Nicaragua COVID Requirements: Everything To Know for Entry

Suitcase packed for travel

important UPDATE: As of July 21, 2023, Nicaragua has lifted ALL entry restrictions from the pandemic.  

Visitors do NOT need to show proof of vaccination OR a negative COVID test to enter Nicaragua.

The article below details the former COVID entry requirements that no longer apply.


Ready to travel to Nicaragua? Don’t let a few extra trip planning steps stop you. Here are all the Nicaragua COVID requirements vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers need to know for entry.

COVID digital test result, masks, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.

First, let’s talk about the obvious: Nicaragua COVID test requirements. The rules vary depending on your vaccination status.


Good news! Nicaragua just lifted its COVID testing requirements for entry if you are a fully vaccinated traveler.

That means you ONLY need to show proof of vaccination to enter Nicaragua. This can either be your physical or digital COVID vaccination card.

What Does Nicaragua Consider Fully Vaccinated?

COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine vials

To be considered fully vaccinated against COVID in Nicaragua, you need to have received the full dose of any of the following WHO approved vaccines:

Sputnik V, Sputnik Light, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Soberana 02, Abdala, Janssen from Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, or Coviran.

This means you have received at least two doses, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson or Sputnik Light. The two doses can also be a combination of two different vaccines.

Recovering from COVID or only receiving one dose of a two dose regimen is not accepted.

Scientist testing nose swab for COVID

Here’s what you need to know if you are UNVACCINATED or PARTIALLY VACCINATED:

If you have not received either dose of the COVID vaccine, or have received only one dose of a two dose regimen, then you are required to present a negative PCR test to enter Nicaragua.

Antigen, Rapid, and Antibody tests are not accepted by the country. Nicaragua only accepts proof of a negative PCR test upon entry. This can be digital or physical, but it’s best to carry multiple copies if you choose to print your results. 

HN Hint: Technically, Nicaragua requires a “real time” RT-PCR test, complete with the signature of the physician and logo of the lab. As long as you have an official PCR test result, you should be fine.

Masked traveler checking phone on a plane

What matters most is the time frame in which the test was taken. This is a two-part requirement, so stick with me here. 

Part 1: 

Nicaragua requires you to take the PCR test within 72 hours of arrival. Note this does NOT mean 72 hours before your flight time. The swab should enter your nostril no earlier than 3 days before you plan to set your feet on Nicaragua soil. 

Part 2: 

You must send your passport information and Covid PCR test results to the Nicaragua government no later than 36 hours before your flight. Typically, this process is managed by the airline. You can send them your information in a simple email according to the instructions they provide before your flight. Avianca, for example, sends passengers a short form to fill out with their passport information a few days before take-off.

Basically, if you are flying into the Managua airport, you have a 36 hour window to take a COVID PCR test and send the results to the airline. 

COVID Testing Options for Nicaragua Requirements

COVID PCR test swab

With the average PCR test turnaround time being 1-2 days, this might feel like a stressful travel requirement. The good news is, there are a few options if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your COVID test up to fate. 

In the COVID travel age, many private companies have popped up offering PCR testing services with expedited results. These can get pricey—we’re talking $100-$250 pricey—but may be worth it for the peace of mind. I have used Sameday Health in the past, but there are several options to choose from. Check what’s available in your area, and be sure to verify that their PCR testing services meet the Nicaragua requirements.

Nicaragua Flights During COVID

Masked flight attendants

When booking a flight, you may see discount airlines selling cheap tickets to Managua. 

Use Caution: Currently, the only reliable companies from the USA to MGA are Avianca, Copa, and Aeromexico. United, Spirit, and American Airlines have all recently returned, but bear in mind that they haven’t reestablished reliable reputations yet.

Filter your search to those three airlines, or be at risk of “cheap tickets” today leaving you high and dry tomorrow.

Entering Nicaragua From Costa Rica

Airplane in terminal at sunset

Too inconvenient? Another option is to fly into Costa Rica and cross the border. 

From Liberia (now Guanacaste) Airport, you can reach the Nicaragua border on foot, by taxi, or by bus. 

This has become a popular route because flying into Liberia is often cheaper and more flexible than Managua. Costa Rica currently supports more airlines and allows unvaccinated travelers to skip the 36 hour pre-flight test result submission requirement, but it comes with headaches of its own.

Note: Avoid flying into San Jose unless you want to take a long road trip through Costa Rica!

For a step by step guide to crossing the Peñas Blancas Nicaragua-Costa Rica border, check out this comprehensive guide by My Tan Feet

COVID Exit Requirements for Nicaragua

United States passport and plane ticket

You’re in! Whether you flew into Managua or drove across the Costa Rica border, now you get to relax and enjoy the stunning land of lakes and volcanoes.

If you can bring yourself to leave, what are the COVID requirements to exit Nicaragua?

Nicaragua does not require any additional COVID tests to leave the country. You only need to follow the requirements of your destination

If you absolutely must take a PCR test, however, be aware that you will be limited. In Nicaragua, the only place you can take a PCR test is the Ministry of Health (MINSA) in Managua. That means no matter where you are in the country, you will have to find a ride to the capital city and pay the flat rate of $150 for a PCR test the day before your return flight out of Managua. It’s a pain, but it is reliable. 

COVID antigen test positive result

If you’re going to a country that accepts an at-home antigen test, you must bring the test with you from home. Antigen tests are not available for purchase in Nicaragua. Make sure to pack it in your suitcase before you leave!

Nicaragua COVID Requirements Summary

Man standing at airport with luggage watching plane take off

And there you have it. Everything you need to start planning a trip to Nicaragua.

Details feel a bit overwhelming? Here is a quick guide to follow:

Most reliable airlines to MGA: 

Avianca, Copa, Aeromexico

Costa Rica border option: 

Use any airline to fly into Liberia Guanacaste Airport (LIR). Then take either a public bus, TicaBus, or arrange for a private driver to Nicaragua.

Managua vs. Costa Rica Airports: 

MGA is far more direct and centrally located. But flights are limited and more expensive. LIR may support more airline options and cheaper flights, but it’s less direct. Factor in the cost of transportation and hassle of crossing the border when making your decision.

COVID requirements:


If fully vaccinated: show proof of COVID vaccination. 

If unvaccinated, show negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours of ARRIVAL (not flight) and sent in 36 hours before FLIGHT

ALTERNATIVE: Fly into Costa Rica via Liberia Airport and drive across the Peñas Blancas border.

EXIT: Follow destination country requirements. If necessary, either PCR test from Ministry of Health in Managua ($150) or pack an at-home antigen test.

Meet your Tour Guides

Hola! We’re Gail & Luis, a team of two with a deep love for Nicaragua. Luis, a professional tour guide, is the knowledgeable source behind the blog. Gail, an American writer, is the voice. 

We started this blog as a way to stay connected from afar and support Nicaragua in our own small way.

Today, our mission is to open hearts and minds to the wonders of Nicaragua and make it easier than ever to start planning your trip.


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