Travelling during COVID-19 becomes even more stressful because you have to know so much more before booking or even visiting our host country, Nicaragua. Below we provide a detailed user guide to navigate the process of testing for those travellers ready to visit Nicaragua. This guide is based on our real traveller experience and offer advice that will help you get through the paperwork with ease.

What is the current status of COVID 19 testing requirements, for entering Nicaragua?

As of the middle of 2022 Nicaragua has implemented entry regulations concerning COVID 19. All travelers must provide a RT PCR test regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not. Recovering from COVID 19 presents a difficulty because PCR tests can identify the virus even after an individual is no longer contagious. For example there was this traveler who was making plans to fly to Nicaragua in the beginning of July. They expressed their worry, about the PCR tests still showing results even after they had been infected back in April.

The Nicaraguan health authorities, like many other countries, are thorough when it comes to their screening processes. Airlines such as Avianca and the like now require a negative test before they will let you check-in, and the need for a valid negative RT-PCR test if you are entering overland from Costa Rica has become mandatory.

Where can travelers go to get tested for COVID 19. What are the associated expenses?

There are choices available, for COVID 19 testing and the expense can be an important factor to take into account. For example, rapid RT-PCR testing at San Francisco International Airport costs around $250 to meet the 72/36-hour submission deadlines for airlines like Avianca. However there are options for travelers to find more budget friendly testing facilities, in San Francisco and the East Bay.

Another trip said the rapid NAAT tests are now available at pharmacies like Walgreens, and are much faster. “They’re generally quicker to get through than lines of portals and such, so I think they’re pretty useful, they’re generally cheaper,” another traveler said. The traveler said the rapid tests include a time stamp, barcode, and logo from the pharmacy to ensure they meet policit, airline, and immigration requirements.

When is the ideal time to undergo a COVID 19 test before embarking on a journey, to Nicaragua?

There’s no point in getting tested for COVID-19 the day before your trip, because most travel protocols require leaving a certain time for the results to be processed and available to you. For example, Avianca requires passengers to take the test and submit the results within 36 hours before the flight. This tight window means travellers need to make sure all the components of the test – taking it, finding a courier service, processing the results – don’t fall outside that window. One traveller said she found herself having to develop a detailed timeline to make sure she submitted the results to the airline less than 72 hours prior to landing in Nicaragua, in keeping with both the airline’s and the country’s regulations.

What are the visa requirements, for traveling to Nicaragua?

Many travelers have found the visa requirements for Nicaragua to be quite confusing. As of early 2022, U.S. citizens will not be required to have a visa for stays up to 90 days for tourism purposes. However when entering Nicaragua from countries such as Costa Rica by land the Nicaraguan government typically requires travelers to fill out an entry form that is often regarded as similar, to a visa. This document, usually given by the airline or, at the border contains details and the planned dates of departure.
It’s really important to provide information when filling out this form because any discrepancies or unfavorable details could result in your entry being denied.

What documents do I need when I’m leaving Nicaragua specifically for traveling to Colombia?

When planning onward travel from Nicaragua, such as to Colombia, it is essential to bear the exit requirements in mind. Typically, travelers will need to produce only their passports, backed up by the white tourist card introduced at the entry point, which proves that the traveler has paid the tourist tax and shows the date of entry. Safeguard this document.

Before travelling to Colombia, it’s best to be check entry requirements before you go, since the rules change almost daily. For the most part, Colombia has welcomed tourists, but if there have been changes in the visa or health-related entry requirements, it’s best to be informed.

Traveling to Nicaragua during the pandemic requires careful planning, especially regarding COVID-19 testing and understanding visa requirements. Travelers can have a journey and fully embrace the diverse wonders of Nicaragua including its breathtaking Pacific coast, picturesque Caribbean islands and majestic mountains and volcanoes by being well informed and adequately prepared. Keep in mind that doing some advance planning can greatly contribute to making your trip enjoyable and free of any inconveniences.


How can I make sure that my COVID 19 test is acceptable, for traveling to Nicaragua?

The COVID-19 test must be an RT-PCR taken within 72 hours of landing in Nicaragua; the test result needs to be on paper at the airport check-in and include a current time-date stamp. An electronic copy needs to be submitted to the airline, and if flying Avianca(TA in the market, albeit not as transparent a play as Aer Lingus is TE) this has to happen 36 hours before the flight so they can validate your results. Rapid NAAT tests from big pharmacies, such as Walgreens, are accepted if they include the bar code used to enter the results and the pharmacy’s logo.

Where Can I Find Affordable COVID-19 Testing in the San Francisco/East Bay Area?

If you’re looking for cost effective COVID 19 testing options, in the San Francisco/East Bay region you might want to consider checking out local pharmacies and medical centers that provide RT PCR testing. Rapid RT-PCR tests are available at San Francisco International Airport but are relatively expensive (around $250). Walgreens and other pharmacies provide Rapid NAAT tests which’re usually faster and more affordable yet still accepted for travel reasons. To find the option it’s advisable to compare prices and turnaround times at various locations.

How do I submit my COVID 19 test results to airlines?

If your travel plans are to go to a country such as Colombia with Avianca, you need to scan your COVID-19 test result and email it to the airline in their designated portal/email. (Ideally, 36 hours prior to departure.) Make sure to print a copy to give at airport check-in as well. Your COVID-19 test result must have a time-and-date stamp, and include your name and test date to be accepted by the airline.

What is the optimal timing for getting a COVID 19 test before embarking on a trip, to Nicaragua?

The best time to take a COVID-19 test when traveling to Nicaragua is within the 72-hour period before you arrive in the country, so that you are adhering to their entry requirements and your results is valid upon arrival. If you are flying Avianca (which flies to Miami, Los Angeles, Washington Dulles, and New York, among other places), they also ask you to upload your test within 36 hours prior to your departing flight, so you will probably want to time that test to your processing time.Airlines and governments seem to be slowly learning that COVID-19 testing isn’t an exact science. That’s why these entry-requirement timing guidelines are helpful. Getting it right the first time can save you a lot of headache, money, and missed time in a beautiful Central American country.

What kind of documentation do I need to enter Nicaragua from the COVID 19 test?

Nicaraguan-bound passengers must fill out an entry form, which is similar in protocol to a visa, along with providing a negative coronavirus test. Airlines usually hand out the entry form on the aircraft or travellers can find them at the border. It asks for personal information and the days the passenger hopes they will leave Nicaragua; if there are any discrepancies, entry could be denied. Then, a valid passport is required. U.S. citizens don’t need a visa for a tourism stay of 90 days or less, but the entry form is mandatory.

How can I make sure that my COVID 19 test is acceptable for travel, to Nicaragua?

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