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 … and the darling faces of the kids you’ll be teaching. Volunteer in Nicaragua and work directly with an after school program that supplies an English education (and a role model) to the neighborhood kids who need it most.
Calling all adventure buddies! Come explore the untouched beaches, pristine jungles, and volcanoes hiding in this country. Nicaragua is perfect for someone who wants to have lots of experiences on a low, in-country budget. Nica is everything Costa Rica was before all the tourists came along, so you’ll find high adventure with low prices. Go ziplining, white-water rafting, surfing, and whale-watching too, all for half the price than what you’d find in other countries. It’s our go-to Humanitarian semester for those working with a budget and anyone wanting to fall in love with all of the “under the radar” experiences.
Glimpse a day in Nicaragua
HELP CHILDREN IN NICARAGUA LEARN ENGLISH
Come make a difference by helping children learn English through our Humanitarian Program. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method! Volunteers are only teaching part-time, up to 20 hours per week, and will be in the classroom with kids who are 5-12 years old.
Volunteering and Costs
The colorful city of Granada, Nicaragua
—Spring: Depart middle January/early February – return end of April
—Summer: Depart end of April/early May – return middle of August
—Fall: Depart end of August – return middle of December, just in time for Christmas
—6-9 volunteers in a group
—Single males/females and married couples
—18-about 25ish years old
—US and Canadian volunteers
—No experience needed!
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT COVID-19
We paused our Nicaragua program at the start of the pandemic and are so excited to be back again (and have been here since Spring 2022)! So what’s life like in Nicaragua now? The center ILP volunteers teach at temporarily closed but has reopened. There are plenty of opportunities to travel around Nicaragua and nearby countries. In general, life is operating with some restrictions, such as mask requirements for some situations and locations. Volunteers going to Nicaragua must have their Covid-19 vaccine.
We are so happy to have volunteers in this location again!
EXPLORING CENTRAL AMERICA —
If you’re looking for things you can’t do or see anywhere else, come to Nicaragua. This is a country the typical tourists don’t know about yet. 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 are all waiting for you.
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. All in all, it’s pretty perfect.
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. It churns and pops, just like popcorn. 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 … but that’s not all. 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. It’s the only place to experience sandboarding down a volcano, famous worldwide.
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. It’s second only to the World Wonder in Brazil.
El Hoyo — It’s one grueling hike, but worth the views. If you make it to the top you can see the 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. 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. Both will give you turquoise water, white sand, and palm fronds aplenty. Unless you’re not a fan of paradise, this place is for you.
Laguna de Apoya — What used to be an ancient volcano is now a dreamy natural pool. It’s perfect for a lazy afternoon of paddle boarding or kayaking. Thanks to its 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. At some points, the water is deep enough for a little cliff jumping or some relaxation, like a 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, and giant butterflies, too!
Bocas del Toro, Panama — Lastly, go island hopping, snorkeling, and hammock on the beach-ing in this incredible Panamanian getaway.
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!”