Packing Tips

Electricity: Outlets in Nicaragua are 120volt/60Hz, the same as in the Untied States, with two- and three-prong outlets. 

Emergencies: Call the Project Minnesota/León office in León (011-505-2311-6355). Ideally, the caller should speak Spanish.

Maps: Look at a map of Nicaragua from Lonely Planet or a Google map of León.

Money: Banks and ATM machines are common in Managua but limited in León. If you plan to bring money with you rather than withdraw money in Managua or León, bring both large and small denominations.

Security: Do not bring anything that you are not willing to lose—expensive jewelry, watches, and the like.

TSA Requirements: Remember that any liquids, lotions, or gels in your carry-on luggage must be in containters of three ounces or less and packed in only one quart-size zipper-style bag in order to clear security in the US.

Telephones: Calling the United States is easy, and you have many options. (1) Some US cell phones will work in Nicaragua; check with your carrier about availability and cost. (2) Depending on your phone, you might be able to purchase a SIM card in León for a Nicaraguan phone company. The per-minute rate may be much cheaper than using a US-based carrier. (3) You can purchase an inexpensive phone and minutes in León, again perhaps enjoying a lower per-minute rate. (4) There are many phone centers where you can place a 15-minute international call for under US$2. (5) Skype, one of the most inexpensive ways to communicate globally, is available at many of the numerous Internet cafés. If you plan to use Skype, create an account for yourself and family members before leaving home.

Travel Insurance: PML highly recommends that you purchase travel insurance. At a minimum, it should cover emergency medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation. lets you obtain quotes for many types of travel insurance from 25 companies. You may also compare plans and purchase insurance on the website.

Water: In some parts of Nicaragua visitors must drink bottled water, but in León the tap water is safe for group travelers to drink.

Weather: A good website for current weather in León is Weather Underground

Packing Checklist 

(Click here for a PDF of a recommended packing list.)

Luggage: Everything you bring should fit in a carry-on size suitcase (no larger than 9" x 14" x 22") plus a small daypack. 

Clothing: León will seem hot to Minnesotan travelers. Do not bring delicate clothing, because clothing may be washed by hand against a cement washboard.

flight documents (ticket/e-ticket)

passport (Bring a photocopy of your passport, and keep it separate from your original passport—but not in a bag that will be checked. No visa is required for US citizens.)

ATM card, credit cards for cash, emergencies (Bring photocopies of these cards, and keep them separate from your originals.)

travel insurance documents (Leave a copy with your emergency contact at home.)

$10 for tourist fee to be paid upon arrival

cash for tips during transit

refillable water bottle

prescriptions (in original containers)

OTC medication for diarrhea

hand sanitizer

sunscreen, hat, sunglasses

insect repellent with DEET

camera & extra batteries, memory card, charger

journal and pen, reading materials

one pair of closed-toe shoes (for walking and rain)


night clothes suitable for shared bathrooms

flip-flops for showering, beach

small flashlight, extra batteries

travel alarm

small daypack

plastic bags to protect items from humidity

small gift for host family, such as small games that do not require English to play (UNO works well), hand or dish towels, chocolate, or maple syrup

sweater, shawl, or light jacket (for the plane trip)