Vaccinations and visa to travel to Nicaragua
If you have marked Nicaragua in your list of next destinations, surely you will be wondering if it is necessary to get vaccinated or take some preventive measure, or if you need some type of visa to enter. In this post we clear all your doubts about the recommended vaccination and visa to travel to Nicaragua .
Focusing on the part of vaccines, first of all I would like to clarify that there is no mandatory vaccination to go to Nicaragua , so all that we are going to expose in this publication are recommendations. I take this point to thank Marta Pastor, doctor, friend and traveling companion, who has helped me enormously to prepare this article.
Recommended vaccinations for traveling to Nicaragua
Before embarking on an adventure through the Central American country, you should consider hiring travel insurance and check your vaccination calendar, to confirm if it is up to date and if you need a new dose. It is also important to take the route into account, since if you move only in highly touristy urban areas it is difficult to find some kind of disease .
Hepatitis A is transmitted by ingestion of contaminated food or drink, or by direct contact with a person infected with the virus. It causes fever, severe malaise, nausea, diarrhea or jaundice (yellowing of the skin), which can be serious. Therefore, its administration is recommended before traveling to tropical areas if the disease has not been passed or vaccinated previously.
This disease is also transmitted by consumption of food / water in bad condition . It produces abdominal pain with high fever, and requires medical attention since it can evolve into a serious condition. Therefore, the vaccine, which is administered orally , is recommended .
Malaria in Nicaragua
Malaria or malaria is a life-threatening disease transmitted by infected female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, which bite at dusk. It produces a high fever, which can be accompanied by a headache, chills, and vomiting. In Nicaragua there is a low risk of malaria , and it is mainly focused on the northeastern regions of the country . Despite this, antimalarial prophylaxis is recommended, consisting of taking an oral medication before, during and a few days after entering the risk area. It is important to know that prophylaxis does not fully protect us from the disease, so the most important measures will be those toavoid mosquito bites such as avoiding walks at sunrise / sunset and, if they are done, using long-sleeved clothing.
It is a disease transmitted by the bite of mammals such as the dog, the monkey or the bat. The vaccination is only recommended in risk groups like people who will have direct contact with these animals (veterinary, speleologists …).
Communicable diseases in Nicaragua that cannot be prevented with vaccines
In many tropical countries such as Nicaragua , there is a group of diseases that are transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes or other insects, for which there is currently no effective vaccine . Therefore it is essential to take the following precautions to avoid bites :
- Wear long clothing to cover the maximum area of skin.
- Use mosquito repellants . The most suitable are those containing DEET (N, N diethylmetatoluamide) in concentrations between 20-50%. In case of using sunscreen, you must apply the anti-mosquito after it.
- Use of mosquito nets during the night rest.
- Maximum caution during sunrises and sunsets .
Within this group, the most relevant diseases in this group are the following:
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected female mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, which live in urban and semi-urban areas and bite throughout the day . Transmission occurs throughout the year, but is more frequent at the end of the rainy season (October-November). It produces a picture similar to the flu, with high fever, headache and severe muscle pain that is sometimes accompanied by a very striking skin rash. There are serious forms that can be fatal, and it lacks specific treatment.
Chikungunya is a disease of recent appearance in Nicaragua, transmitted by female mosquitoes of the Aedes genus (the same ones that transmit Dengue). It causes fever with very intense joint pain, which can last for several days or weeks. Most people make a full recovery, but in some cases joint pain goes on for months or even years. We do not have treatment for this disease, except analgesic treatment for pain.
Zika virus in the Nicaraguan country
Although there have been several reported cases, Nicaragua is not a very affected area by Zika . Zika is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes genus , and by sexual contact with infected people . This mosquito lives in areas below 2000m altitude. Your infection may be asymptomatic or produce symptoms such as a mild fever, muscle aches, a skin rash, or conjunctivitis. At the moment there are no vaccines or specific treatments for this disease, so the most important thing will be to avoid bites and use a condom during sexual intercourse in areas with transmission of the disease. In case of being pregnant, the woman can transmit the virus to the fetusand such infection can cause some congenital defects; The likelihood of this happening, or whether there is a safe time during pregnancy to travel to areas with Zika, is unknown. For all these reasons, in pregnant women who travel to a region with a disease like Nicaragua, preventive measures are even more important than in the rest of the population.
It is transmitted by the bite of insects that live on the walls of adobe houses . The risk of transmission is low, but increases if you sleep in rural areas or low-quality housing. Prevention focuses on the use of mosquito nets on the beds, and the use of insecticides.
Leaving aside all these diseases related to insect bites, it is worth making one last mention of one of those health problems so typical of travel.
The diarrheal diseases caused by contaminated water and food remain the most important cause of disease in destinations like Nicaragua. The most important preventive measure is to avoid consuming the following groups:
- Not bottled water in any form (fruit juices, ice cubes …). Boiled or chemically treated water is safe.
- Raw vegetables or greens . Take the fruit only if it has been peeled by yourself.
- Meat, fish or shellfish raw .
- Milk or dairy not guaranteed to be pasteurized . Artisan ice cream.
In case of diarrhea, the most important thing is to stay hydrated with water and, preferably, with oral rehydration salts. Most likely, the condition will disappear in 2-3 days, but if it lasts too long and a high fever or blood appears in the stool, we will have to see a doctor, as we may need other treatments.
Basic travel kit
Travel to Nicaragua or any other country, it is always advisable to prepare a kit with basic medication that consists of:
- Cures material : scissors, antiseptic for the skin, dressings …
- Simple-antipyretic analgesic , type paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- Oral rehydration salts . These are sachets that dissolve in water and will be the first measure to take in case of diarrhea, to avoid dehydration.
- Sun protection cream. Its frequent application is important, especially in the central hours of the day.
- Preservatives .
- In some cases, we can add antihistamines for bites, or an antibiotic for specific and prolonged symptoms.
Apart from the traveler’s diarrhea, which is a too frequent companion of adventures, the rest of the diseases are not too widespread, so the risk of contracting it is minimal. Now, it never hurts to have some prevention and travel with knowledge of the facts . In this sense, and whether due to a health or logistical issue (luggage problems, plane delay …), I recommend taking out travel insurance to visit Nicaragua . You already know that, in general, receiving health or administrative care in a foreign country can be very expensive if one is not properly protected. I contract them with the IATI company that offers very good conditions for globetrotters.
Visas for Nicaragua
We leave health recommendations aside to answer another of the globetrotter’s usual questions: ” Do I need a visa to travel to Nicaragua?” First of all, remember that in this post we are talking about pleasure trips and not work, so the conditions that I present here are applicable to tourist visits to Nicaragua. If your trip is for business or for a work issue, I recommend that you consult other sources to make sure.
That said, citizens of most countries in Europe (including Spain) and America do NOT need a visa to enter Nicaragua for stays of less than 90 days . In this case, it will be enough to show the passport as long as it has a minimum validity of six months . On this website you can find the countries that do not require a visa to visit Nicaragua. If your country does not appear on that list, then you will have to apply for a visa through the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners. I take this point to clarify that, if you access Nicaragua by road from Costa Rica , prepare the close to 20 euros that you will have to pay betweenExit and entry tax from one country to the other, as well as a good dose of patience to get through your passage through customs.
As you can see, in general, organizing a trip to Nicaragua is relatively simple since you do not need a visa and there is no mandatory vaccination, but they are all recommendations. So once your doubts and fears are cleared up, I can only encourage you to take your backpack and go out to find out as soon as possible. If you have any other questions or suggestions, the blog comments are at your disposal.