Helpful Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Crime

  • Use the same common sense while traveling in Nicaragua that you would in any high-crime area of a large U.S. city.
  • Use caution in municipalities with higher reports of crimes such as Managua, Granada, Masaya, San Juan del Sur, Rivas, Tipitapa, Leon, Diriamba, Bluefields, Puerto Cabezas, popular beaches on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and the Corn Islands.
  • Use caution in areas that may attract criminal activity, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, and beaches and other touristic areas.
  • Use caution in isolated or dark areas and avoid travelling alone.  We recommend traveling in groups when going to the beach or to isolated areas.
  • Do not resist a robbery attempt.  In the event of a robbery, comply with the demands of the aggressors while attempting to observe identifying characteristics of the perpetrators.  Once the suspect(s) has fled, contact the police and the U.S. Embassy.  No item is worth risking serious injury or death.
  • Travel with your passports, other identification, credit cards, and cash on your person or in a carry-on bag.  Do not leave these items in unattended or stowed bags and luggage.  Maintain a separate copy of passport and credit card information and the telephone number of your credit card provider to report a lost or stolen card.
  • In the event of a flat tire or other issue with a disabled vehicle, keep all doors and the trunk closed and locked and windows rolled up to prevent stolen items while you are outside the vehicle.  Be extremely cautious of any offers to provide assistance.
  • Do not leave anything of value in plain view inside parked vehicles, including sunglasses, passports, sports equipment, purses, briefcases, or valuables.  If no other option exists, secure valuables out of sight in the trunk or other areas of the vehicle before arriving at your destination.  Park in well-lit areas near other vehicles.
  • Criminals often target travelers on buses, taxis, and other types of transportation for pick-pocketing, purse snatching, other types of theft, and robbery.
  • We recommend avoiding buses due to safety and crime concerns.  Buses and other transportation often lack proper safety equipment such as lights, seatbelts, seats, and handholds.
  • If you use taxis, only use licensed taxis endorsed or recommended by airport authorities, major hotels, restaurants, or other trusted sources.  Before taking a taxi, make sure that it has a red stripe across the top and bottom of the license plate and that the number is legible. Choose taxis carefully and note the driver’s name and license number.  Check that the taxi is properly labeled with the company name and logo.  Instruct the driver not to pick up other passengers, agree on the fare before departing, and have small bills in local currency available for payment as taxi drivers often do not make change.
  • Many hotels offer airport pickup and transportation services, so you may consider contacting your hotel to arrange for transportation while in Nicaragua.
  • We recommend only using mototaxis (caponeras) endorsed or recommended by trusted sources and only for short trips.  Mototaxis often lack doors and proper safety equipment such as lights, seatbelts, and handholds.
  • Do not hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightclubs. Do not accept rides from strangers at major bus terminals or border crossings.
  • Ask about security elements in place at hotels and other lodgings prior to making reservations.  Be wary of hotels lacking access control procedures, 24-hour front desk staff, or well-lit parking lots.  Secure items left behind in lodging rooms as best as possible.  Do not leave valuables in plain sight.
  • If you are residing in Nicaragua, review residential security procedures, including with domestic employees, and strengthen security measures to help safeguard your house.
  • While in public places, keep purses, bags, cameras, phones, and other valuables out of sight and within reach.  Do not wear excessive jewelry or utilize your smart cellphone in a fashion that attracts attention to its inherent value.  Do not carry large sums of money, other valuables, or ATM or credit cards that are not needed.
  • Do not leave personal items unattended on beaches.