Culture and Etiquette in Nicaragua

Nicaraguans are generally courteous and appreciate this trait in visitors, and it is considered polite to address strangers with “Usted” rather than “Tú” (or its local form “Vos”). You will often hear the term Adiós (literally, “to God”) used as a greeting – hardly surprising in a country where ninety percent of the population is Christian. The older generations in particular are often religiously conservative in appearance and manner. Machista attitudes are still prevalent, and female travellers, especially those travelling solo, may be harassed by catcalls from local (usually young) men; this is best ignored.

With regard to tipping, posher restaurants, especially the tourist dens of Granada and León, will add a ten- to fifteen-percent service charge to the bill – you don’t have to pay it. If someone carries your bag, they’ll probably expect C$5–10 for their trouble. Outside of the tourist areas, most Nicaraguans don’t tip and taxi drivers don’t expect a tip.

Haggling is the norm in markets and with street vendors, but not in shops.

Nicaraguan words and phrases

Adiós Used as a greeting in passing, as well as the standard “goodbye”

Chele/a (“che-le”/”che-la”) White or pale-skinned person (from leche: milk)

Dale pues (“dah-leh pweh”) Literally, “give it, then”, it’s used to say “OK”, “go on”, “fine”, “it’s on”, etc

Naksa/Aisabi “Hello”/“Goodbye” in the Miskito language

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