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Currency

Córdoba. Notes can be obtained from exchange houses and also from banks which will supply advances on a debit or credit card. There are ATMs in large towns where you can use a UK credit or debit card. You may have to ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave UK, and amounts may be limited. ATMs allow you to choose between dollar or córdoba notes but the latter come in large denominations – try to break them down when you can. There are no ATMs (as of 2016) in El Castillo or the Solentiname islands and only one on Ometepe – bring cash with you to these places.

When to go

Situated well within the tropics, Nicaragua has a typical tropical climate with high temperatures all year round at low altitudes. Temperatures are significantly modified by altitude – higher up it can be very cool at night. May-Nov is rainy season, but places on the eastern coast, the Caribbean side, tend to be rather wetter, and to have a longer rainy season, than those on the Pacific coast to the west. There’s a risk of tropical storms or hurricanes Jun-Nov.

Language

Spanish.

Time difference

GMT -6 hours.

Getting there

There are flights via US and European hubs, the journey from London taking around 15.5 hours.

Combines with

A visit to neighbouring Central America countries, such as tiny, friendly El Salvador and wildlife-rich, slickly organised Costa Rica.

Key events

Semana Santa, (Easter, throughout Nicaragua). Processions inspired by biblical stories. Popular traditions include “the donkey procession,” on Palm Sunday; a procession of pilgrim carts that come from all parts of Nicaragua and gather in Granada; San Lázaro’s pet dog blessing in Masaya; and San Juan del Sur’s beach party celebration.

Fiestas de Masaya, Masaya, end of Sep for 3 months. A celebration on Sundays of parades and tamarindo music. It includes the Fiesta del Toro and Fiesta de los Aguisotes in late Oct and ends with the Procesión de San Jerónimo on the first Sunday of Dec.

International Poetry Festival, Granada, second week of Feb annually. Over 150 poets from all parts of the world congregate at this week-long event to recite their best poetry. 
 
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