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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO NICARAGUA RIGHT NOW?

Yes! Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America. Your safety matters to us, and we wouldn't plan a trip if we didn't think it was safe. If you have concerns, please talk with us about the many ways we work to keep travelers safe. 

HOW LONG ARE THE TRIPS?

It's up to you! Trips typically last 7-10 days, depending on the interests of each group. 

 

HOW MUCH DO THE TRIPS COST AND WHAT IS INCLUDED?

Trip costs range between $1,700 and $2,000 depending on the type of project, length of stay, and off-time activities. The trip cost includes meals, lodging, in-country transportation, translation, recreation, AND the materials for the project you work on. Participants are responsible for travel health insurance, round-trip airline tickets, and the Nicaraguan visa fee ($10). Some participants may want to budget for additional expenses, like alcoholic beverages, snacks, and souvenirs.

WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE? WILL WE HAVE BATHROOMS AND RUNNING WATER?

Hotels are modest. You can expect a bed, a private bathroom with a shower, an overhead light, a sheet, and a towel. Many even have air conditioning. In Managua, you may have hot water, but not in the rural areas where you will spend most of your time.

Expect latrines at the work site; running water is unlikely. Lunch at the work site is simple, but plentiful.

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.

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DO I NEED TO SPEAK SPANISH FLUENTLY?

No. Our guides are fluent in English and Spanish. Trips are a great, immersive way to practice your Spanish!

 

WHAT DOCUMENTS OR PAPERWORK ARE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL TO NICARAGUA?

A passport with an expiration date 6 months after the last day of your trip. 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. Many people ask if our trips are a good fit for kids. We have had many people travel with youths who have wonderful experiences. We're happy to talk with you to see if our service trips are a good fit your child.

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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 Volunteer Coordinator if you have a specific need or concern. 

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 where we work. Our staff knows the medical facilities 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 service group pays for the materials to construct the community project; this 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 (school supplies, sports equipment, etc), it is best purchased in country.

 

WHAT IS THE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE PER PERSON?

Please see your airline's website to confirm allowances as these vary 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 refunded.


Airfare refunds are processed through the airline [or your travel insurance plan]. Please see their rules and regulations for details; you may want to pay for the trip insurance offered by the airline.

SHOULD I BRING CASH, AND IF SO, HOW MUCH?

Some participants spend $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 should bring 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 unripped bills, as larger denominations may be difficult to break or make change. Ripped bills will be rejected by vendors as Nicaraguans banks will not accept them.

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WILL I BE ABLE TO BE IN CONTACT WITH MY FAMILY WHILE I'M THERE?

Most hotels have wifi, though it may be a bit slower than you're used to. You will be able to check email and make calls via wifi while at the hotel. There is rarely cell service or wifi in the villages. Check with your cellphone provider about your coverage in Nicaragua.

 

If there is an emergency with your family in the US 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. 

DO I NEED EXPERIENCE WITH CONSTRUCTION?

Not at all! Projects are organized for participants who have no prior experience with international development or construction. If you do have experience, that's welcome, too!

 

WHAT SPECIAL EQUIPMENT OR GEAR SHOULD I BRING?

We will send you a suggested packing list before your trip, but most projects require general work and travel gear. A water bottle, insect repellent, cotton work clothes, and sturdy, comfortable shoes are musts. Construction equipment and tools are provided at each work site. 

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WILL THERE TIME FOR ANY FUN? OR IS IT ALL WORK?

From the excitement of ziplining on a dormant volcano to a chill day on the beach, each service trip has time set aside for fun and adventure. Teams can choose between a variety of excursions and tours based on their service trip location and amount they are willing to spend for extra diversions on their "day off."

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IF YOU'RE READY TO SIGN UP OR CONNECT WITH THE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, CLICK BELOW.

WE HOPE YOU'LL JOIN US! 

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