Traveling to Nicaragua
For travelers from the United States, you must have a valid passport to enter the country of Nicaragua. A visa is not required, but a tourist card is required and will cost about ten U.S. dollars ($10) when you arrive and it can be purchased at Nicaragua Airports as well as other border crossings. If you are caught without a tourist card, you will be fined one hundred U.S. dollars ($100). Note that when you leave the country you must pay a thirty two dollar exit tax, but often times that cost is included in the price of the airplane ticket.
It is highly recommended that you register with the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua when traveling to the country.
Traveling in Nicaragua
In the western portion of the country of Nicaragua the roads are generally well paved and therefore traveling by bus or taxi is very convenient and common. However, traveling to the eastern portion of the country of Nicaragua is better done via airplane to the various Nicaragua airports since the roads in the east are generally not paved or not in good shape. Traveling by bus is quite inexpensive and convenient, but can be a little uncomfortable if you like your personal space. Generally you pay for the bus once after the bus has left and an attendant will come around to collect the money, however in some bus stations you can buy tickets in advance. Taxis are also a good option, but you should negotiate the fare before you get into the taxi cab or you may get taken for a ride. Also note that taxis will pick up additional passengers along the route if they are able to. Tipping is not neccessary for taxis and they do not expect it.
Money in Nicaragua
Both the U.S. dollar and the Cordoba (the currency of Nicaragua) are accepted everywhere throughout Nicaragua. In the large cities as well as the major tourist areas credit cards are accepted, particularly at hotels, restaurants, and shops catering to tourists. Don't get cash at local ATM machines because of the risk of crime, instead get cash at the hotel you are staying at.
Tipping in Nicaragua
You should tip your waiter or waitress about 10% at a sit down restaurant. Make sure you look closely at your bill however, since some nicer restaurants will already include the tip in the bill. Don't confuse the IVA tax, which is basically a sales tax of about 15%, with an included tip. You should also tip baggage handlers at the airport or your hotel about fifty U.S. cents per bag.
The electrical oulets in Nicaragua are identical to the United States (110 volts, 60 hertz), so travelers from the U.S. don't need a converter but may want to bring a surge protector to protect expensive equipment.