Driving at Night in Nicaragua and All Central America?

gueguense's picture

The unwritten rule is not to be out driving or anything on the road late at night, particularly after 9 PM.  Of course some countries and areas in Central America are worse than others - but if you are a gringo this applies nearly everywhere.

A van full of gringos screams "robenme".

In one incident I heard about in Nicaragua just this past August (a bus heading Managua to Granada, full of fresh tourists) this is what probably happened.   They screamed; somebody listened!  Figuratively.

So let me just be clear what may have happpened leading up to the fake police pulling over the bus and boarding it armed with guns, only to demand all valuables. A guy in Granada calls his paisanos on the cellphone:

"vienen unos gringos en un microbus rumbo al aeropuerto van via tipitapa. Acaban de salir, esperenlos en el tope....." The van people (the driver most likely) may have had some part in it.  A cut of the action.

When I take a late night flight into Managua, I have friends waiting for me in their pickup truck. Note: we always have a third guy in the truck bed to keep an eye on the luggage. The appropriate countermeasures are kept at the ready as well.

Related tip: never let the neighbors see you put luggage in a car!!!!! Bring the car or truck inside the driveway.

And once again please never travel or get in a van with a bunch of gringos.......

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more "activity" on Managua-leon highway as you reported

http://impreso.elnuevodiario.com.ni/2009/03/25/sucesos/98275

yuck!  the fake cops are active at km 54 now towards Leon!

fake police on multiple roads near Managua

The latest US State Dept. report (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_985.html) specifically mentions the issues on the roads with the fake police.

U.S. citizens are increasingly targeted shortly after arriving in the country by criminals posing as Nicaraguan police officers who pull their vehicles – including those operated by reputable hotels -- over for inspection. In each case, the incidents happened after dark and involved gun-wielding assailants who robbed passengers of all valuables and drove them to remote locations where they were left to fend for themselves. Some assailants employed threats of physical violence. While the traditional scene of these attacks has been the Tipitapa-Masaya Highway, this activity has recently spread to the Managua-Leon Highway. The U.S. Embassy warns U.S. citizens to exercise extreme caution when driving at night from Managua’s International Airport and to avoid traveling the Tipitapa-Masaya Highway at night.

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