Nicaragua’s landscape is rugged and beautiful, but much of the country is undeveloped, and it’s important for travelers to stay cautious and be aware of their personal security, especially as lifeguards and warning signs are uncommon, even in dangerous areas. Hiking in volcanic or other remote areas can be dangerous, and taking the appropriate precautions will help ensure your safety. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and shoes, carry sufficient food and water, and always go with a reputable local guide if possible. Some areas, like the volcanoes on Ometepe Island, are illegal to visit without a local guide. Nicaragua is home to a still-growing political system and it’s important to exercise extreme caution during your travels. While riots are uncommon, protests and demonstrations carry the same danger that they do in the U.S. If you see or hear about civil unrest, you should not get involved, and always remember to follow any instructions given by authorities.
The crime rate in Nicaragua is lower than in its neighboring countries, although robberies and thefts are still common for this area. It’s important to keep your valuables secure and out of sight to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of theft. Before your arrival, make sure to set up reputable car or taxi transportation from the airport, as there have been many reports of criminals posing as taxi drivers and police officials. If you are approached by a stranger offering assistance with finding or sharing a taxi, do not accept, as many times these locals are criminals. There have been reports of U.S. citizens being robbed of their valuables, and then the “taxi driver” leaves the traveler abandoned.