Now that you have reserved your spot on an upcoming ecotour to San Ramón, you probably have lots of questions! Below are some answers to frequently asked questions and some online resources to help you prepare. Remember, you can always reach out to us with any questions or concerns by writing to us here.
Here you can find all the information you need to prepare you for an cultural immersion ecotour with us.
What is a Cultural Immersion Ecotour like?
You can find answers to almost all your questions in our Ecotour Participant Study Guide. You can also read this blog by our Executive Director. If you’re more of a visual person, you can also find a lot of information from the videos like these on our YouTube channel:
Is Nicaragua safe?
People often relate Nicaragua to other Central American countries where gang activity and drug violence is a serious problem. Nonetheless, Nicaragua is recognized as one of the safest countries in Latin America, and the safest in Central America. For more information about safety in Nicaragua, read this blog from our Executive Director.
Do I need a visa to travel to Nicaragua?
Travelers will not need a tourist visa in advance of their trip. When you arrive, you will need to pay $10 at immigration for your visa. It is easiest to have a $10 bill with you.
Are there opportunities for fundraising?
The way to fundraise with SCSRN is through selling our coffee! Please email Robin Barth to see how!
What meals will be provided?
Along with the transportation and accommodations, the food is included in the cost of the trip. Honoring the culinary heritage of the region, local delicacies and drinks are prepared hygienically and with purified water. Vegetarian options are available, however you’ll need to inform staff in advance on the Supplemental Information form provided after reservation.
What about clean drinking water?
Tap water is generally considered not safe for tourists to drink in Nicaragua. Purified drinking water is available to travelers the entirety of the trip. Travelers should bring canteens or water bottles to re-fill during their stay.
Should I or my son/daughter bring money with them on their trip?
The trip cost covers all expenses (except airfare). However, there is a $10 visa fee upon entering the country. If you would like to buy gifts, snacks, or souvenirs, then additional spending money is good to have. See the Ecotour Participant Guide for ideas around extra money to bring.
What if I don’t speak Spanish?
Do not worry about this at all! We provide interpreters, and our partners we work with (i.e. homestay mothers, guides, etc.) are very comfortable helping everyone feel at ease no matter what Spanish-speaking ability they have. If you would like to learn some beginner phrases for basic conversation, this site is a good start.
Where will we be sleeping?
You will be sleeping in the homes of the homestay families. All guesthouses have electricity, running water, indoor toilets, and mosquito nets. All the homes where are guests stay are representative of middle-class Nicaraguan families, and are very clean and well-maintained. Nonetheless, there is some variation in the level of comfort between the guesthouses, including hot water and wifi. FEV’s newly renovated cabins have comfortable beds and bathrooms. Each homestay home has mosquito nets as well as at FEV.
Will my student have email and phone access while in Nicaragua?
Our ecotours grant our travelers the chance to experience this beautiful region without the distraction of electronic devices. While there will be opportunities to be online, we encourage our travelers to connect with the local culture rather than the internet. That said, there are cyber cafes available in town, and free wifi in the park. In the event of an emergency or health concern, a local staff member will contact the primary emergency contact person entered on the Supplemental Information form provided after reservation. If there is an urgent family matter in which a traveler needs to be contacted, please contact our San Ramón office (we will provide this information).
What type of insurance is required by SCSRN?
Each traveler is required to have travel insurance that includes a medical evacuation policy. Travelers are allowed to use whatever insurance provider they choose. If your provider does not offer MedEvac insurance, we can provide suggestions of travel insurance companies that our participants have used in the past.
What if I get sick during the trip?
While we have thankfully never had an incident of serious physical illness, it is true that when traveling in a different country, there are new elements that can be challenging to your body. Some travelers choose to bring OTC medication like Immodium or Pepto-Bismol in the event of mild traveler’s diarrhea. All of our San Ramón staff are First Aid and CPR certified and are prepared to enact our Emergency Plan if necessary.
Here are a few online resources to learn more about Nicaraguan history, politics, language, and travel:
www.ecoturismosanramonmatagalpa.com: This is a new website created as a part of a local tourism initiative in San Ramón.
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/in-one-of-latin-americas-poorest-countries-boosting-the-economy-is-womens-work/: Interesting article that gives insight into Nicaraguan economics, gender issues, and family life.
http://www.douglas-haynes.com: Douglas Haynes is a writer and professor who has written extensively about Nicaragua.
http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/activities-to-do-nicaragua/: Interesting travel blog entry about fun things to do in Nicaragua.
http://www.envio.org.ni/index.en: Digital, magazine produced by La Universidad Centroamericana in Managua
www.vianica.com: Independent online site for insight into culture with a vast video collection that ranges from music and art to nature and sport. Here you will also find help for trip planning for destinations throughout the country
www.nicaraguadispatch.com: An English language newspaper for features, interviews and opinions
www.nicanet.org: The Nicaraguan network committed to social and economic justice for the country’s people
www.moon.com/books/moon-nicaragua/: A recently updated (2013) travel guide with a very good section on suggested reading and you can also learn about this nation’s love affair with poetry
www.duolingo.com: A free online tool for learning Spanish