Is Nicaragua Safe?


Quick Answer

While safer than some Central American countries, residents and visitors alike are at a high risk of falling victim to petty and serious crime in Nicaragua. The most dangerous cities to U.S. tourists include Managua, Granada, Leon, San Juan del Sur, and the Northern and Southern Atlantic Autonomous Regions.

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Full Answer

Petty crimes include the theft of purses, backpacks and other personal items on buses and from vehicles parked outside convenience stores, gas stations and restaurants. Pick-pocketing and purse-snatching are more likely in beaches and public places.

Criminals have been known to follow victims from airports and other public places to hotels or tourist locales, with robberies occurring on the street or in vehicles at traffic lights after dark. Perpetrators in bogus taxis have robbed and sexually assaulted victims in transit, while individuals present during home invasions and hotel break-ins are subject to the same violence. Kidnappings at gun and knifepoint may last several hours, until the credit and debit accounts of victims are drained.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the overall homicide rate in the country is 11 per 100,000 inhabitants, and as high as 39 to 44 per 100,000 inhabitants in parts of the Northern and Southern Atlantic Autonomous Regions. These areas are among the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, and traditionally have a low police presence.

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