Covid & Traveling to Nicaragua
The world changes every day in this pandemic and this is the most current information available. We would like to be as flexible as possible with refunds, but can only offer a refund if another family can take your place.
Nicaragua is open for tourism. You need a negative PCR Covid test that is 72 hours or less old to enter. Your tests results MUST say PCR on them or you will be turned away at the border. Often you can get this test at Walgreens/Walmart/ CVS, or a local health department for free or $25 with your health insurance. A 90 day tourist visa is issued upon arrival.
There are a couple of different ways to arrive in Nicaragua. This is important. There are several airlines advertising their flights to Managua. They let you pay & book and then cancel them last minute; only issuing future travel vouchers. Do NOT book on American, United, or Spirit. They are NOT flying into Nicaragua! I can’t say this enough times.
***** The ONLY commercial airlines that are currently operating into Nicaragua are: AVIANCA (with a stop over in El Salvador) and Copa (with a stop over in Panama) or Air Mexico. That’s it!! Do not book on any other airline if flying into Managua.*****
These airlines require you to email your negative Covid test to them as well as MINSA (as directed 36 hours before departure). You will receive a QR code to present at boarding. If you don’t email your tests results as well as present a paper copy, they will NOT let you board the plane. It can be little tricky. I personally know several people who have followed the directions and have been turned away when boarding the plane. It’s risky. We choose to fly into Costa Rica because it’s easier, cheaper, and allows us to to spend a few days worldcshooling and exploring in another country.
**************** FLYING INTO COSTA RICA IS THE BEST OPTION *************
The easiest and most economical option is flying into Costa Rica and then crossing the border into Nicaragua. There are no COVID testing requirements to enter Costa Rica. And they just dropped the requirement for the Pase de Salud and health insurance if you are not vaccinated.
When you arrive in Costa Rica they ask if you are staying for tourism or in transit to Nicaragua. If you are staying in Costa Rica for a bit before you come to Nicaragua make sure you have:
1. Proof of onward travel (return ticket)
2. Proof of accommodation in Costa Rica (example your hotel or Airbnb reservation)
If you are “in transit” to Nicaragua you will need:
3. Proof of negative PCR test
4. Proof of onward travel (return ticket)
There are two major airports in Costa Rica- San Jose & Liberia. San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and is the most affordable option. We just paid $85/person! That’s super cheap! It’s located about 5 hours from the border. Peñas Blancas is the name of the border into Nicaragua. You can make your own travel plans or we can help you arrange to transportation with a private van. Or take your time traveling from San Jose to the border with a stop in La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano or Monteverde. We just did this trip and I posted lots of pics of our experience on our FB page.
Another option is Liberia Airport. It is the closest and easiest option, but can be a smidge more expensive. (We actually just found super cheap tickets for $70/person out of FL). Liberia airport is much closer to the border (approximately 1.5 hours). We have a company called Costa Rican Ground Transfers that can pick you up at the airport and bring you to the Nicaraguan border for $110. Easy Peezy! No need to worry about anything. They cannot cross the border with you, but will wait til they see you’ve successfully dealt with immigration, keeping me updated every step of the way. Then we offer services to pick you up on the Nicaraguan side of the border and bring you to Nica World School for a fee of $75. They can also pick you up from San Jose for $295 (5 hour drive). Our cousin operates this company and will treat you well. Everyone knows and loves Maira! Other transportation options area available as well such as the public buses or a taxi. You will have to research those options on your own.
Currently the land border is open for everyone to cross back and forth into Nicaragua and Costa Rica!!
Covid testing is also available in Costa Rica for your entry into Nicaragua or re-entry back into the US/home country. Both San Jose and Liberia have lab facilities right in their airports. Both PCR and antigen testing are available. An ANTIGEN test is acceptable to return to the US. We use Abbott Binax home testing kits. They can be purchased on line and come in a pack of 6. This type of tests is much more affordable and comes out to about $30/person. The most current mandates require you to enter the US with a test that is less than 24 hours old.
There are no mandatory regulations in Nicaragua other than the required negative PCR Covid test. There is no quarantine. Here in Nicaragua everything is optional. If you want to mask to protect yourself and others, that is your choice. At the community, we do not require any masking or social distancing. You make your own choices for your own family. Everyone’s choices will be respected. Should a member of community present with fever or any other covid symptoms, we ask that you isolate to try to decrease the spread of the illness and we will bring you everything you need and help you get medical care should you require it.
There is a brand new local hospital about 5 minutes from the community. It is no where near capacity. I’m a nurse and my husband is a firefighter! You’ve got 2 people trained & certified in Emergencies and CPR. We have needed to take our own children the local hospital for broken bones and stitches. However, the best hospital for true emergencies is Vivian Pellas in the capital, 2.5 hours away. It is very nice, most doctors trained in the US. It’s also very affordable compared to the US. Most medicines are available over the counter without a prescription.
As of right now, COVID testing is only available at the Hospital Conchita Palacios MINSA Central (the health department) in Managua. Cost is approximately $150/test and turn around time is very fast. Appointments are required for testing. Hours of operation are 7-11am. Results are back same day in the afternoon from 3-5pm. There is no shortage of tests. We can help you arrange transportation to the testing site should you show symptoms, or for your international departure should your country require testing for re-entry. This testing site is 3 hours away from Nica World School. The Unites States just started requiring testing within 24 hours of arrival recently and we have used the Abbott home tests without a problem. The US accepts antigen or PCR. Nicaragua only accepts PCR. There is a Best Western across from the airport in Managua that you can stay at if you need to get testing done the day before your flight. The phone number is 505-8418-9953. The website is: https://serviciosenlinea.minsa.gob.ni