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How Much Does It Cost to Travel to Nicaragua

What does it cost to travel to Nicaragua

This past March I spent 15 days travelling around the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. I went surfing, ziplining, horseback riding, volcano boarding, and more. And I still managed to come home with a few dollars in my pocket.

Part of what made Nicaragua attractive to me as a travel destination was the cost. After dealing with the cold and slop of a St. John’s winter I needed somewhere warm with beaches and cool activities, but I was also on a tighter budget so somewhere where my Canadian dollar would go further was most welcome. Nica checked all the boxes.

Everyone was telling me that it was like Costa Rica was before unchecked tourism development ran amok. Well, I loved Costa Rica when I was there in 2012, so I jumped at the chance to go back in time, as it were, to see what it would’ve been like a decade ago.

So what did it cost me to visit three towns over 15 days? I obsessively tracked all of my spending just so that I could share it with you guys. If you’ve been following me for any time you know that I’m not a super budget traveller. I will splurge on nice things when I can. I love being pampered, and Nicaragua was no exception for me.

How Much it Cost for Two Weeks in Nicaragua

Accommodations $461.00 (hotels and hostels)
Food & Drink $317.90 (restaurants, water, snacks, alcohol)
Activities $266.82 (rentals, classes, tours, etc.)
Transportation $128.00 (shuttles and taxis)
Miscellaneous $216.50 (souvenirs, aloe vera gel, SIM card, etc.)

Total Days: 15

Total Spent: $1,390.22 USD

Daily Average: $92.68 USD


Is it possible to travel cheaper?

Of course!

We all have different budgets and travel priorities. There are two areas where I’m most likely to splurge: accommodations and activities. I’m all about the experience baby.

On this trip, I split my time between private rooms in hostels and hotel rooms. I easily could’ve saved more money on my accommodations by staying exclusively in hostel dorms. But after two nights of suffering sleepless nights in a Leon hostel without AC and temperatures reaching 40C I gladly shelled out $73/night for a 4 star hotel with AC and a pool for my last two nights. Best decision.

On the day I flew back to NYC, I rented a room for 12 hours at the Best Western by the Managua Airport for $90 rather than killing that much time at the airport waiting for my midnight flight. It was so nice to hang out in the pool for the afternoon, have a nap, and get a shower before my red-eye flight. Sometimes, you gotta treat ‘yoself.

I also didn’t hold back on activities. Sunday Funday was probably overpriced but I still wanted to experience it. I chose to go both horseback riding and ziplining in San Juan del Sur. Volcano boarding and surfing lessons were also a must for me. No regrets.

I took shared shuttle vans from town to town but you could save money by taking chicken buses. I just really wanted the AC and comfort of a point to point van. Admittedly, I also wanted to avoid the bus station in Managua. My most expensive ride was San Juan del Sur to Leon, which cost me $25.

Affordable Indulgences

What I really loved about Nicaragua was that I could splurge and treat myself to really nice things knowing that I wouldn’t weep when the credit card bill came in (NYC, I’m looking at you here). I took myself out for a glass of white wine and a chocolate croissant in Leon for just $3.10. My indulgent steak dinner with drinks only cost $19.64. I got an hour long massage in Granada for under $30 (including tip). Compared to North American prices, these are fantastic.

So if you’re looking for an affordable vacation where you can still pamper yourself, definitely add Nicaragua to your list.


  1. Martina says:

    December 2nd, 2016 at 9:12 am (#)

    I found your site searching for review of the Hotel Condor (I just booked a client into there, so I hope she loves it).

    Central/South America is next on my travel list, but never thought too long about Nicarauga – so this article is appreciated.

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