Nicaragua

Program Itinerary

21 Day High School Service Program

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2018 VISIONS Nicaragua program. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

 

June 29: Arrive at the Managua airport, where VISIONS leaders are waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) The three-hour drive to our homebase in Jinotega serves as a scenic introduction to the Central Highlands and mountainous region of Nicaragua. Once there, we settle into our homebase, do some program orientation, and have a delicious meal prepared by our cook, Darlin.

 

June 30: Dig in to the worksites! Projects in Nicaragua may involve the construction of potable water systems that bring clean drinking water to communities that have never imagined such a luxury. We have a lot to accomplish, and we get started by learning about the plans and the tools required to complete them. You’ll develop new skills, such as wielding pickaxes and machetes, digging trenches and laying pipes. You’ll also learn cinder block construction to expand and improve community centers and schools. By the end of the first day, you already feel like you’ve accomplished something. In the late afternoon, we prepare for a Fiesta de Bienvenida welcome party and dinner with our VISIONS friends in the host community.

 

July 1: Get to know the community and our hometown of Jinotega a bit better by engaging in team scavenger hunts and taking hike up to the scenic lookout at the “Pena de la Cruz” monument.

 

July 2–5: We spend Monday through Thursday at our worksites, and participants typically get to choose their project each day. Work in Nicaragua usually starts by 9 am, includes time for breaks and lunch, and ends around 2 pm. We also begin “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. Some of the afternoon and evening activities this first week include workshops at a bakery, empanada-cooking classes, time for games and optional sports with local teens and the B-Crew (breakdancing crew), and a Fourth of July barbecue.

 

July 6–7: Make an excursion to the incredible Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, a rainforest where we help with ecological service projects, get a scientific tour from a local guide, learn about Nicaragua’s commitment to environmental sustainability, hike to a waterfall and have a cookout. We stay in one of the lodges on Friday night and return to our homebase on Saturday evening.

 

July 9: Homestay days are favorites among VISIONS alums. This is when participants pair up to spend the day with a local family who we know well. Activities are varied, from helping with shopping to cooking to playing with children, but hosts are always excited to share a part of their lives. We all meet back at homebase in the evening.

 

July 9–13: Our projects start to really come together, and we’re also in the full swing of the reflective Circle meetings that happen every other day during the program. Project rotations likely include working at a primary school, helping with water conservation initiatives, and doing cinder-block construction. Work is balanced with free time activities, such as visiting an ecological coffee plantation, boating at Lago Apanas, touring the historic church in San Rafael, swimming, having a cook-off, movie night, and breaking into small groups one evening to eat at a restaurant in town.

 

July 14: Full-day excursion to the mountain town of Matagalpa and one of its enticing chocolate factories. We also take a hike at a place known as “El Chile” before returning home in the evening to unwind.  

 

July 15–16: We get back to work for our final push on the projects. These will also be our last full days with local friends. We’ll have a talent show one night and a Fiesta de Despedida goodbye party the next night.

 

July 17–18: Say goodbye to our friends and community of Jinotega, do a Big Clean of our homebase, and then depart to explore another beautiful part of the country for a couple days. It’s about a three-hour journey to Masaya, site of one of Central America’s largest artisan markets. We have some time to shop and explore, then we head to our guesthouse on the shores of Laguna de Apoyo for a pizza party. The next day includes a tour and hike to the Masaya Volcano, a stop in the historic city of Granada if time allows, and then back to the laguna to swim and spend time as a group.

 

July 19: Adios, Nicaragua! The group makes an early departure to the Managua airport, where leaders see each participant off on their flights.

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2018 VISIONS Nicaragua program. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

 

June 29: Arrive at the Managua airport, where VISIONS leaders are waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) The three-hour drive to our homebase in Jinotega serves as a scenic introduction to the Central Highlands and mountainous region of Nicaragua. Once there, we settle into our homebase, do some program orientation, and have a delicious meal prepared by our cook, Darlin.

 

June 30: Dig in to the worksites! Projects in Nicaragua may involve the construction of potable water systems that bring clean drinking water to communities that have never imagined such a luxury. We have a lot to accomplish, and we get started by learning about the plans and the tools required to complete them. You’ll develop new skills, such as wielding pickaxes and machetes, digging trenches and laying pipes. You’ll also learn cinder block construction to expand and improve community centers and schools. By the end of the first day, you already feel like you’ve accomplished something. In the late afternoon, we prepare for a Fiesta de Bienvenida welcome party and dinner with our VISIONS friends in the host community.

 

July 1: Get to know the community and our hometown of Jinotega a bit better by engaging in team scavenger hunts and taking hike up to the scenic lookout at the “Pena de la Cruz” monument.

 

July 2–5: We spend Monday through Thursday at our worksites, and participants typically get to choose their project each day. Work in Nicaragua usually starts by 9 am, includes time for breaks and lunch, and ends around 2 pm. We also begin “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. Some of the afternoon and evening activities this first week include workshops at a bakery, empanada-cooking classes, time for games and optional sports with local teens and the B-Crew (breakdancing crew), and a Fourth of July barbecue.

 

July 6–7: Make an excursion to the incredible Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, a rainforest where we help with ecological service projects, get a scientific tour from a local guide, learn about Nicaragua’s commitment to environmental sustainability, hike to a waterfall and have a cookout. We stay in one of the lodges on Friday night and return to our homebase on Saturday evening.

 

July 9: Homestay days are favorites among VISIONS alums. This is when participants pair up to spend the day with a local family who we know well. Activities are varied, from helping with shopping to cooking to playing with children, but hosts are always excited to share a part of their lives. We all meet back at homebase in the evening.

 

July 9–13: Our projects start to really come together, and we’re also in the full swing of the reflective Circle meetings that happen every other day during the program. Project rotations likely include working at a primary school, helping with water conservation initiatives, and doing cinder-block construction. Work is balanced with free time activities, such as visiting an ecological coffee plantation, boating at Lago Apanas, touring the historic church in San Rafael, swimming, having a cook-off, movie night, and breaking into small groups one evening to eat at a restaurant in town.

 

July 14: Full-day excursion to the mountain town of Matagalpa and one of its enticing chocolate factories. We also take a hike at a place known as “El Chile” before returning home in the evening to unwind.  

 

July 15–16: We get back to work for our final push on the projects. These will also be our last full days with local friends. We’ll have a talent show one night and a Fiesta de Despedida goodbye party the next night.

 

July 17–18: Say goodbye to our friends and community of Jinotega, do a Big Clean of our homebase, and then depart to explore another beautiful part of the country for a couple days. It’s about a three-hour journey to Masaya, site of one of Central America’s largest artisan markets. We have some time to shop and explore, then we head to our guesthouse on the shores of Laguna de Apoyo for a pizza party. The next day includes a tour and hike to the Masaya Volcano, a stop in the historic city of Granada if time allows, and then back to the laguna to swim and spend time as a group.

 

July 19: Adios, Nicaragua! The group makes an early departure to the Managua airport, where leaders see each participant off on their flights.

Celebrating 33 Years