Nicaragua's currency is the córdoba, written with the symbol C$. The córdoba is divided into 100 centavos. The exchange rate at the time of writing (2013) was 24.4 córdobas to the US dollar, and is now relatively stable. Dollars are a useful standby across Nicaragua, and this will increase with the widespread acceptance of the dollar across Central America.
The most ubiquitous banks are Bancentro, BDF, Banco de América Central, Banpro and Banic. Branches can be found in almost every Nicaraguan town. In larger cities like Managua, León and Granada new private banks are cropping up offering more or less the same service as other banks – although they tend not to cash travelers checks. Standard trading hours are 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Many banks are also open on Saturday mornings although lines can be quite long. All banks will change U.S. dollars. Private currency exchange houses called casas de cambio can be found in most tourist towns and moneychangers are growing in number. Do take care if you decide to change money on the street and make sure you are getting the correct exchange rate.
Major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted in many hotels and restaurants and you can often use them to pay for car rental, flights and tours. All branches of Credomatic bank advance cash on major cards. In Granada, San Juan del Sur, Managua and Leon, ATMs that accept foreign-issued cards are available.
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