“Taking this ISL trip to Nicaragua is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I never came close to imagining all of the invaluable experiences I had. I had the opportunity to meet so many great people. All different but with the same shared passion to learn and serve. This experience reminded myself of who I am and gave me more insight of who I want to become.”
–Li Hong H., North Carolina State University
The largest, most sparsely populated, and least visited of the Central American nations, Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. With the added bonus of the Atlantic on the east and the Pacific on the west, Nicaragua offers a diverse landscape full of lush vegetation and wildlife, largely unspoiled by development.
Known as the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” Nicaragua’s volcanic chain is one of the most impressive in Central America due to the beauty of the more than 50 cones, 7 of which are active. Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast is blessed with miles of pristine undeveloped coastline. The people of Nicaragua are known for having huge smiles and being very welcoming and genuinely friendly.
Second only to Haiti, Nicaragua is one of the poorest nations in Latin America. Our ISL medical, dental, public health, nursing, and veterinary teams arrive in Managua for orientation and seminars in tropical medicine, taking vital signs, pharmacology, house clinic-community triage, clinic organization, and medical Spanish, as well as an overview of the history and socioeconomics of Nicaragua. Volunteers perform house to house public health surveys, and assist in fields clinics in needy communities, based on local need at the time of the trip.
Communities We Serve
The communities our volunteers work in, located mainly in the Pacific of Nicaragua are mostly rural communities, where people live from agriculture and some of the work in industrial factories. Families also breed pets like dogs and cats, likewise they have chickens and pigs used to supplement their diets. Their houses are mostly built with materials they find or buy second hand. It could be said the houses are half concrete and half non-permanent materials such as zinc, plastic and wood. In a small house could live up to ten people making their quality of life very difficult, no privacy and many share almost everything.
Our volunteers have the opportunity to tour homes such as these to witness firsthand the poverty and necessity in which families live.
Upon arrival at the airport in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, you will line up to speak with an immigration official, who will stamp your passport. After immigration, follow the crowd to your right to the baggage claim area. Once you have located your luggage, you will continue on through customs. After exiting customs, look for an ISL staff member who will be wearing a blue polo shirt with an ISL logo and holding an ISL sign. You will be taken to your air conditioned passenger bus for transport to your hotel, which is usually located about 20 minutes away from the airport. Your daily commute to the work site is normally 20 minutes as well.
Recreational opportunities include exploring the wonderful pacific coast beaches like Pochomil Beach and La Boquita Beach, climbing volcanoes, visiting the beautiful colonial city of Granada, boat ride adventures in the small islands of Granada and shopping at the Masaya Craft Market.
ISL has strict housing standards for cleanliness, safety and comfort. Each volunteer shares a room and shower facilities, but has their own bed. Housing locations are selected according to proximity to program sites. ISL staff members stay with volunteers and are always available 24/7.
- Internet is available at most housing locations. Volunteers are transported by their Team Leaders to an internet location periodically if internet is not available at their hotel.
- Laundry services are provided at least once a week for a small charge.
- If food or drug stores aren’t nearby, Team Leaders make sure volunteers are transported to shopping areas periodically or as needed.
- ISL provides breakfast each day, unless otherwise specified in the team itinerary.