World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > Nicaragua

Money and duty free for Nicaragua

Currency and Money

Currency information

Nicaraguan Gold 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, restaurants and medium to large sized businesses. Smaller businesses, attractions and mom-and-pop operations may deal in cash only.


There are ATMs in most tourist areas. While the majority of these are reliable and will work with cards, some of them accept VISA only, so there’s always the chance that they won’t. It’s recommended that you plan accordingly. Most ATMs give Cordobas and US dollars. When paying in cash, notes in less than perfect condition may not be accepted; don’t accept any that are ripped or have marks on them.

Travellers cheques

These can only be changed in some banks and are not widely accepted. There may be a fee for cashing them.

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

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airport, at banks and at official bureaux de change in major cities. US Dollars are the most easily exchanged currency and are also accepted as payment throughout the country.

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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