NICARAGUA

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.

City: Granada

Service: Help children who come from limited means receive a free English education through this Humanitarian program, which they would not otherwise be able to afford.

Group Size: About 7 volunteers

Life Abroad: Live in a house with other volunteers. Fill up on local food like rice, beans, plantains, eggs, and the freshest fruits. Practice your Spanish skills with the friendly neighbors.

Semesters: Spring semester is late January - May. Summer semester is May - August. Fall is August - December.

Your Spot For Untapped Adventure

If you’re looking for things you can't do or see anywhere else, come to Nicaragua. Oh and as a bonus, these are adventures not everyone knows about, 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 volcanic hikes, kayaking through craters, tropical islands as well as thrilling trips in the jungle.

TOP VACATION SPOTS

There's more than enough to keep you busy in Nicaragua, but you can also jump over to neighboring Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico ... or maybe even check out a Caribbean island like the Dominican Republic.

  • Masaya Volcano Head to the active volcano Masaya — 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.
  • 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.
  • Monteverde, Costa Rica Head to this famous cloud forest for zip lining, sky walks over the forest canopy, and maybe even do a rain forest night safari.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica Hike through the jungle of this favorite national park. You may even want to hire a guide who can help you spot the wildlife — cross your fingers that you're lucky enough to see parrots, monkeys, or maybe even a sloth!
  • Bocas del Toro, Panama Go island hopping, snorkeling, and hammock on the beach-ing in this incredible Panamanian getaway.
  • 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.
  • Laguan 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.

Make An Impact

Like all ILP programs, you’ll be making a difference in the lives of the kids you teach but especially in Nicaragua, you’ll also be impacting the community in immeasurable ways. You’ll be living and teaching in one of the most underprivileged neighborhoods 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. 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.

A Resilient People

Nicaragua is a country that once struggled under Colonial powers, but now struggles with poverty and natural disasters — the lure of hiking volcanoes that have pulled tourists from all over the world are also the same volcanoes that have caused severe destruction, especially to the agricultural economy. However, that doesn’t stop the people of Nicaragua from creating a colorful and vibrant culture. All semester long, you’ll be surrounded by people who are focused on family, love to smile and who celebrate any holiday with lots of dancing and music.