FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO NICARAGUA RIGHT NOW?
Your safety is of primary importance to us. We will not plan a trip unless we are sure it is safe. If you have concerns, please talk with us about our emergency policy and the many ways we work to keep travelers safe.
HOW LONG ARE THE TRIPS?
It's up to you! Trips can last between one and two weeks, depending on the constraints and interests of each group.
HOW MUCH DO THE TRIPS COST?
Trip costs range between $1,700 and $2,000 depending on the type of project, length of stay, and off-time activities. Trip costs include meals, lodging, in-country transportation, translation, and recreation. It also includes costs for the materials for the project you work on. Participants are responsible for travel health insurance, round trip airline tickets, airport taxes, and the Nicaraguan visa fee of $10. Some participants might want to budget for additional expenses, like beverages, snacks and souvenirs.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TRIP COST?
Trip costs include meals, lodging, in-country transportation, translation, recreation, and the materials for the project you work on. Participants are responsible for round trip airline tickets, airport taxes, and Nicaraguan visa fee of $10 (paid when you arrive at Managua International Airport).
WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE? WILL WE HAVE BATHROOMS AND RUNNING WATER?
Most El Porvenir work sites are small villages without electricity or running water. While you are working in the village during the day, you will use a latrine and eat simple food that is prepared for the group's lunch. Hotels are modest. You can expect a bed, a private bathroom with a shower stall, an overhead light, a sheet, and a towel. In Managua, you may have hot water, but not in the countryside where you will spend most of your time.
WHAT IF I'M NOT IN PERFECT HEALTH?
You must be in good health to participate, but certain allowances can be made. Participants may need to lift loads up to 20 pounds and hike for short distances. The climate is hot, the roads are dusty, and you will be doing manual labor. Transportation is in the back of a pickup truck, and medical treatment available in rural Nicaragua is not as sophisticated as in the United States. Please talk to the Trip Coordinator if you have a specific need or concern.
I'M VEGETARIAN OR HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY; CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE THIS?
We can accommodate vegetarians, but not vegans. We cannot guarantee that no animal fats are used in the preparation of restaurant foods. Please let us know your specific allergy, and we will advise.
DO I NEED TO SPEAK SPANISH FLUENTLY?
No. All of our guides are fluent in both English and Spanish. And it is a great immersive way to practice your Spanish or hone your skillset.
WHAT DOCUMENTS OR PAPERWORK ARE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL TO NICARAGUA?
Two forms of photo ID (your passport and one other). Fully vaccinated travelers must bring proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers must present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to entry into Nicaragua. You will purchase a visa for $10 US upon entry into the country.
ARE KIDS ALLOWED? WHAT'S THE MINIMUM AGE?
Younger participants are welcome, but anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
WHAT IF I GET INJURED WHILE I'M THERE?
In the case of an accident or illness, you will receive prompt medical attention. There is a health center in each of the regions in which we work. El Porvenir staff is thoroughly familiar with medical facilities in every location, should there be a need. We require travel insurance. Please contact us for more information.
CAN I BRING GIFTS FOR THE COMMUNITIES OR FOR EL PORVENIR STAFF?
The fee you pay to participate with the work group will pay for the materials of construction for the community’s water or sanitation project, and this donation is your gift to the community. Please do not bring individual gifts for people in the community where you will work. If you wish to give a gift to the community, it is better purchased in country.
WHAT IS THE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE PER PERSON?
Please see the airline's web page to confirm allowances for number, dimensions and weight, as it varies between airlines. Please pack light and bring only what you can carry yourself.
WHAT IS YOUR PAYMENT AND REFUND POLICY?
All trip payments are due 45 days prior to departure. Should the trip cancel for whatever reason, your fee will be refunded less your $250 per person deposit. If you cancel less than 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the trip cost less the non-refundable deposit will be refunded.
Cancellation within 14 days of the trip results in a 25% refund less the non-refundable deposit. All cancellation fees will be designated as a donation to your group's project. In the interest of the safety of all concerned, El Porvenir reserves the right to cancel a group trip, in which case all fees except the non-refundable deposit paid to El Porvenir are refundable.
Airfare refunds will be processed through the airline [or your travel insurance plan]. Please see their rules and regulations for details.
SHOULD I BRING CASH, AND IF SO, HOW MUCH?
It depends. Some participants spend only $20 while in Nicaragua, and others spend $300. We provide for all your necessities, like lodging and three meals a day. If you intend to purchase snacks, additional beverages, alcoholic beverages, or souvenirs, you may want to bring additional cash. US dollars are accepted in Nicaragua. ATMs do not always work and are rare outside of Managua, so we recommend bringing any cash you intend to spend. Please bring small bills, as larger denominations may be difficult to break or make change.
WILL I BE ABLE TO BE IN CONTACT WITH MY FAMILY WHILE I'M THERE?
Most hotels will have wifi, though it may be a bit slower than you're used to. You will be able to check email, get text messages, and use your wifi calling while at the hotel. There is rarely cell service in the villages and no wifi at all.
If there is an emergency with your family in the U.S. and someone needs to reach you immediately, family and friends can contact Jo Buescher, at 239-292-2419, and she will make sure you get the message directly.
DO I NEED EXPERIENCE WITH CONSTRUCTION?
Not at all! Projects are organized for participants who have no prior experience with international development or construction. But if you do have experience, that's great, too.
WHAT SPECIAL EQUIPMENT OR GEAR SHOULD I BRING?
We will send you a complete packing list before your trip, but most projects require general work and travel gear. Things like a water bottle, a headlamp or flashlight, insect repellent, cotton work clothes, and sturdy, comfortable shoes are a must. Any construction equipment or tools will be provided at each work site.
WILL THERE TIME FOR ANY FUN? OR IS IT ALL WORK?
From the excitement of zip lining off of an inactive volcano to a chill day on the beach, each work trip has time set aside for some fun and adventure. Teams have the opportunity to choose between a variety of excursions and tours based on their service trip designation and amount of additional money they may be willing to spend for any extra diversions on their "day off."