What currency is used in Nicaragua and do I need to exchange money prior to arrival?

Nicaragua’s currency is the Córdoba, named for the founder of Nicaragua, Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, and written with the symbol C$. The Córdoba is divided into 100 centavos. US dollars are widely accepted and in some hotels and restaurants you’ll find prices listed in US dollars – click here for the current exchange rate

The most ubiquitous banks are BAC, Lafise Bancentro, Banpro and BDF. Branches and ATMs (cajeros automáticos) where you can withdraw Nicaraguan Córdobas or US Dollars can be found in almost every Nicaraguan town.

Standard bank trading hours are 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Many banks are also open on Saturday mornings although lines can be quite long. If you are doing more than withdrawing money from an ATM, make sure you bring your passport, as it is required for most bank transactions.

Major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted in many hotels and restaurants and you can often use them to pay for car rental, flights and tours. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted.

If you are traveling from the US, you don’t need to change money before you arrive in Nicaragua as US Dollars are widely accepted. All local banks will change US Dollars to Córdobas. The street rate from private money changers may be better than the bank rate, but take care to run the numbers before you make the exchange.

You’ll find that your money stretches a lot further in Nicaragua than it does in the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and even Costa Rica and other countries in Central America.

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