Recommend auto dealer

I am debating whether to buy a new small SUV in the US to take to Nica. or buy one in Nica. In case I want to explore a purchase in Nica. does anyone know if Nissan is represented in Nica. I am considering an X-Terra. All your comments are welcomed, since I rather buy a diesel and choices are thin in the US when it comes to diesel SUVs

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car thoughts

They changed the law here so that you are not allowed to import a vehicle if it is more than five years old. There are so many old, beat up vehicles on the road so they are doing several things to change that situation. It is possible to import a car which is older than five years if it somehow qualifies as a "classic". However it involves lots more paperwork and if your car really is considered a "classic", the last place you want to drive it is on Nicaraguan roads.

The new Nicaraguan license plates are also part of this effort to clear the roads of some of the wrecks that still travel around...usually without lights at night.

I imported an Isuzu Trooper to Nicaragua when I moved here ten years ago. It was diesel but an American model. No spare parts here. They sold Troopers here but they were an Asian version and for some reason many parts did not transfer between the two models even though they were built by the same company.

Be prepared for the interest rates they charge here. Getting a loan to buy a car is not as fast as you might be used to in the US. Approval time can take up to a week and you need letters of reference from people already living in Nicaragua. Make that "well respected people". You will also need to supply some proof of income as well as two or three months worth of utility bills. This is more to prove you are really staying here and not buying a truck during a quick vacation.

I used to buy only diesel because of the lower fuel cost compared to regular gas but no more. I got tired of the low acceleration as well as the high cost of replacement parts...even if the parts are available, getting a diesel engine worked on is not easy. Between less than qualified mechanics as well as dealers who charge what I consider very high prices for simple repairs. Then you get into the dealers who find things that need to be fixed, repair them and bill you, even if you didn't think it was broken in the first place.

I'm back to a nice new truck with a gas engine. It's actually more economical when I consider the total cost involved of buying and maintaining a truck. Not to mention, I have my acceleration needs met.

Be careful buying insurance here. A couple of insurance companies don't cover your vehicle during certain hours of the day! Read the policy carefully!

Several of us avoid the banks when buying a car. We get a better interest rate using our credit cards instead of the local banks. It's not uncommon for a "good" interest rate to be around 14 percent. Many pay as much as 18 though some of those prices are finally starting to drop a bit due to competition...but they have a long way to go.

I would not import a vehicle again. To much hassle with aduana (customs). Not only the fees but the long wait in never ending lines. When I got the new plates for my own truck I knew I couldn't deal with the aggravation of all the lines so I paid my local mechanic to take my truck in and go to the three or four different locations needed for the vehicle inspection, emission inspection, police inspection and of course yet another tax. All had lines that lasted at least two hours...and that's if you got there early in the morning.

Toyota is king here. They have the best resale. Mitsubishi and Hyundai, in my opinion, run second in popularity. Ford and Chevy are here offering limited models but they just don't hold up over the really rough roads. If you're sure you'll be close to one of the bigger cities four wheel drive is not a big deal but everyone seems to have one reason or another to need the extra ground clearance and better traction once in a while.

The upside to having a vehicle down here is you can get body work done very cheap. That's good because there are plenty of fender benders with people, think taxis and buses, that don't have insurance.

A side note. If you have an accident here and anyone is injured and needs medical help, whether it is your fault or not, the cops take everyone to jail. You can avoid the real "behind bars" experience by making a quick legal deal, including lawyer fee and official document, which spells out who is and isn't responsible for paying medical bills. If you can't make that deal, you sit at the police station and eventually end up in the poky until a transit judge can address your case. Pray you don't have an accident late Friday night or over the weekend!

This is one reason many people hire drivers instead of driving themselves. Average rate for a driver here in Managua, Monday through Saturday is just over four thousand cordobas a month. Just over US$200 a month. Plus a little lunch and dinner. Basic beans a rice suffices. These guys, during their down time, even do some gardening and minor home repairs. If you live outside of Managua it's even less money to have a driver. I like driving myself and prefer not to have a driver but I did have an accident, not my fault, with a motorcycle. They are the WORST! But that's another post for another time.

Buying a Toyota in Nicaragua

I want to buy a used toyota truck (tacoma or tundra) in nicaragua. does anyone have ideas about how much this is going to cost me? whats the usual cost of buying a used toyota truck in nica and also are there any hidden costs or costs if a united statesian buys? along with posting here, itd be great if respondants emailed me! thanks!

My two cents

Not all vehicles brought into Nicaragua will find parts difficult. I brought in a 2001 Suzuki from California and they have parts on hand one half the cost in California... and more readily available! Trick is where vehicle is manufactured ... mine was made in Japan.

Friend of mine just bought an upgraded silver-gray Izusu crew cab 4 WD diesel with 20,000 miles for $22,000. New oversize mud tires, brush guard with lights, surf rack, etc. I rented a similar vechicle from Budget for two weeks and was very impressed, including passing speeds.

If importing beware the Nicaraguan "Black Book" on used vehicle values. I paid $8000 for my Suzuki in California and had the receipt, but the Blackbook valued it at $16,000! They then added the cost of the container for a total taxable value of $21,000. Because I'm a permanent resident (cedula) and a senior (LaLey Pensionada Rentista) I was asked to pay only the tax above $10,000 ... but that was a lot and required a $500 bribe to bring it down to around $3500.

I agree with most of the advice you are hearing about finding a good used vehicle in Nicaragua. There are lots of them listed in the classified section of La Prensa, at new and used car dealerships, etc. Have a mechanic check them out thoroughly especially the suspension system since the roads in many places are terrible, and the frame ...

I don't think there are any hidden costs for gringos but it will help to have the seller do all the paper work you will need to get a placa (license plate). I did insure my vehicle with INISUR and they paid a large collision claim promptly, treating me with care and resepect at every stage of the process.

Buena suerte.

Martin Nelson Hacienda Iguana, Tola, Rivas SKYPE: QWLCrew

I wrote "five" and it should read "ten"

I made a mistake in my above post stating you could not import a vehicle older than five years. That is not correct. The limit is ten years.

Just my efforts to offer correct information. -smile-

Did You

Stumble on the DGA site Chele? jeje I had posted it here.



Yep, I saw your post and have to thank you. I was misinformed earlier. That's why I like this board. Better information from more people in the know.


You are more

Than Welcome Chele, it is a pleasure to help out when ever I can.


diesel vs gas

The trouble is that gas engines have spark-plugs that get wet when you have to ford one of the many creeks. You may wish you still had the diesel.

Diesel costs as much as gas at the moment but it will be cheaper in a few years. You can make diesel out of heavy crude and there is going to be a real shortage of light crude. Getting to be a lot of bio-diesel in the States now too.





I am a Nissan fan, and have driven a Pathfinder from US to Nic. The problems you will encoounter are with parts and service, since most Japanese vehicles in Nicaragua are direct from Japan, and are totally different from US made models. The local technicians looked at my truck like it was an alien spaceship. Good points are their dependability. Aside from import duties and red tape, you will need a full parts listing and service manual to help the local Nissan dealer service your vehicle. Your best bet is to buy a model in Nicaragua, priced similar to US.


I drove my US made Pathfinder to Nicaragua. Had the brakes repaired at the Nissan dealer in Managua, as I was towing a heavy trailer down. They were unable to locate the parts, but replaced the lining on my pads, which effected a good temporary repair until I got home. In talking with the GM there, he suggested that I get a parts and service manual for my model in case I returned. I would opt to buy a model down there, with parts and service familiarity already in place. All the mechanics looked at my fuel injected V6 and automatic transmission as if it was an alien spaceship.

Nica Nissan & ...

Nissan in Nicaragua:

Toyota in Nicaragua:

Hyundai in Nicaragua:

Mazda (and More) in Nicaragua (no known website): NICARAGUA Auto-Importadora Nicaraguense, S. A. Plaza Julio Martinez, Pista de la Resistencia Sur, Managua, Nicaragua, C. A. (Apartado 1949) 505-260-1120

Used Cars, Latin America:

Global-Car Locator (not great for Central America though):

If you need quality diesel repairs, (their site has many problems, and requires a password for access to some things, though the link pasted below should work without a password of any kind) has a directory or parts sellers and certified repair centers, worldwide; the site has other sections which might be of interest to some. Many poor countries havent a place which meets the criteria. There is one in Managua.

If the link fails, here is the full contact data: Managua : #16202 Taller Padilla Alvarez & Cia. Ltda. ; Bco. Popular Monzenor Lezcano ; 20 Varas. Abajo, Barrio Monz. Lezcano ; Managua, 505 ; Phone: (505)266-8346/268-4611 ; Fax: (505) 266-9625 ; ; http://www ; Jose Padilla Rodriguez ; Services Available: Fuel Injection = A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J ; Governors = A,B ; Turbochargers = A,B.


If you are planning on getting your residency in Nicaragua, I would wait until it is approved when you may import a vehicle and household goods one time free of import taxes, which are high on luxury vehicles, low on pick up trucks, etc. Otherwise buy a good SUV there in Managua, as you will not have your US Warranty or Insurance Coverage once you leave the States, and there exist very few mechanics outside Managua equipped to service the vehicle as well usually only the Nissan Dealer will have the spare parts, which are imported directly from Japan***. ***Your US vehicle is know as a "rodado" and most spare parts for it must be imported from US. the Vehicles Nissan sells in Central America are modified a bit differently.

Madera's Inn Hotel and Tours, Masaya, Nicaragua & "The Polyglots" Your Vertical Portal to Travel, Trade and Language Study throughout all of Latin America...


Nissan is not as common, but not obscure though either. In fact, the inventory for "Dollar Car Rental" in Honduras and Costa Rica is made up of many Nissan SUVs, and though I havent rented from them in Nicaragua, I wouldn`t think it would differ all that much. Unless you have access to some incredible deal, normally it would not be possible to save money by buying it in the U.S. and shipping it there - which also has various risks. As for mechanics, that is a whole another problem (finding a good mechanic in Latin America, will be much harder than in whatever country you come from before getting to Nicaragua). Many people will say they are a "Toyota mechanic" or whatever, but it is possible they have never worked on a car made in the last 7 years! Expect parts to be insanely expensive. The newer the car, the more this will be true. Also, if there is no dealer or mechanic near where you intend to live, you will need a means of transporting the car there if it has a serious problem, or pay a small fortune to have it done (the people who will get it there cheaply tend to be the kind of people you do not want towing your new $20k suv). If the vehicle is ever involved in a fairly serious accident, dont be surprised if there are only a few places in the country where it can be put back together correctly - and I emphasize the word correctly, to "specs" (straightening a "frame", or whatever, is common in the U.S., hardly so in Central America).

Toyota is a better choice here

There are soem X-terras around but the Toyota population here is so much higher than anything (in Estelí I am sure there are more Toyotas than all other cars combined) that I would a Toyota. Just more access to parts and mechanics that know what they are.

That said, Nissan, Kia, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Dihatsu, and Lada all have dealers in Managua so they are all choices. I am sure there are more.

Toyota SUV Diesel

Great insight. Do you know if Toyota sells a Diesel SUV in Nica? By the way, by what % is Diesel fuel cheaper than gasoline?


go to and see all the toyota models. there is a brand new line of SUV called the fortuner and there is also the prado. these two vehicles are non-US models, so you will not recognize their design. check it out and see what you like...landcruiser, 4runner, prado, fortuner, rav4, and hilux(tacoma).


the GS470 does not exist!!!!!!!!!!!! now the GX470 is similar to the prado


Call Daniel Ortega and find out where his full size Lexus SUV is serviced.

Last Time

Miskito Alan &#174

The last time that I saw Presidente Ortega in MGA; he was cruising in a Jeep Wrangler.

RAV4 and 4Runner

I believe they are still selling the RAV4 here. The casapellas web site should have the info. Estelí is not SUV-land so all you see here are serious trucks. Either really beat up Hilux pickups that have been abused of Landcruisers. Diesel is about 10% cheaper than regular gas and, of course you get more km/gallon because of the higher energy in diesel.

Actually, the most common non-SUV SUV around here is a double-cab Toyota pickup. I don't know what your plans are but it is worth considering because of durability and higher ground clearnace if you have any serious use plans for it.


This is one of the leading car dealers in Nicaragua Casa Pellas. I have never seen an Xterra in Nicaragua.

Viva la Raca-taca!

bringing my own car

My car is year 96 wich has a great gas mailage but I have heard that they don let bring cars older than certain year,

any one knows a web site or phone number of some goverment agency that will clarify that doubt for me, am I ok in bringing this car to Nicaragua what will happen etc please any input in this regard Ill appriciate it other person told me tha if it was a truck there is no limit in how old the truck was the case was only for cars, any one knows anything please? Thanks

trucks v cars

i too am planning to bring a sixteen year old land rover defender into the country in a container (along with a sailing dinghy) and would appreciate any info on age restrictions.....any other sailors on the site?

16 year old land rover

I have a 1977 type III Land Rover in Honduras. I cannot bring it with me to Nicaragua. There is a 10 year limit for importing cars/trucks and most other stuff. Oh yes check my profile I sail a little here on Lago Yojoa in Honduras but do not have my own boat. I am not sure about Nicaragua but you can find Land Rover Defenders here. It would be simpler to sell and purchase in Nicaragua. Like one of the previous posts said, let a local walk the paperwork through. Also check the paperwork very carefully when it is delivered to make sure it is in YOUR name and not the guy that walked it through.

If you are smart

Just buy your car here. Thats all.

Canta no LLores

Land Rover in Managua

I will sell you my Series II '67 if you want. of course it will cost you at Gringo price ;)



Cars and boats

Martin Nelson Hacienda Iguana Playa and Resort SKYPE: QWLCrew

I'm shipping a 2001 Suzuki with lots of extra parts --- brake linings, filters, hoses, plugs, belts, etc. --- from California. I rigged it with a second battery system so it could run a large fridge/freezer that pretty much takes up the entire storage area. Condo is 16 km north east of Tola so I want to get stuff home cool. Also, will be my back up when luz go out.

I thought about bring a dinghy for my boat down, but will save that to latter. May sail from San Diego and leave her at the new Marina Pella is building at Guacalito ... a couple of years down the road.

I read with interest the frustration of the many long lines. Does anyone have someone they would recommend for me to hire to stand in those lines? Do I need to be there or can the stand in person handle details?


Great tip. Went directly to t

Great tip. Went directly to their web page.