Accommodation is generally quite cheap in Nicaragua. Options range from simple hammocks ($2-3 USD) to dormitories in hostels ($5-9 USD) to private twin rooms (“matrimonials”) ($10-35 USD, depending on whether you have a TV, air conditioning and your own shower and toilet). You will probably only find real luxury in the big cities like Managua, Leon or Granada and in a few resorts like Montelimar (Somoza’s former holiday home), and even there, prices almost never reach four figures.
The high and low seasons are not as pronounced as in Costa Rica, for example, but there is a marked increase in prices during semana santa (Easter week), the time of year when most Nicaraguans take their holidays. It is not uncommon for prices to double or triple during this period, for example in San Juan del Sur. There is another small spike around Christmas/New Year, but it is not as pronounced. During the rainy season you can sometimes negotiate better prices, but don’t count on it.
While Barrio Martha Quezada is generally a convenient destination for visitors to Managua due to the many cheap hotels, it has become increasingly dangerous, especially for tourists, as robberies occur in broad daylight. Unless you need to be in the area to catch an early morning bus from a nearby terminal, it is advisable to avoid Martha Quezada, especially as it is far from the so-called “new” centre of Managua. The area near the Tica bus station also has a reputation for being dangerous, and tourists are well advised to take a taxi directly to and from the station, even if it is only a short walk. The Backpackers Inn near MetroCentro (5 minute taxi ride from the UCA microbuses), the San Luis Hotel in Colonia Centroamerica (5 minute taxi ride from the Mercado Huembes bus station) are good budget options in safe neighbourhoods, as are many hotels of varying price ranges in the neighbourhoods around the new centre near Metrocentro and Caraterra Masaya (i.e. Altamira, Los Robles, Reparto San Juan).
Look for guesthouses, huespedes or hospedajes as these are the cheapest rooms that cost less than 5 USD. They are usually owned by families and you will mostly be staying with locals. Make sure you know when they close if you are going out at night. Hotels offer more amenities but are more expensive. There are a few backpacker hostels in Granada, San Juan del Sur, Isla Ometepe, Masaya, Managua and Leon; otherwise, guesthouses are the preferred option.