Nicaragua - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel & Etiquette
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Business Customs

Business customs in Nicaragua, while often based on personal relationships, are relatively straightforward. Many Nicaraguan executives were educated in the United States and are familiar with U.S. business customs. Business lunches can last longer than one hour and are a good way to build a personal relationship. Open-collar attire is acceptable for most meetings, but Nicaraguans who are accustomed to dealing with foreigners may dress more formally.  Nicaraguans may arrive late for scheduled appointments, but concern for punctuality is improving.  Businesses remain open at midday, but executives may be unavailable between noon and 2:00 p.m.  Most businesspeople rely heavily on cell phones and messaging applications such as WhatsApp.  Business cards are commonly exchanged, but gifts are not.

Travel Advisory

For up-to-date information on safety and security issues related to travel to Nicaragua, visit the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory page for Nicaragua.

Visa requirements

Business travelers may obtain information about visa requirements for travel to Nicaragua from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Interior’s Immigration Office.  The U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua also provides some information about Nicaragua’s entry requirements.   

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process.  Visa applicants should go to the U.S. Department of State’s visa website


The official currency is the córdoba.  The exchange rate is established by the Central Bank of Nicaragua will be fixed at $1 to 36.62 córdoba from January 1, 2024; this information is publicly available on the Central Bank website The economy runs on a dual-currency system, with nearly all establishments accepting payments in either U.S. dollars or Nicaraguan córdobas.  Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in urban areas. ATMs are readily available in urban areas.


Communication with the United States is readily available through major U.S. long-distance carriers; however, cell phones are far more common than landlines.  Cell phone carriers Claro and Tigo control nearly the entire cellular market.  Both companies also offer mobile internet access.  Due to rates that encourage calls within the same network, it is common for Nicaraguans to prefer one carrier over the other, or even to carry two cell phones – one to call only Claro numbers, and another to call only Tigo numbers.  Russian mobile broadband services provider Yota entered the high-speed internet market in 2009, followed by Chinese Telecom Company Xinwei, which operates under the brand name CooTel, in 2013.  Wi-Fi access is common in major hotels.  Nicaragua uses the same electrical outlets and amperage as the United States.


The political crisis and COVID-19 restrictions caused many airlines to reduce, suspend, or cancel their flights offered to and from Nicaragua.  Flight options have slowly returned and now U.S. airlines operate direct roundtrip flights to Nicaragua from Miami (American Airlines), Houston (United Airlines), and Fort Lauderdale (Spirit Airlines).  In May 2020, Delta cancelled its service between Atlanta and Managua.  Colombian airline Avianca operates direct flights from Miami to Managua and connecting flights through San Salvador, El Salvador. 

Most hotels offer airport shuttle services for their guests.  Visitors commonly hire a driver and vehicle or drive rental cars.  A U.S. driver’s license is valid for use in Nicaragua for 60 days.  Taxicab services within the perimeter of business-class hotels are reliable, though robberies involving non-hotel taxis occur.  Public transit is not recommended.

Information on transportation safety is available on the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory page for Nicaragua.


The official language of Nicaragua is Spanish, but many business contacts speak English as a second language.  English is also spoken as a first language by many people on the Caribbean coast.


For up-to-date information on health concerns related to travel in Nicaragua visit the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory page for Nicaragua.

Local time, business hours, and holidays

Nicaragua observes Central Standard Time all year. There is no Daylight Saving Time. Business hours regularly occur between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., from Monday to Friday, and Saturday between 8:00 a.m. and noon. 

The following holidays are observed in Nicaragua:

  • New Year’s Day: January 1 
  • Holy Thursday: variable (March 28, 2024) 
  • Good Friday: variable (March 29, 2024) 
  • Labor Day: May 1 
  • Mother’s Day: May 30
  • Sandinista Revolution Day: July 19 
  • Festival of Santo Domingo (Managua only): August 1 and 10 
  • Battle of San Jacinto: September 14 
  • Independence Day: September 15 
  • Immaculate Conception Day: December 8 
  • Christmas Day: December 25

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings: 

The Nicaraguan Customs Authority does not apply import charges or duties to goods such as laptop computers, professional equipment, or exhibit materials brought into Nicaragua for temporary personal or professional use.  Business samples ordinarily may be brought in free of duty as well.  See the Temporary Entry Section of the Country Commercial Guide: Trade Regulations, Customs, and Standards for more information. Some U.S. citizens, however, have reported that electronic equipment has been confiscated by the Nicaraguan Customs Authority.