and the U.S. Embassy in Managua are limited in the assistance they can provide.
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.
- Shelter in place if your surrounding area is affected by demonstrations or move to a safer location if your current location is unsafe.
- If you feel unsafe in Nicaragua, consider arrangements to depart the country.
- 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.