Explore the undiscovered gem of Central America. Who knew Nicaragua was home to Caribbean beaches, zip lines through a lush rainforest and treks across volcanoes?
Anyone who flips through your camera roll after a semester here will fall in love with the brightly painted walls, Spanish inspired cathedrals, leafy jungles and high adventure … oh, and the darling faces of the kids you’ll be teaching. Volunteers in the Nicaragua program will be working directly with an after school program that supplies an English education (and a role model) to the neighborhood kids who need it most.
EXPLORING CENTRAL AMERICA —
If you’re looking for things you can’t do or see anywhere else, come to Nicaragua. Oh and as a bonus, this is a country the typical tourists don’t know about yet, which means you get dreamy treetop walks, zip lining trips through the rain forest and pristine beaches, all to yourself. The colorful and bustling cities are worth seeing, but in Nicaragua, you can truly can step away from the crowds to explore some off the country’s most unique adventures; things like sandboarding down a volcano, kayaking through craters, tropical islands as well as thrilling trips in the jungle.
There’s more than enough to keep you busy exploring what Nicaragua has to offer, but you can also jump over to approved neighboring countries for vacation like Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico.
Ometepe — Head to this island made up of two volcanoes! Paddle board and dive into crystal clear lagoons surrounded by lush jungles. Explore brightly colored fishing villages nearby.
Masaya Volcano — Head to the active volcano Masaya where you’ll be able to hike up to the rim and see (and hear) the active lava churning and popping. It might be hot enough to roast up a couple of marshmallows so maybe toss a bag into your backpack!
Leon — A colonial city that’s bursting full of history, rad adventures, and fresh fruit smoothies. Grab your camera and head to the rooftop of the Cathedral de Leon — sitting on top of the rounded, stark white domes of this massive cathedral is one of the best kept secrets of this sprawling city. After you’ve gotten your fill of the city scene, head to Cerro Negro where you can experience the classic sandboarding down a volcano, famous worldwide for being the hot spot to do it.
San Juan del Sur — This is the place to be for all surfers and backpackers. Come (and stay) for the beautiful beaches but don’t leave without snapping a picture of the second-largest statue of Christ in the whole world, second only to the World Wonder in Brazil.
El Hoyo — See if you can do this grueling hike, but if you make it to the top, you can camp overnight and wake up to sunrise over 8 of the country’s most famous volcanoes, all lined up in a row.
Miraflor’s Cloud Forest — Trek over rivers and through waterfalls, past local farms hidden in the thick greenery and see if you can spot monkeys, parrots and other animals on your hike. Plan on feeling like you have the whole rain forest all to yourself; this is one spectacular hidden gem.
Corn Islands — You’d never guess these views came from Nicaragua (We told you it was a total hidden gem). Little Corn and Big Corn islands are made for the vacation life — head to Little Corn for a quieter experience, or Big Corn for larger resorts, but both will give you turquoise water, white sand and palm fronds aplenty.
Laguna de Apoya — What used to be an ancient volcano is now a dreamy natural pool that’s perfect for a lazy afternoon of paddle boarding or kayaking. Thanks to the volcanic history, the water stays nice and warm … plus, you’ll be able to say you’ve swum in a volcano!
Somoto Canyon — See Nicaragua’s Grand Canyon for yourself. Here, narrow limestone cliffs are filled with clear turquoise water that make for gorgeous pictures (and help keep you cool while you hike). At some points, the water is deep enough for a little cliff jumping or just a relaxing float in the pools.
Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica — The beaches along this northern coast are all so good that we couldn’t pick just one! It’s probably one of the most traveled to destinations in Costa Rica for good reason. Spend a lazy day at the beach, practice your yoga, and sip on fresh fruit smoothies before you head out to explore nearby national parks.
Pacuare River, Costa Rica — Up for some of the best white water rafting in Central America? Head east of San Jose through the jungle to spend the day rafting through thick green canyons. You might be lucky enough to spot some local wildlife, like monkeys, toucans, giant butterflies, and even jaguars.
Bocas del Toro, Panama — Go island hopping, snorkeling, and hammock on the beach-ing in this incredible Panamanian getaway.
PROGRAM DETAILS —
Live in a house with other volunteers! There will be around 6-9 people in your group, so it gives you a chance to get really close. You’ll be living in a neighborhood where you’ll likely run into your students and neighbors after class who want to spend even more time with you. Fill up on fresh local dishes like rice, beans, plantains, eggs, and the juiciest fruits. Don’t forget to practice your Spanish skills with your friendly neighbors you pass by!
Check out a what a typical day looks like for an ILP volunteer and can’t miss experiences in Nicaragua here.
Spring Semester: Depart late January or early February — return home the end of April.
Summer Semester: Depart the end of April or early May — return home the middle of August.
Fall Semester: Depart the end of August — return home the middle of December, just in time for Christmas.
You’ll be making a difference by helping children and youth learn English through our Humanitarian Program up to 20 hours per week. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method.
You’ll be living and teaching in an underprivileged neighborhood right outside the popular tourist spot, Granada. In a country so torn by poverty, where you’ll be living and what you’ll be doing gives you a chance to really connect with the kids in and outside of class.
$3,720 — Includes your roundtrip airfare to Nicaragua, visa, housing, meals, language and culture classes, and training and support throughout the entire experience.
ILP volunteers live in the neighborhoods of Granada, giving a true Nicaragua experience while still being right outside of the colorfully vibrant downtown. Granada is a destination all of its own for travelers, not far from the country’s capital.
My kids taught me more than I taught them ...
“I’m at a loss of words it seems. I do not know what to say… Or where to even start. These 3 months have no doubt been the best months of my life. My kids taught me more than I taught them. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever done!
What I do know though:
-I love my kids
-They changed my life
-I love Nicas
-They will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart!”