Curious about what to wear in Nicaragua? We’ve got you covered! Get advice from a tour guide on the best outfits to pack for a cool and comfortable experience.

We’ll cover how locals dress, the do’s and don’ts of what to wear in Nicaragua, and recommendations for outfit essentials on your trip.

What do locals wear in Nicaragua?

If you look to Instagram for Nicaragua fashion inspiration, you’ll likely find countless photos of bright, flowy dresses, matching athleisure sets, and strappy sandals.

No doubt, those trendy looks will get you some great shots. 

But you might be surprised when you show up and see that crop tops are NOT the typical attire for Nicaraguans.

Here’s the reality: Nicaragua is a casual, modest country. 

Jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts are more common than backless dresses and beachy wedges (which might not do so well on the cobblestone streets of Calle La Calzada). Long skirts are popular with Nicaraguan women. Men might wear tank tops, but typically opt for pants. 

Keep in mind: Casual doesn’t mean sloppy. Nicaraguan women in particular take great pride in their appearance. You’ll be hard pressed to find a lady looking like she just rolled out of bed. Instead, expect to see neatly styled hair and mid-length skirts.

In fact, the majority of men and women prefer to wear long pants, and many wear long-sleeved shirts as well. 

In a country with such a steamy year-round climate, why do they cover up? 

Nicaraguans tend to value modesty and sun protection over staying cool. That means you’re less likely to find bare legs on a local, and wearing shorts will draw extra attention in rural regions. You’ll find a simple sundress here or there, but showy getups aren’t the norm.

Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t pack your best fits. No one will ask you to downplay your style or cover up.

What to wear in Nicaragua is completely your choice! You’ll see a little bit of everything here, and there’s no dress code to follow. But it’s always good to know the environment you’re walking into so you don’t feel like you’re standing out if you do choose to rock a bolder look.

What should you wear in Nicaragua?

If you’re looking for extra guidance on what to wear in Nicaragua, here are a few key principles to keep in mind:

Do’s and don’ts

Do:

Prioritize practical footwear. Sturdy soles and comfortable arch support will go a long way when you’re exploring Nicaragua.

Go more conservative when you visit a church. Save skimpier clothing for beaches and coastal towns, not cathedrals.

Consider your travel plans. What you wear in Nicaragua will partly depend on where you go. Rustic destinations like Ometepe call for different attire than a surf trip to San Juan del Sur.

Don’t:

Wear constrictive, heavy fabrics. Opt for lightweight materials like cotton instead for breathability.

Bring bulky outerwear. Even overcast days are still warm in Nicaragua, so rain jackets will take up precious suitcase space without getting much use.

Forget sun protection. Despite the heat, find ways to cover up if you burn easily. The rays are powerful in Nicaragua.

Outfit Essentials: What to wear in Nicaragua

To help you decide what to wear in Nicaragua, here’s a short list of basic outfit essentials–along with examples and recommendations–to get you started:

Tops

T-shirts

Tank tops

Cotton button-downs

Bottoms

Jeans

Athletic shorts

Flowy pants

Synthetic long pants

Midi or maxi skirt

Sundress or maxi dress

Shoes

Sturdy sandals, like Chacos or Birkenstocks

Sneakers

Accessories

Hat

Sunglasses

Belt bag or daypack

Conclusion

At the end of the day, what to wear in Nicaragua is whatever makes you most comfortable. Whether that’s long sleeves and jeans, crop tops and flip-flops, or something in between, the choice is yours.

Now that you know what to expect from local fashion, you can make an informed decision while you’re packing for your trip to Nicaragua and feel your best.

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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