For many people in the United States, especially those who can remember the 80’s, just the word “Nicaragua” conjures up images of young militants brandishing weapons in the jungle, violent conflict between Sandinistas and the U.S.-funded Contras, and Oliver North. Even if you’re not old enough to remember the 80’s, you might have lumped Nicaragua in with scary stories of drug violence that you’ve heard from other Central American countries, and feel a sense of foreboding. Whenever I go home to the U.S. for a visit and mention to someone that I live in Nicaragua, invariably I get asked, “Isn’t it dangerous there?” – a question that always makes me laugh, because Nicaraguans say the same when I tell them I lived in Atlanta for a while.
While the Nicaraguan Contra War is a very painful memory for much of the population, it is just that – a memory. The war ended 25 years ago, and since then Nicaragua has made great strides in peace, reconciliation, and economic growth. While it is true that Nicaragua remains one of the poorest countries in the region, it has, in the words of The World Bank “[defied] global economic odds,” by stabilizing its economy and attracting foreign investment and trade. One of the fastest-growing sectors is tourism; Lonely Planet listed Nicaragua for the third time among its top destinations in 2015. What’s more, Nicaragua is among the safest countries in Latin America. On the Law and Order Index published by the Gallup poll for 2014, Nicaragua received the highest score for all of Latin America.
But even knowing all that, it’s natural to be nervous about traveling to a developing country (or anywhere, for that matter), especially when you don’t know the language or the lay of the land. Sure, you could buy one of those packages where you get picked up at the airport and whisked away to an all-inclusive resort, but you could have that kind of generic experience in just about any country. That’s why traveling with us is your best option for seeing real life in Nicaragua. SCSRN has been a part of the San Ramón community for over 20 years, and as such, we offer a well-established travel experience that allows you to share Nicaragua’s food, people, history, and culture in a safe, familial environment. The host families and service providers that work with us have many years of experience receiving foreign visitors, and are well-prepared to make you feel comfortable and welcome. Like we always say – when you travel with us, you travel with family.
If you are interested in learning more about the travel experiences we offer, please contact Kristine, our International Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to sharing our love for Nicaragua and the wonderful people of San Ramón with you!