The largest, most sparsely populated, and least visited of the Central American nations, Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. With the added bonus of the Atlantic on the east and the Pacific on the west, Nicaragua offers a diverse landscape full of lush vegetation and wildlife, largely unspoiled by development.
Known as the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” Nicaragua’s volcanic chain is one of the most impressive in Central America due to the beauty of more than 50 cones, 7 of which are active. Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast is blessed with miles of pristine undeveloped coastline.
Second only to Haiti, Nicaragua is one of the poorest nations in Latin America. Our ISL medical, dental, public health, nursing, and veterinary volunteers arrive in Managua for orientation and seminars in tropical medicine, taking vital signs, pharmacology, house clinic-community triage, clinic organization, and medical Spanish, as well as an overview of the history and socioeconomics of Nicaragua. Volunteers perform house to house public health surveys, and assist in field clinics in needy communities, based on local needs at the time of the trip.
Communities We Serve
The communities our service learning program volunteers work in are mostly rural, where many people work in agriculture or in industrial factories. Many houses are built with materials found or bought secondhand. Up to ten people may live in a small home, making the quality of life very difficult and offering little privacy. Many communities share almost everything.
Our volunteers have the opportunity to visit homes such as these to witness firsthand the conditions in which families live and to help volunteers understand how the clinics and treatments are tailored to their living conditions.
Upon arrival at the airport in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, you will line up to speak with an Immigration official, who will stamp your passport. After Immigration, follow the crowd to your right to the baggage claim area. Once you have located your luggage, you will continue through Customs. After exiting Customs, look for an ISL staff member who will be wearing a blue polo shirt with an ISL logo and holding an ISL sign. You will be taken to your air conditioned passenger bus for transport to your hotel, which is usually located about 20 minutes away from the airport. Your daily commute to the work site is normally 20 minutes as well.
Recreational opportunities include exploring the wonderful Pacific coast beaches like Pochomil Beach and La Boquita Beach, climbing volcanoes, visiting the beautiful colonial city of Granada, boating adventures in the small islands of Granada, and shopping at the Masaya Craft Market.
Whether lodging at a hacienda on the beach of the Sea of Cortez in Puerto Penasco, Mexico; a walled convent in the heart of Alajuela, Costa Rica; or an apartment situated above the bustling metropolis of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, ISL’s volunteer lodgings are unique and carefully chosen based on very important criteria.
Accommodations are safe, clean, and within a reasonable driving distance to service sites and recreational opportunities. Volunteers are provided their own bed, easy access to restrooms and showers, as well as meeting spaces for training and fellowship. Many ISL accommodations are unique and may include retreat houses, guest houses or home stays, all of which provide a distinctive cultural experience. ISL Country Coordinators will provide a description of your specific lodging in the Final Trip Document uploaded to your My ISL Portal prior to your departure.
Internet is available at most housing locations. If not, volunteers are transported by their Program Leader to an internet location periodically. Laundry services are provided at least once a week for a small fee. If food or drug stores aren’t within walking distance, volunteers are transported to shopping areas as needed. ISL provides breakfast each day, unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
We love our staff and we are positive that you will too! Each staff member is professional, courteous, and has the same passion as you do: to serve others.