Money in Nicaragua

Cash, Credit or Travelers checks?

Lots of our guests wonder about the currency and how to pay for items in Nicaragua during their visit. Although San Juan del Sur is a great Vacation spot, money in Nicaragua can still be an issue. This is still a 3rd world country although infrastructure including banking, has gotten much better in the past few years. With banks opening new branches in this little lazy beach town, access to money has gotten much better these days.


Nicaraguan Currency is named Cordoba. US Dollars are widely accepted as long as the bill is in good condition. Euros are rare but still exchanged only in the banks. If you plan on bringing US Dollars in cash, please do not bring bills that are torn, ripped, stained, or written on. US Dollar Bills must be in good shape to be widely accepted in Nicaragua. Most vendors (in San Juan del Sur) will accept US bills as long as they have enough change for you. The current (June 2014) exchange rate varies between C$25.00 and C$26.00 per US dollar, depending on the vendors need for US dollars. You will almost always receive change in Local Nicaraguan currency, Cordobas.

Money Exchange

The exchange house in the airport is not the best option. They will give you a really bad exchange rate, you can exchange any quantity (bills only) of US Dollars for Cordobas or vice verse at a local bank as long as you have your passport (not a copy) with you.


Big chance from a few years ago but today, there are 2 ATM’s in town that spew both US and Nicaraguan money, however really there are a total of 5 ATM’s in town and there is bound to be one with both power and money.¬† So having access to your money isn’t that big of an issue these days. Just please notify your bank by email, that you will be traveling so your account doesn’t get block after you first transaction.

Credit or Debit

Please notify your bank that you will be traveling via email so that have a record of the notification. We have a number of restaurants in San Juan del Sur that Accept Credit cards but the norm is Cash only. Same goes for the largest supermarket in Town, cash only.

Travelers Checks

In San Juan del Sur, Cashiers checks and Travelers checks are not accepted. Only certain banks branches nation wide accept them, none of which are located in San Juan del Sur and they have a fee to cashing them in varying from 5% and more or a flat fee, depending on the origin of the check.