WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE?
We stay in comfortable hostels and nice guesthouses through the course of the program. There will be 2 days of the program where we will be 'roughing it' a bit, staying in more basic accommodations as we work with a local community. This is often a highlight of the trip and is a great time to unplug, decompress, and really enjoy the rustic beauty of the country.
entry and visa requirements
Travelers from the US and most European countries do not need a visa to enter Nicaragua. After paying a US$10.00 entrance fee, you will be given a tourist card that is valid for 90 days. Visit http://www.visahq.com/ to see if your country requires a visa.
Stay Healthy and Safe:
Nicaragua is the second safest country in Central America and the people are, for the most part, the kindest and most sincere people you'll ever meet. However, it never hurts to take precautions and there's a few things you can do to ensure a safe trip for you and your valuables. Petty theft and robberies do occur in Nicaragua on occasion, but mostly not in the tourist areas where we stay. Risks can be minimized by being cautious, only traveling in groups (especially at night), and not openly demonstrating your wealth. Keep an eye on your luggage when traveling, and keep valuables close and store them safely.
As non-medical professionals, Justifi does not give specific medical advice and recommends that you follow the advice of a health care professional with regard to vaccinations Therefore we suggest you go to your health care provider or local travel clinic to let them know you are going to Nicaragua and find out what vaccines they recommend for you, then make your own informed decision about what precautions you wish to take.
Most travelers Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting:
Hepatitis A - CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Nicaragua, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
Typhoid- You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Nicaragua. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
Learn actions you can take to stay safe and healthy on your trip. Vaccines can not protect you from many diseases in Nicaragua so your behaviour is important
A few safety precautions for you: Here are a few tips to avoid risks.
Take anti-malarial meds
Eat and drink safely
Prevent bug bites
Keep away from animals
Reduce your exposure to germs
Avoid sharing body fluids
Avoid non-sterile medical or cosmetic equipment
Insect bite prevention
1. Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
2. Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
3. Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
4. Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
Avoid tap or well water
Avoid coming in contact with animals. Do not touch or feed animals you do not know
Carry the essentials you will need. Never carry anything you consider priceless or irreplaceable.
Pay for items in cash whenever possible and use credit cards at larger establishments such as hotels. Take only the money you need with you and do not keep it all in one pocket.
Walking or cycling after dark, or in deserted areas, is not recommended. With justifi we will take precautions and make sure everyone stays safe.
The Embassy recommends traveling in groups at all times.
Here are a few additional resources:
what should i pack?
HERE ARE A FEW SPECIAL THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Lightweight Long pants and long shirts for mosquito prevention
Plenty of underwear
First aid kit
Pictures to share with the kids
Feminine hygiene products
Baby powered (it gets humid) this cuts down on uncomfortable, er, ‘friction’
Cell Phone & Technology
Cell phones are available for purchase at the airport or you can bring your own unlocked phone and purchase a SIM card upon arrival. Be aware, however, they may not have a card to fit newer phones (iPhone 5 is hit-or-miss).
Nicaragua works on the "Top Up" system, where you purchase a SIM card (the chip that you insert into your phone that allows you to access the local cell phone network) and then add credit to allow you to make calls and send texts. We recommend that you top up $10 at the beginning of the trip, this will easily last throughout the program. You could also add more credit at any convenience store if you run out.
The cell phone company "Claro" also has a data plan available for purchase, though most places we stay have wifi accessible and we recommend against having a data plan if you can possibly live without it.
Electricity and Power
There are occasional power outages in Nicaragua, but overall this hasn't proven to be too much of an issue in the past, and they usually just last for a few hours.
Electricity in Nicaragua is 120 Volt and 60 Hertz. Most outlets fit 2- or 3- plug outlets from North America. (Click here for more information)
Local Currency and Money
It is recommended to bring $100-$200 in small bills U.S. currency.
ATMs are available in most of the places we visit and an ATM card is the best way to get Cordobas (the local currency). The conversion rate is approximately 25 cordobas to $1 USD.
To give you an idea of costs here are a few examples of food and beverages prices.
Seasonal fruit: 50 cents to 1 dollar a pound
Tortillas: 50 cents for a handful
Bread: 10-20 cents for sandwich roll, 50 cents for a baguette
Coffee: 50 cents to 1 dollar per cup, from good local beans
Basic restaurant lunch: $2.50 – $7
Domestic Beer 1 dollar
Imported Beer 2 dollars
Coke/Pepsi 1 dollar
Water (0.33 liter bottle) 70 cents.
Fees for withdrawing can be up to $5 per withdrawal, so make fewer withdrawals of larger amounts.
Tell your banks you are traveling so you are approved to use your credit/debit cards overseas.
There are also moneychangers standing in tourist areas and near banks that offer fairly standard rates for U.S. Dollars to cordobas.