World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > Nicaragua

Money and duty free for Nicaragua

Currency and Money

Currency information

Nicaraguan Córdoba (NIO; symbol C$) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of C$500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of C$10, 5 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 centavos.

Credit cards

Major credit cards are widely accepted by hotels and tourist places. However, many mom-and-pop operations may deal in cash only.


ATMs are available in tourist areas. You can withdraw cash in local Córdoba or US dollars from ATMs. When using cash, don't accept notes that are ripped or have marks on them.

Travellers cheques

Traveller's cheques are no longer relevant and should be avoided.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0830-1630, Sat 0830-1230.

Currency restrictions

The import of local and foreign currency is unlimited, subject to declaration of amounts exceeding the equivalent of US $10,000 on arrival. There are no restrictions on the export of local and foreign currency.

Currency exchange

The US dollar is the most popular foreign currency and can be freely exchangeable in Nicaragua. Avoid using unofficial street money changers as assaults have been reported.

Nicaragua duty free


The following items can be imported into Nicaragua by travellers aged 21 and over without incurring customs duty:

• 20 packets of cigarettes or 50 cigars or 500g prepared sheaves of tobacco.
• 5L of alcoholic beverages or liquor.
• Personal items, toiletries, make-up and medicines in reasonable quantities for personal use.
• 2kg of sweets.
• Gifts with a value of up to US$500.

Banned Imports

While nothing is outright banned, restricted items include fresh food, live animals, and plants and their products. A special permit is required for firearms.

Banned Exports

Archaeological items, artefacts of historical or monetary value, and gold.

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