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Self-drive Nicaragua: Adventures by road


 10 days car hire in an 4WD for maximum 3 passengers.


You will be staying in small, mid-range properties (two are in characterful restored colonial buildings); and an ecolodge on a coffee estate.


Breakfast daily.


We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included Excursions

• León: Guided city tour
• Granada: Guided city tour and boat trip..

Summary of nights

11 days, 10 nights: Managua 1; Selva Negra 2; León 2; Granada 3; San Juan del Sur 2.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• Car hire for 10 days with basic insurance.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities.
• Total damage waiver excess insurance for the car.
• Meals other than specified.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.


The unit of currency in Nicaragua is the córdoba.

Daily spend

Daily spend It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$35 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday price, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in Managua airport, and in Granada and León: taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip and in the more upmarket shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, or the phone line to the bank may be down, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. You might authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited.

We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of dollar notes (no more than is covered by your insurance). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused.


Tips are welcomed and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.


Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Car insurance:

Your trip is based on a Suzuki 4WD vehicle appropriate for 3 passengers and luggage. Limited collision damage waiver and vehicle theft protection (CDW/TP) cover is included. There may be an excess payable but additional CDW/TP cover with zero excess can usually be purchased at additional cost. Please check the level of your coverage with us when making your booking. We strongly recommend you consider buying your own car hire excess waiver insurance policy before you travel: these are widely available from insurance companies in the UK.  All incidents involving collision, robbery and theft must be reported to the police and a report obtained. 

An international driving licence is recommended. Since 8 June 2015 no paper counterpart of UK driving licences is required but you need to apply to the DVLA for a code. This may be required by the rental company when you collect your car. Please check for further details.

You will need to return the car to the specified office at the end of the rental period.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

Generally this holiday is suitable for confident drivers and able, reasonably fit travellers i who accept the sometimes uncertain and rudimentary nature of travel to remote places.

There is minimum of around 800km of driving over the holiday, spread over 10 days, more if you make detours. There are several days at leisure dotted throughout so you won't have long days of driving on consecutive days. Main roads are paved, other rural roads are dirt and traffic is generally light though coast roads can be busy in the summer. 

If you have a disability which we should be aware of, please contact us.


This itinerary takes you to tropical climes where the sun is strong and temperatures high – often over 30°C. It's cooler  - springlike - in the cloud forest region around Selva Negra. Those travelling between May and October should encounter higher temperatures (around 35°C) and high humidity. The ‘official’ rainy season is May to October.

Clothing and special equipment

Bring plenty of light clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. A waterproof jacket is also advisable. We suggest that you plan to ‘layer’ your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper, and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitos may be lurking. Sandals are a good informal option for evenings. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellent are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America.


Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.


Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

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