Money Matters – To use Córdobas or Dollars? Carry cash or use Credit Cards, Debit Cards or Travellers Checks??
Concerning Cash or Credit?
As for Cash or Credit, the truth is, the answer lies in your personal banking: preferences and banking contract. What will your bank charge you each time you withdraw money internationally? Is your bank widely recognized at an international level, including Nicaragua? Does your bank have a professional relationship with any bank in Nicaragua? Do you have high international fees? how about the conversion rates? I you don’t want to deal with all of these questions, then stick to cash. If you are going ahead with credit cards, always use debit or credit cards that have a VISA or Mastercard symbol. Some ATM’s work better with Visa, others work better with Mastercard.
Let’s face it though, cash is always king. That said, how much is enough? The amount depends on your personal needs. A family of 4 would have more cash than a single person. Personally, we always have access to a specific amount of cash and use cards where ever possible. You never know when you will walk into a restaurant whose credit card processor is down for some reason.
What Currency should I carry?
When Arriving in Nicaragua, carry the bulk of your monies in US Dollars or Euros. US Dollars are much easier to handle in Nicaragua in general, larger bills are harder to change and $20 dollar bills are the most accepted everywhere. Don’t bring any other currency to Nicaragua because you will have a very hard time exchanging it. As you figure out the details, change your currency into Nicaraguan Cordoba at the local banks.
Canadians prefer to deal in Cordobas when using Credit. This means it only 1 exchange rate from their Canadian Dollars to Cordobas. Usually a better exchange rate for Canadian Dollars to Cordobas than us changing to US Dollars.
All foreign bills for US or Euros must be in excellent physical condition. No markings on the bills (pen or maker), no missing corners or tears. Make sure to ask your local bank teller for the newest bills possible.
Can I use Travellers Checks in Nicaragua?
My one recommendation is don’t use Travellers checks in Nicaragua, EVER! They can only be cashed in one bank in Managua (BAC Tower) and even then it can take hours, if not days. Plus you get charged a fee for cashing each check.