This ecotour is now over.
This trip is being organized by David Belt, whose love affair with Nicaragua spans three decades. After experiencing the tragedy of the Nicaraguan Contra war with Witness for Peace in the 80’s, David is excited about returning with groups to Nicaragua to experience the peace and prosperity of modern-day Nicaragua. This trip includes four nights in the town of San Ramón, two nights in the coffee farm and eco-lodge Finca Esperanza Verde, and one night in the beautiful colonial city of Granada.
Tentative Itinerary (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):
Day 1: Arrive to Managua and receive a warm welcome from the San Ramón staff who will be waiting to take you directly to San Ramón. You will pass through the town and head up to the mountains to Finca Esperanza Verde, the award-winning eco-lodge and coffee farm founded by SCSRN. Meet the new owners and all-local staff and learn their stories. Enjoy your first Nica dinner and settle into your cabin. (To learn more about FEV, visit www.fincaesperanzaverde.org).
Day 2: Coffee, the second most-traded commodity in the world (after oil), is an essential part of the Nicaraguan economy. After breakfast in FEV’s open-air dining area with a spectacular view of the northern mountain range of Nicaragua, you’ll take a tour of the coffee farm to learn the first steps of getting the coffee from the plant to your Starbucks cup. In the afternoon, learn from a professional coffee taster (called a “cupper”) how to discern different flavors in coffee. During your afternoon cooking class, you’ll learn traditional forms of food preparation, including how coffee is traditionally roasted. In the evening, enjoy cocktails around a bonfire while listening to a band of traditional Nicaraguan musicians.
Day 3: FEV is located on the edge of the Bosawas rain forest, which is known as the “lung of Central America.” Take a tour with specialized guides to view the exotic birds of Nicaragua, as well as sloths and monkeys. Take hikes along lush tropical trails at your leisure to enjoy the natural beauty of the cloud forest. Tour the organic garden where much of the food that you enjoy is produced. Visit the butterfly hatchery and learn about the conservation efforts to protect Nicaragua’s native species. In the afternoon, say goodbye to your FEV friends, and head for the town of San Ramón. Meet SCSRN’s friendly staff, get some cultural orientation, and then be welcomed into the home of your host family. Receive a tour of this small town from local guides and learn about a day in the life of a local. In the evening, visit the local library, where you’ll enjoy a dance performance by a local children’s group and learn about how SCSRN supports education efforts.
Day 4: After breakfast with your host family, you’ll go visit a rural school that participates in our Rural School Partnership. You’ll have a chance to interact with the children and teachers of the school, and learn more about how this program benefits schools in San Ramón and in the U.S. After returning to the town of San Ramón, you’ll have a conversation exchange with English students from the local high school, and learn about the differences between rural and urban education in Nicaragua.
Day 5: In the morning, attend a craft fair where you can see all of the beautiful handiwork of local artisans. Throughout the day, you’ll visit the homes of many of these artisans – weavers who use traditional indigenous practices, jewelry-makers who use local seeds, and a group of women who make stationery from recycled paper. Learn how they make their crafts and the important role they have in the local economy. End the day with a cooking lesson, to learn how to prepare traditional Nicaraguan “nacatamales,” followed by a delicious dinner accompanied by musicians.
Day 6: Enjoy a leisurely morning with your host family, learning about what home life is like for a typical Nicaraguan family. On your last day in town, choose from a number of optional activities: visit Los Pipitos (a center for children with disabilities that does miraculous work), hike up to a rural community for more bird-watching and swimming, take a Latin dance class, or enjoy a Q & A session with a local historian to learn more about Nicaragua’s turbulent past. In the evening, enjoy a night of music and dancing in the park.
Day 7: Have your last breakfast with your host family, and say farewell to your new friends in San Ramón. Next you’ll arrive to Granada, the oldest colonial city in Central America. After checking into your beautiful colonial hotel in the center of town, you’ll go visit the active Masaya Volcano, known to the ancient Spanish colonizers as “the mouth of hell.” In the afternoon, take a boat tour in Lake Nicaragua to the tiny islands inhabited by monkeys and exotic birds, with fascinating true stories of pirates and old Spanish fortresses. In the evening, you can have a leisurely stroll along the Calzada, the main thoroughfare with restaurants and bars of all types.
Day 8: After breakfast and a little free time for some last-minute souvenir shopping, you’ll head back to the airport in Managua, where you’ll bid farewell to the Sister Communities staff – until next time!
Price: The cost of this trip is $1,400, and includes all in-country lodging, transportation, meals, and activities. It does NOT include airfare. Possible itinerary changes may affect the cost of this trip.