skip to main content
Suitcase and Heels Suitcase and Heels

What to Pack for Nicaragua

Suitcase and Heels contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

What to Pack for Nicaragua |

I spent two weeks travelling around Nicaragua this spring and, though I went against my blog title and took a backpack and flats, I still felt like I overpacked a bit. I still think it’s not a sin to check a bag, but I’ve been trying lately to get a bit more efficient with what I bring on trips. No more bringing 10 outfits for a 7 day trip…even if they’re all cute. The struggle is real, my friends.

Since I’m also a data nerd who loves lists I thought I’d take a second crack at what I’d pack for a trip to Nicaragua. Using some basic rules I was able to put together a capsule wardrobe that should cover you for all events: volcano hikes to surfing to chilling and steak dinners.

The Rules

  • 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses / 3 shoes, 2 bathing suits / 2 bags, 1 hat/bandana/sunglasses
  • All tops must go with all bottoms
  • Breathable and durable fabrics
  • All shoes must also go with any non-dress outfits

Key Items

I chose a bandana instead of a scarf because you’re going to need it if you go volcano boarding. And you should really be going volcano boarding. It can also be used to cover up post-surfing or second day hair. I chose a ball cap instead of a more trendy straw hat since you want something that can withstand hikes and being stuffed in a backpack.

There are no high heels on this list. Nicaragua is a casual country, even in the cities. A jersey dress and sandals will be nice enough for even a steak dinner in Leon. San Juan del Sur is the land of the flip flops and cutoffs and Laguna de Apoyo only calls for a swimsuit and cover-up.

For a day bag, I chose a Pacsafe cross body because of its extra anti-theft features. While I felt safe in Nicaragua, pick pockets and thieves are always a possibility.

If you want to pack some jewelry, I’d recommend some delicate, understated gold-toned pieces: small hoop earrings, long pendant necklace, a few stacked thin bangles. Avoid anything too flashy or expensive looking.

Lastly, catcalling can be an issue for women travelling in Nicaragua so I made sure to include a maxi dress and a pair of linen joggers and at least one top with a higher neckline in case you feel the need to cover up. The romper and maxi dress can also do double duty as bottoms if you layer a top over them.

Extras to Pack

  • Mosquito repellant
  • Anti-itch cream (because you’re going to be bitten anyway)
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe Vera gel (because you’re going to get sunburnt anyway)
  • Small first aid kit (bring some Cipro, just in case)
  • Insulated water bottle
  • Travel towel (can also be used as a beach cover-up sarong)
  • Hair ties
  • Laundry soap
  • Headlamp (you never know when your hostel will lose power)

Download this packing list as a PDF

Shop The Guide

Have you been to Nicaragua? What did you pack for your trip?

Leave a Comment