Is Driving at Night in Nicaragua Safe?

This image you see below depicts an average Nicaraguan driving experience.

Is Driving at Night in Nicaragua Safe?

Notice the broken down vehicle on the side of the road. The banana truck can only avoid him by inches because of the big rig in the oncoming lane. On the left are a couple of horses…that at anytime…may decide the grass is greener on the other side of the road.

Now imagine this scene at night…in the pitch dark.

While driving at night in Nicaragua you won’t see roaming marauders cruising the highways looking for unsuspecting tourists — the experience will be less Mad Max and more mad dog, or worse, mad cow — but you can expect to see the following:

…stray dogs
…people seated on the side of the road
…wandering horses
…ox carts
…a car with no headlights
…a motorcycle without a tail light
or a person staggering drunk walking the yellow line. 

It’s highly unlikely that cyclists, ox carts or the people sitting on the side of the highway will be adorned with any type of reflective safety gear.

There’s no telling what other odd and interesting obstacles you may encounter…causing your nerves to fray…especially if you are driving from the airport and tired from a long flight.

Sometimes paying a bit of cash to hire a reliable driving service is money well spent.

If you do decide to drive at night you better go slow and keep your head on a swivel. And don’t even think about doing something crazy…like multi-tasking.

Is driving at night in Nicaragua safe? We’ll let you be the judge of that!

Posted on December 3, 2014, in Travel & Transportation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. No not safe. We have done it a couple of times. Last time we saw an accident where a horse was hit by a car. We try at all costs not to drive at night in any country in Central America. My opinion.

    • Hi Jeanene,

      We too avoid highway driving at night here. And when driving during the day, we are actively driving, as opposed to passively driving like we seemed to do often in Canada.


  2. Yeah that’s a big no in my book. I just answered a question on the TripAdvisor Nicaragua forum about that. I nearly hit a cow in a rainstorm going from Granada to Managua at night and an even longer journey to SJdS is out of the question.

    Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

  3. I drove at night a few times but it was definitely an eye opener. I found oncoming cars were constantly flashing their highbeam lights at us and I’m still unsure as to why!! 🙂

  4. Most Third World countries are like this, with maybe different animals. We are moving to Central America next year (probably Nica), but I travel to Uganda twice a year and the same is true there. I always have a driver, and still don’t drive any distance at night. One time, though, I had to make what is usually a 3 hr drive in the middle of the night for a medical emergency with my son, who’d stayed in Kampala. The driver made it in an hour and twenty minutes because NOBODY was on the road, but it was terrifying! (Plus I had to pay a cop a bribe at a road block who wanted some hot tea….) Be careful out there!!

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