The Nicaraguan economy traditionally has been and continues to be based on agriculture. Coffee, cattle, sugar cane, bananas, tobacco, cereals, beef, and lumber are the traditional and most significant exports. Also, the fishing industry is experiencing a recent resurgence. In the last four years, non-traditional products such as handmade furniture, hammocks, and the national rum, “Flor de Caña” have become popular exports; two of our national beers (Toña & Premium) are also exported. Tourism is receiving more and more support from the government and private investment and has been placed as the first most important source of income since the year 2002. With the approved law of Tourism Incentives, the country has opened its doors to foreign and national investment opportunities. The advantages of this law are great and it is considered the best investment law in Latin America. Although the official under and unemployment rate in Nicaragua is calculated around 55%, the economic growth rate for the last three years was above four percent. The inflation rate is currently about eight (10 percent) percent a year.
Nicaragua now has only private bank institutions, which offer a complete selection of financial services. An account can be established in local currency or US dollars without any restrictions and money transfers from foreign countries can be easily arranged. The local money is called the Cordoba, and as of June 2006 there are 19.30 Córdobas to one US dollar, you can also visit the Central Bank of Nicaragua for up date currency at : www.bcn.gob.ni Cash in dollars can be changed for Cordobas almost anywhere.
Most of these institutions open from 08:30 am until 04:30 pm without closing at midday. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diner’s Club are widely accepted at major hotels, restaurants, and larger stores. It's possible to receive cash advances from major credit cards in ATM’s in Managua and the other larger cities of the country.
The Euro has been introduced into the bank institutions since January 2002. Euro banknotes are now accepted by the main bank institution. Change from Euro to Cordobas is available (but still in relatively small quantity) at counters of the largest bank institutions. It is also possible to open a bank account in the new European currency (Euro) in the biggest bank institutions of Nicaragua to receive bank transfers. Euros are exchanged against our local currency (Cordoba) and are quoted daily. As per June 2006, you receive about 30 Córdobas (C$) for one Euro (Û).