Gringos Guide To Driving Mexico, Central America & Costa Rica
Entering Nicaragua

Entering Nicaragua

Entering Nicaragua

After going through the official Honduran border gate, you will pull up to the official Nicaraguan border gate, about 50 yards away. Here the border officials enter your passport number into a book. No charge. However, the officials may request a private donation for their work. You will soon learn that everyone will ask you for money in Nicaragua.

Between Nicaragua and Honduras there are three border crossings; Las Manos (near Ocotal), El Espino (near Somoto), and Guasaule between El Triunfo (Honduras) and Somotillo (Nicaragua).

Aduana and Migration

The Aduana and Migration offices are located another 50 yards down the hill in a semicircular building. When you enter the building, several teenagers will request your paperwork. They will show you some official badge that supposedly gives them the right to guide you through the paperwork and freedom. 

The officials will search your car and then record all the necessary vehicle information. For example, they will check your vehicle identification number on your engine and record it in your vehicle paperwork. After two hours of confusion and frustration, you will leave with the following paperwork and pay the following fees: 

  • Certificado de Vehiculos
  • Exclusivo Para Moneda Extranjera
  • Tarjeta De Turismo

The second two items must be paid for in dollars. There will be a money exchange guy hanging around if you need some greenbacks. 

Learned Lessons

I’m not sure if the money I paid for the Certificado de Vehiculos was valid. I think this went into someone’s pocket. I asked several officials and never got a straight answer. Be prepared. These are the games that border officials like to play. I was also solicited several times for propina by a number of the officials at the Nicaraguan entry point. I didn’t give any.

Special Directions

Check your forms for proper entry and exit dates. If you plan on staying for more than 3 days, you can request a 30-day permit for your vehicle and person. There is no additional cost for the thirty-day permit.

Next Section of Drive

Nicaraguan Border - Managua

Nicaraguan Border – Managua