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- Interacting with local children during service learning
- Learning about conservation initiatives from leaders in local communities
- Studying Spanish in small groups
- Volunteering and participating in community projects
- Hiking up and peering into an active calderas
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Day 1: Bienvenida a Nicaragua!
Welcome to Nicaragua!
We transfer from Managua Airport to Central America’s oldest European settlement, early 16th century Granada. Granada is a gem that is easy to love with much of its colonial architecture intact after being painstakingly restored. The Spanish built Granada strategically on Lake Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua) adjacent to the indigenous community of Xalteva, whose residents suddenly found themselves working for their new foreign “visitors”. Granada quickly grew into a trade hub with a Spanish merchant class developing as a result.
Overnight: Granada (D)
Day 2: Granada Highlights & Isletas
This morning we return to beautiful Granada with our local guide where will will enjoy breakfast. After we eat, we visit Granada’s Isletas by boat. This peninsula and its 365 small islands where formed 20,000 years ago by a massive volcanic explosion! Today it is a unique place where prominent Nicaraguan have their vacation houses and a local fishing community makes its living. The nature is beautiful with a lots of birdlife and amazing views of the volcanoes and Lake Nicaragua…look for the monkeys!
This afternoon we enjoy a tour of this incredibly colourful town with a local guide visiting Fortres La Polvora, San Francisco Museum, and La Merced church.
Overnight: Granada (B, L, D)
Day 3: Granada to Masaya & Mesa Villages (Pueblos Blancos)
Breakfast at La Mariposa and transfer to the ancient highland villages of “La Meseta”, for visits to the mesa artisan’s workshops of Catarina, San Juan de Oriente and Masatepe. All these precious towns have colonial period houses and churches and a hardworking, native population. We have the opportunity to meet with several artisans including: hammock maker, furniture maker, ceramicist and more.
Masaya has been populated for more than 3,000 years and the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century organized the local artisans in small workshops for export. The principle item was hammocks and today Masaya makes the world’s finest hammocks, as well as wood, leather and clothing goods, all created by hand. Masaya’s friendly population has restored their 19th century outdoor indigenous market for the sale of their hand made goods. As the folklore tradition is very strong in Masaya, we have the chance to visit the Museo del Folklore to learn a little bit more.
After a visit to the market we transfer to the Catarina viewpoint, one of the highest hills surrounding the Apoyo Lagoon, and the view from there is superb. You can see the whole lagoon as well as Lake Nicaragua behind it. The Mombacho Volcano borders the lake and is also prominently present.
Time permitting, we may also visit the Coyotepe Fortress which was initially built in 1893 by President Zelaya in order to stop attacks from conservative forces, mostly North American armies, from Managua, Masaya and Leon. It is strategically located atop a hill offering amazing views of the surrounding area.
Overnight: La Mariposa Eco-Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 4-8: La Mariposa – Community Project & Ecological Reserve
Accommodation – La Mariposa is a small, friendly non-profit Spanish school and eco-hotel, just outside the pueblo of La Concepcion near Masaya. The students will be staying at the Group Study Centre (El Piscacho) – dormitory accommodation with plenty of sleeping, eating, meeting and classroom spaces surrounded by great views. The beautiful gardens are designed to attract butterflies and birds, and it has been built with local sustainable materials (straw, recycled tires, bamboo). The electricity is solar powered with solar heated hot water in the showers!
Please note that during our stay at La Mariposa, the group will be broken into smaller groups depending on interest and projects they are working on.
Some of the activities outside of La Mariposa will include:
Hike – A hike around the property with local guide
Farm Visit – A visit to a nearby pineapple and pitahaya (dragon fruit) farm with a local guide
Tour of Masaya Volcano – Take a walk into the heart of the earth through laves tube while bats fly over your head. Learn about the history, geology and ecology of this particular volcano. The trip ends with a visit to a viewpoint that provides the opportunity to look inside the crater mouth of the volcano, observing the glowing lava.
**Please note that this activity may be cancelled at anytime due to volcanic activity.
Eco Tourism Project:
Sustainable tourism initiative is a work in progress and we are looking for volunteers to help us out. This is a long term project working with a number of very poor rural neighbourhoods, all of which are situated on the edge of the Masaya Volcano National Park. The aim is to help establish rural community facilities which will attract tourists and thus bring income directly into the community. This project offers direct help to the poorest families…for example, we are tackling the problem of firewood extraction from the national park by providing eco-cookers which have proved their worth and are very popular. Other means of helping include latrines, provision of potable water and solar panels. In return, the families are becoming involved in the whole eco project and taking part, for example, in reforestation initiatives.
An Ecological Reserve has been established on 5 acres of land, including a frog and dragonfly pond; special planting of fruit and forest trees and flowers to attract and feed birds (especially the local groups of parakeets and parrots whose numbers have been devastated by poaching for the pet trade), bats (bat boxes), butterflies and other insects; planting of rare trees and plants to increase local biodiversity. Iguana, guatusa, squirrels have all been spotted and the intention is to care for larger mammals as well. This land is also used as a nursery to provide trees and plants for reforestation in the surrounding communities. An eco-built centre serves as a meeting place for both La Mariposa and local people. Gradually this will build into an environmental education centre with exhibitions and demonstrations on, for example, how to produce organic fertilizer from worms.
Service work in the community:
This can include working with children on one or more of our children’s projects (including disabled children). Depending on what is happening at the time this may be physical work building or painting but could also be working alongside the kids, helping them with school work or doing specific projects. We also have sports projects where your young people could play football with local kids or help organize a local tournament.
Classes on Social & Environmental Issues:
We can offer taught classes in English on range of subjects from the history of Nicaragua to current environmental issues. Discussion groups designed to think about how decisions we make in the “First World” affect lives here.
For those interested, small group Spanish classes are available. Classes are available to everyone regardless of Spanish language ability.
Overnight: Mariposa Eco-Hotel http://www.mariposaspanishschool.com/
Meals: All meals while at La Mariposa, mostly organic, locally sourced meals
Overnight: La Mariposa Eco-Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 9-11: San Juan del Sur (or nearby beach)
This morning we bid farewell to our gracious hosts at La Mariposa and head to the Pacific coast! Here you can do as little or as much as you want to do. Take surf lessons, try horseback riding, hike, or just lounge on the beach.
Optional Activities (Recommended to book in advance)
Clases de surf (Surfing Lessons)
Includes: transportation, surf boards, rash guards, 1 instructor per 6 participants
MUST be a strong swimmer
Cabalgata (Horseback Riding)
Renta de bicicletas (Bike Rental)
1 day (entregarlas a las 6pm)
Includes: Short stroll in the forest, zipline, transportation.
Activities in SJDS are at the traveller’s own expense (lunches & one dinner not included). These activities are NOT operated by Finisterra Travel LTD.
SJDS is a small town and easily walkable. A few activities to be enjoyed in town include: a walk through the centre of town to the SJDS suspension bridge, which leads you to the hills surrounding the town and the famous Jesus statue; exploring side streets and enjoying the colourful architecture.
Most of the great beaches are located nearby San Juan del Sur and may require additional transportation that can be arranged through the hotel.
Overnight: 3 nights San Juan del Sur (3B, 1L, 2D)
Day 11: Free Morning & Transfer to Managua
This afternoon you will meet back at the hotel to transfer to Managua Airport hotel.e highlands of Santa Cruz, observing the Galapagos giant tortoise in natural surroundings, and the amazing lava tunnels, some over 1km long while taking in panoramic views of the islands.
Overnight: Near Airport (B, D)
Day 12: Departure Day
Overnight: None (B)* Please note that the itinerary is subject to change. Due to the temperament of Mother Nature and the Ecuadorian Government, itineraries may change and activities may be shifted, omitted or replaced without notice. Our goal is to give you the best possible tour with a safety first mentality. We also must comply with all rules set forth by the national and local governments no matter how convenient or inconvenient they may be.
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La Concepcion: La Mariposa Eco-Hotel
San Juan del Sur (or similar): TBD
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Nicaragua Info” tab_id=”1449208781393-5b5a961e-7010″][vc_column_text]Visa Requirements
All visitors entering Nicaragua are required to purchase a Tourist Card for US$10. Generally not required for stays up to three months.
The Cordobas (C$) is the official currency in Nicaragua. ATM’s are widespread in mid-size towns. US dollars are the alternative currency and widely accepted, but for smaller items using córdobas is cheaper and easier.
It’s worth carrying an emergency supply of dollars in case you have problems with your card. Participants will need money for extra snacks, meals, and beverages not included.
We strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six
weeks before departure.
Spanish is the official language.
Electrical current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin plugs are standard.
Ms. Keri Montgomery
E: [email protected] or [email protected]
T: 1 800 806 0761[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Inclusion & Exclusion” tab_id=”1449208780765-5fd2d40a-5e8d”][vc_column_text]
- Meals as per itinerary
- 11 nights accommodation in a variety of hotels & eco-hotels
- Services of local bilingual Nicaraguan guides, naturalists & experts
- Tips for local guides, boat captains, drivers, restaurant staff, etc
- All transportation as per itinerary (transfers, boats, private vehicles, etc)
- Service of an experienced Tour Leader
- All applicable taxes
- Services and entrances not specified in itinerary
- International Flights (can be booked through [email protected]
- Optional cancellation insurance (can be arranged through [email protected])
- Meals and beverages not mentioned in itinerary
- Items of a personal nature
- Departure taxes (if applicable)
- Passport fees
- Vaccinations (Please check the Center for Disease Control & Travel Medical Professional)
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Pricing” tab_id=”1449222184989-fafeb900-f98a”][vc_column_text]Date: Upon Request
$1795 USD per participant (Prices are subject to change due to number of participants). A 20% non-refundable deposit ($1020USD) is required at time of booking to reserve your place. Please contact [email protected] for more booking information.
Cheque: Please make cheque payable to Finisterra Travel LTD with “Finisterra – Ecuador” in the notes and mail it tour our office.
Finisterra Travel LTD
106-550 E 6th Ave
Vancouver, BC, V5T 4H2
Credit Card: Please fill out our credit card authorization form (request by email) and email it to us ([email protected])
Full payment is due 60 prior to departure[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs]