Laurenne Mansbridge

03 November 2020

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Nicaragua and COVID-19

Here at Pioneer Expeditions we have been contacting our partners to find out how destinations have been coping during these unprecedented times. We thought you may be interested in hearing what it is really like on the ground in some of your favourite countries rather than just touching the surface.  Some are faring better than others (either in respect of Covid19 control, or financially), but all struggling in different ways. We felt it necessary to do more than just touch the surface. We want to portray details at a more personal level – in order to gain more in-depth insights.


This blog is based on words written by Jan who runs Vapues, our partners in Nicaragua.


Jan, Vapues

Nicaragua officially reopened its borders to tourism on July 14th 2020.


Visitors from all countries are welcome!

Our partners are currently looking to support their guides and drivers. Their talented and loyal operational staff have been inactive all this time and together can look forward to start operating again. Tourists are welcomed as long as they follow and adhere to all Covid measurements and requirements as listed below:


Covid measures to ensure travel to Nicaragua (as of 3rd November 2020):

  • Not to travel if persons are showing symptoms.
  • There is currently a requirement to have a negative COVID-19 certificate (you should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test).

When in Nicaragua visitors must (as of 3rd November 2020):

  • Avoid greeting with physical contact
  • Wear face coverings or a mask whenever necessary (transfers and tours, banks and public areas)
  • Keep a social distance
  • Thoroughly wash hands

What has life been like in Nicaragua over the past few months?

As many will agree, life has been challenging. Economies have come to a standstill and especially the tourism sector. Jan stated to us that; “many of our dear colleagues and service providers have had to look for alternative income in order to take care of their families. Unemployment has risen significantly over the past few months”. The effects have been devastating to a lot of people and continues to take a toll on people’s wellbeing and outlook on life at the moment. There is a huge level of uncertainty around.


In addition to this, there has also been a large impact on the public health in Nicaragua. During the height of Covid-19 hospitals and other medical facilities were overwhelmed and people were unsure on what to do next. However, infection numbers have decreased now and people are now able to go out again – ensuring that social distancing and other Covid measures are practiced.


 “In Nicaragua there was no official lockdown put in motion. However, most Nicaraguans adopted best practices such as social distancing, wearing of face masks/coverings and have adopted home office working. Altogether this has been a difficult period. Socially, good friends and colleagues were all of a sudden not able to see each other like they used to which can also have a detrimental effect on people’s spirits and wellbeing’s”. – Jan.


Covid-19 has been devastating to the tourism industry, therefore to our partners too. Unemployment has soared and companies have had no other choice but to let people go in order to survive as a company. Also, “many of our service providers, such as transportation companies and hoteliers have had to close shop – some permanently, others temporary”. There are hopes that when tourists begin to come to Nicaragua again, businesses will open again, slowly but surely and start hiring again.


We asked the question of ‘do you feel Covid has affected certain areas of tourism more’ and Jan responded with; “yes, guides and drivers are disproportionally affected and have had to actively search for alternative livelihoods”. A large majority of people in Nicaragua have spent their whole lives working in a particular field of employment. However, due to the Covid pandemic are being forced into unemployment with the search for a new job becoming increasingly difficult. Retraining or gaining new employment in a different or new field of employment can be difficult for people – and sometimes may not even be an option.


Nicaragua is open to tourists, it never fully closed during the ‘lockdown’ period that most countries experienced. International airlines stopped flying in, so there haven’t been any international visitors since March. Nicaragua does not have any requirements in terms of quarantine however a negative PCR test is required upon arrival (no older than 72 hours). In some public places such as banks, social distancing, face masks and regular sanitizing rules are required to be followed by visitors. Airlines are planning to start flying again, bit by bit, which will enable tourism companies to start welcoming guests and clients again. Although there aren’t many international tourists to Nicaragua at the moment, numbers are in the lower single digits – however companies are looking forward to these numbers increasing and flights getting called up.


Team at Vapues

Nature and the environment has had an opportunity to begin to flourish again due to less people visiting.


Although this pandemic has been devastating on a socio-economic level, the tourist experience is once again very authentic. Travelers to Nicaragua would more or less have the country to themselves and would encounter and experience authenticity and gratitude wherever they go – very appealing don’t you agree?

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