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Explore Nicaragua by Road: Obtain Your International Driver's Permit

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IDP is essential when driving abroad

driving abroad with idp

International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.

documents needed for international driving permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.

How to get your IDP


Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy


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Upload pictures of your driver's license


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Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

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Do I need an international drivers license in Nicaragua?

There is no such thing as an international driver’s license. The document which translates your valid driver’s license from your home country, is called an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).

As mentioned, the IDP is a document that translates your driving license into 12 of the widely used languages worldwide. If you are a foreigner who does not possess a Nicaraguan driver’s license, it is highly recommended to have an IDP. You will need an IDP to rent a motor vehicle from a car rental company in the country.

Can Americans Drive in Nicaragua?

Yes, you can drive in the country using your U.S. Driver’s license. As mentioned, however, it should be accompanied by an International Driving Permit as per the Convention on Road Traffic.

There are over 165+ countries that recognize our IDP, and they are inclusive of the following:

  • Belgium
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde Island
  • Congo
  • Croatia
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malaysia
  • Namibia
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • St. Lucia

Top Destinations in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is an enticing destination for glorious flora and fauna environment. It is one of the great sovereign states in Central America. With its irresistible collection of wondrous postcard sceneries, breathtaking river canyons, natural fortresses, and outstanding biodiversity, explorers will not have excuses to miss Nicaragua as the next fancy destination to discover.

Somoto Canyon

Somoto Canyon, commonly known as the Cañón de Somoto, is an impressive river gorge in northern Nicaragua. It proudly boasts its enthralling ancient rocks, which draws a lot of attention to tourists. The stellar panoramic landscapes in this canyon are worth capturing by the camera. Hardcore thrillers and arduous climbers will have the ultimate engagement over numerous extreme sports on this site.

Schedule the earnest attempt over the spectacular canyon during the dry season months, from late July to early September. Heading over during rainy seasons would mean heavy rains. Some trails will require a swim over the canyon to reach the other side. It’s quite a challenge to take on the rainfall period. It’s better to choose the vibrant time.

Playa Maderas

Playa Maderas is a prime spot for surfers. It has earned epic recognition as the “International Surfing Site” among passionate people who love surfing. Its alluring sandy beach, captivating waves, and gorgeous coastline are enough to attract tourists. Beginners and professional surfers have the advantage of enjoying the admirable water paradise.

Probably, the ideal time to indulge in numerous water activities in Playa Maderas is during weekdays. Getting on the weekend has a higher chance of crowd surge, and that’s stressful to think. It is way more comfortable and relaxing to go when only a few are around.

The Cliff Carvings of El Tisey

Esteli is a popular hub for legendary and spectacular murals. It is also a central destination for cigar factories. For the epic highlight, inside the Tisey Natural Reserve is the mesmerizing cliff carvings by a local hermit named Alberto Gutiérrez Jirón. His unbelievable masterpiece and exceptional skill of sculpting historical figures make it a significant reason to discover Esteli.

Exploring the stunning cliff carvings in El Tisey is best during the winter months, around December to February. Summer is fine also, which is from June to August. Accommodation costs are low, and the climate is perfect.

Reserva Natural Miraflor

Reconnecting with the environment is best in Reserva Natural Miraflor. It fabulously sits to the north of Esteli. The reserve is a natural habitat of over 300 species of birds. Among those is one of the most beautiful birds in the world, the quetzal. Aside from adorable little birds, tourists can encounter spiders and howler monkeys strolling around the Miraflor. For flower buffs, they may enjoy the bunch of orchids around and find Costa Rica’s national flower, Cattleya Skinneri.

Foreign explorers may save the date of visit around winter. It is the best time to schedule a tour of the natural reserve. Guests can even have an educational session as the tour guide will give them brief information about the stunning biodiversity and the site’s epic flora and fauna.

Cerro Mogotón

Cerro Mogotón is the nation’s wettest and has the highest peak among the volcanic gems in Nicaragua. It defeats the iconic Masaya Volcano despite being a famous destination among travelers. The summit is over 2,107 meters high of this natural gem. Novices in mountaineering should find another spot to climb as Cerro Mogotón is only for professionals.

Before preparing for a strenuous hike, be sure to score a date during Green Season. It is usually around the end of May until late October onwards to mid-November. Traveling during winter can be useful, but slippery routes await. It’s better to go when nature is dry than wet.

Telica Volcano

Telica Volcano is among the active volcanoes located in Leon. Its last eruption happened in 1948. Over the years, it is continuously releasing smokes and grumble sounds. It elevates over 1,061 meters and a 120 meters depth on its crater with 700 meters in its diameter. Hikers should begin at the San Jacinto Hot Springs. The hot springs are not sitting at the foot of Telica, but it’s the starting point of the hike.

Setting a hiking trip date is excellent during the dry season. Frequent hikers mostly advise bringing sunblock lotion and enough food to boost energy on following the hike. Hiring a tour guide will be better for newbies on the site. It’s way faster than navigating at your own pace.

Most Important Driving Rules in Nicaragua

Understanding and following Nicaragua driving rules is essential to reduce accidents and ensure safety on the roads. These rules are in place to protect both citizens and visitors. While some remote areas in Nicaragua might have challenges, the main roads are generally in good condition. Tourist drivers should always exercise extra caution and prioritize safety when traveling alone.

Watch the Speed Limits On Every Highway Area

As the authorities regulate the flow of moving vehicles on the road, it is vital to comply with the highway section’s designated speed limit mark. It is part of monitoring cars’ movement, especially those who will attempt to disobey the law. Exceeding the maximum speed mark is equivalent to a ticket, which the driver has to settle right away. Confiscation of an IDP and driver’s license is possible if there are several violations on the record.

Intoxicated Driving Is Against the Traffic Road Law

Sometimes, road conditions are not that hazardous. But, road users like drivers, cyclists, motorists can bring a higher possibility of danger. Among the hot issues in road accidents is operating a steering wheel under an alcoholic beverage’s influence. Doing this can harm the pedestrians, stray animals, and even other vehicles passing on the right lane. Do not drink if one must drive going back to the lodge.

Do not Dare to Drive At Night

Nightlife travelers who love partying in the dark should not attempt to operate a rental car afterward. It’s a hazardous move to push through. The crossing of stray animals is inevitable after sunset. Increasing the probability of involvement in a road accident is a frightening consequence to face. If it's necessary to drive at night, drive below the speed limit. Driving at the maximum speed limit at night is not advisable.

Fasten the Seatbelts At All Times

In mitigating the risk of high fatalities in a vehicle accident, the state requires all passengers of a moving vehicle to wear their designated seatbelts. Toddlers should sit on a child booster seat. Do not dare to skip this rule. No one knows what will happen on the road even when driving below the maximum speed and how much damage will occur unless everyone’s safety and protection are ready. Following this road rule will help the authorities identify excellent drivers.

Ready to check if an IDP is accepted in your destination?

Use the form and find out in seconds whether you need an international permit. Documents vary, based on the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic.

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