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Nicaragua Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Nicaragua? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Nicaragua

For an introduction to shooting in Nicaragua see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Nicaragua Film Locations

Nicaragua is a Central American nation set between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The country is home to dozens of nature reserves, parks and wildlife sanctuaries filled with a wealth of biodiversity. Film locations include volcanoes, cloud forests, jungles, lakes, beaches, and Spanish colonial architecture. The lowlands region is a hot, fertile plain punctuated by volcanos. The uplands are a cooler region where coffee is grown, and cloud forests are abundant with oaks, pines, moss, ferns and orchids. The tropical rainforest region is sparsely populated. The Caribbean coast is known for its abundance of lagoons, deltas, and paradise islands.

Agricultural film locations include plantations of coffee, cotton, tobacco, peanuts, sugarcane, and bananas. Nicaragua has cattle ranches and shrimp farms. The country mines gold, silver, and copper. Energy locations include thermal power plants, hydroelectric dams, and geothermal plants.

Nicaragua has hosted productions such as Survivor: Worlds Apart (2015), Survivor: San Juan del Sur (2014), Survivor: Redemption Island (2011), and Survivor: Nicaragua (2010).

Film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Pacific Region

The Pacific Region includes the departments of Managua, Granada, Masaya, Rivas, Carazo, Leon, and Chinandega.

Managua is the capital, the largest city, and main entry point by air. Film locations include Old Cathedral of Managua, Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Plaza de la Revolución, National Palace, and Rubén Darío National Theatre. La Chureca is the largest garbage dump in all of Central America.

Granada is a beautiful colonial city located on Lake Nicaragua. Film locations include Granada Cathedral, Parque Central de Granada, San Francisco Convent, and Plaza de la Independencia.

Islets of Granada are hundreds of small volcanic islands located in Lake Nicaragua.

Mombacho is an extinct volcano.

Masaya Volcano is an active volcano.

Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve is a volcanic lake surrounded by a tropical dry forest ecosystem.

Lake Nicaragua is the largest freshwater lake in Central America. It is home to the Nicaragua shark which is the world’s only freshwater shark.

Isla Ometepe, located in Lake Nicaragua, is home to Concepcion Volcano, and Maderas Volcano.

Survivor: Worlds Apart (2015), Survivor: San Juan del Sur (2014), Survivor: Redemption Island (2011), and Survivor: Nicaragua (2010) filmed near San Juan del Sur.

León is a colonial city known for León Cathedral, Church The Recollection, Museum of the Revolution, and National Autonomous University of Nicaragua.

Cerro Negro is known for Volcano boarding.

San Cristóbal is one the country’s most active volcanos.

Cosigüina is a stratovolcano with a crater lake.

Padre Ramos Estuary Natural Reserve is a nesting ground for the hawksbill sea turtle.

Pacific Ocean beaches of note include Playa Maderas, Playa Marsella, Playa Santana, El Remanzo, Playa Popoyo, Playa Gigante, Playa El Yankee, Playa Hermosa, Playa Escameca, Playa Amarilla, Playa La Flor, Playa El Coco, Playa San Juan del Sur, Playa Nacascolo, Playa Ocotal, Playa Santo Domingo, Playa El Ostional, Playa Peña Rota, Playa Jiquiliste, Playa Manzanillo, Playa La Redonda, Playa Guacalito, Playa Colorado, Playa Montelimar, Playa las Peñitas, Playa Chacocente, Playa Huehuete, Playa La Boquita, Playa Casares, Playa El Tamarindo, Playa Tupilapa, Playa Santa María del Mar, Playa Jiquilillo, and Playa Corinto.

Central Region

The Central Region includes the departments of Madriz, Nueva Segovia, Jinotega, Esteli, Matagalpa, Boaco, Chontales, and Rio San Juan.

Somoto Canyon National Monument is located in Madriz.

Mogotón is the highest peak in Nicaragua.

Bosawas Biosphere Reserve is home to jaguars, baird’s tapirs, spider monkeys, and hundreds of bird species including the resplendent quetzal.

Cerro Cuisaltepe is a rugged mountain located in Boaco.

Indio Maíz Biological Reserve is a lowland rainforest rich in biodiversity. It is home to great green macaws, Baird’s tapirs, jaguars, pumas, armadillos, fishing bulldog bats, sloths, manatees, monkeys, scarlet macaws, crocodiles, turtles, iguanas, snakes, and frogs such as the Yellow-banded poison dart frog.

Fortress of the Immaculate Conception is located on the San Juan River.

Caribbean Region

The Caribbean Region includes the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, and South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region.

The Corn Islands are known for their palm-lined white sand beaches and turquoise waters.

El Bluff Lighthouse is located in this area.

Nicaragua Film Location Permits 

There are very few permitting requirements for shooting b-roll of public locations throughout Nicaragua. Larger shoots requiring exclusive use of public space need permits. Protected areas such as national parks also require permits. At present, filming with drones is prohibited. Please contact us for more location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Nicaragua has a tropical climate. The rainy season runs from May to October, with heavy storms common. Travel on more rural roads becomes difficult. November through April is the hot, dry season and best time to film in Nicaragua for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Festivals and events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:

• Festival of San Sebastian in January.
• Palo de Mayo in May.
• Fiesta del Toro Venado in October.

Nicaragua is predominately Christian country, so those holidays are observed.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Nicaragua.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Nicaragua is a very cost competitive place to shoot, with prices often coming in at half of what it costs to shoot in Costa Rica. Locations, local talent and support crew are very inexpensive. For larger projects, since there is little to no filming infrastructure, most key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Our Nicaraguan fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. There are no tax incentives for foreign feature films or commercials shooting in Nicaragua.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Nicaragua has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Some English speaking key crew are available locally. Other crew you will need to bring in from abroad.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Nicaragua.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Casting facilities are rather undeveloped in Nicaragua so street casting is often required.

Spanish is the official language.

Mestizos are the main ethnic group. Minority ethnic groups include Caucasian, Afro-Carribean, and Indigenous groups such as the Rama, Miskito, and Sumo people. Nicaragua’s east coast is also home to a significant Afro-Carribean community where English is widely spoken. All other talent needs to be brought in from abroad.

Nicaragua Film Equipment

Equipment. Some production companies have equipment in-house including HD cameras, and basic lighting and grip equipment. Otherwise it’s best to bring gear from abroad. Costa Rica is the closest production centre to bring in additional gear. For notes on bringing in gear see the below visas and work permits section.

Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is limited.

Studios and backlots at present do not exist in Nicaragua.

Post Production. No post production facilities exist at present.

Visas & Work Permits

Work permits are not required. Most passport holders have visa-free access or visas on arrival for stays of up to 90 days.

Before arriving, crews must first submit their project synopsis, schedule, flight information, crew / passport details, and an equipment list to INTUR, the government tourism agency responsible for filming in Nicaragua. INTUR then provides the visiting crew with an official letter to enter the country and clear gear through customs. An official from INTUR will meet the crew at the airport to ensure everything runs smoothly. Permitting times vary. Allow at least 3 weeks for permission to film. Projects of a politically or socially sensitive nature, such as the Nicaraguan Canal, may be refused entry altogether.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation. Highways connecting major cities are of a high standard. Rural roads become slower going especially during the wet season. Our Nicaraguan film fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transport. Managua international airport is serviced by several international airlines.

Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Managua. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. If you are filming on the Pacific coast, Mukul is a luxury resort located a 2.5hr drive from Managua’s Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Try local cuisine such as fritanga, quesillo, indio viejo, rondon, chancho con yuca, naca tamal, sopa de mondongo, vigoron, and gallopinto.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Nicaragua, please see below:

Hire Nicaragua Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Nicaragua, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Nicaragua, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.