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Expat Exchange > Expat Articles

10 Things to Know Before You Move to Central or South America
ShareThis Member Comments
By Donald Lee
Summary: Lee offers ten tips for people contemplating a move to Central or South America.

I have received many emails over the years from readers of my Blogs who are interested in moving to Central or South America from the US or other 'developed' countries'. The majority of people who requested information are involved in cross-cultural relationships. I have first-hand experience with a cross-cultural marriage. For women, I recommend that you investigate lagringasblogicito and hondurassprouts. These are blogs written by excellent women writers who are married to Honduran Citizens.

Here are some tips that I picked up from years of actual cross-cultural communications as well as first-hand experience, a grand total of 24 years residence in Mexico and Central America.

1. Be informed (Know) before you go. Read! Read! Read! Surf the Internet and purchase up-to-date print Guidebooks, country specific to where you wish to relocate. Talk to as many people as you can who have lived in Central & South America.

Always spend at least 2-3 weeks in your target country, city or region before deciding to make the move. Seeing is believing. Never rely on internet sites, user groups, forums or blogs as your primary source of information. Never arrange to purchase Real Estate abroad from any website nor contract expensive Real Estate & Relocation tours online. One Woman, whom I know, spent $200 USD a day in Costa Rica on 'Real Estate Tours', returned home broke and bitter after a week. If you do not have a friend or relative in your target country who you are able to stay with (try not to stay in a Resort or Luxury Hotel unless on a genuine vacation) take this advice: "I would recommend couchsurfing.com for meeting locals. You don't have to couchsurf (Stay) with them you can meet for a coffee / drink, local tour or whatever. They'll show you around and you'll get to do things most tourists don't do -- and offer insider information on their area. Also try out bewelcome.org. Both organizations are non profit boasting thousands of Latin American members.

Start taking some Spanish or Portuguese lessons online and also in frontal classes or with a native speaking tutor at home well before departure. Build a language 'basic' foundation. Stepping up to intermediate and advanced is easy once in a Spanish speaking country. In all Latin American countries, excepting Belize and Guyana, former British Colonies and parts of the Caribbean coasts, only a small percentage of your local neighbors will speak English.

2. Find a cultural mentor. Long term resident or trusted bilingual local. I befriended a couple of younger, less experienced expats during my first years living in Guatemala. Upon arrival to Central America many years ago, I was lucky enough to have a relative and was introduced into a small social network of both expats and locals..invaluable. These people were very gracious in helping me with many day-to-day tasks in the beginning, teaching me to be independent -- step by step and not to rely on locals to 'hold my hand'. A good mentor can and often will point out errors in judgement. Social contacts and personal relationships are very important throughout Latin America.

3. Choose your home and neighborhood carefully. Look for one that will accept you, and where you will feel comfortable. Cheap rent in a poor neighborhood may sound great, but in the long run, you may be robbed or worse. Keep a low profile and never divulge your personal or work information or give out your address to overly friendly strangers.

4. Go slow at first. Don't expect to work at the same pace as you did in the US/Canada/UK, etc.. Things are just simply harder to get done in Latin America. And slower. Always. Often people show up late, very late, for appointments. Never reprimand locals for this unless they are in your employ and have business commitment with you. 'Life in The Tropics' -- Don't take yourself too seriously and keep a sense of humor.

5. Try not to make general assumptions about Latin Americans. Just as you would not want those in the country where you are relocating to assume that every US or Canadian citizen is rich, white, and arrogant, you should not assume that all Latin Americans are alike. Listen to locals and ask questions.

6. Expect a testing period. Friends, contacts and co-workers need time before you are accepted into their trust. Once you are deemed trustworthy, the doors will fly open.

7. Expect life to be a bit annoying in the beginning. Cold showers are the norm in many areas. Air conditioning is most often a luxury. Water and electricity sometimes fail on a daily basis. In some areas Internet Connections are slower than at home.

8. Try not to complain. Accept that Central or South America is different than the US/Canada/UK.

9. Look for the good things in your adopted new country, such as the beautiful mountains, rustic rural national parks or beaches.

10. Be humble. One of my favorite phrases in Spanish, "I don't understand." "Yo no lo comprendo" A humble attitude goes a long way in getting along with co-workers and friends. Even if you feel you 'know', always get a second opinion from a native or long term expat resident friend. Try not to 'one up' or be arrogant with newly arrived expats. I know a woman in my country (from the US) who will break into and dominate any conversation in Spanish. Even though her Spanish is lacking, she tells new arrivals she is 100% 'fluent'. So, if you choose to live in a gated community or 'condos' with other expats from your country, be advised that gossiping and one upping (what a person who feels inferior does to make themselves feel superior) is a fairly common pastime in any and all expat communties, far better to 'go native' and live among locals, if at all possible for you.

I hope these tips help some of you who are contemplating relocation and / or retirement to Central or South America.

About the Author
Welcome to Cinquera in El Salvador -- Rural Eco and Cultural Tourism, Crafts, Volunteer Opportunities. Contact our organization via the site if interested.

Posted by dbloom 01:52 Archived in El Salvador Tagged travel south america to before things & central you 10 know go. advice Comments (0)

The Mayan World of Central America

Very friendly people, very near and no so foreign at all!

sunny 26 °C

The Mayan World of Central America
Very friendly, very near and not so 'foreign' at all!
Guatemala offers to the vistor the awesome Ruins of Tikal, a 'must see' for any 'Mayaphile', located in the steamy jungles of the Peten province located in the northern part of the country, not far from the border with Belize, a former British Colony and the only English speaking country in all of Central America, where the interesting ruins site of Caracol (Spanish for 'Snail') lies buried far into a forested area, reached by a bumpy two lane unpaved highway. Nearby in honduras, just a few 'klicks' (kilometers) across the border from Guatemala lie the 'Jewel of the Mayan World', The Ruins of Copán, perhaps the most accesible major site in Central america, as the Ruins and National Park lie only 2 kilometers, a brisk 20 minute walk outside the bustling town of Ruinas de Copán, Honduras. When I first visited Ruinas de Copán some 25 years ago, it was a sleepy little Honduran border village, with the only means of communication with the outside world being the Radio-Telephone at the local 'Hondutel' (Honduran National Telephone Co.) office, the National Park was just beginning to be developed and the two local bi lingual guides often waited days for a client or tour bus to show up. today over 20 professional guides, some often speaking several different languages, await eager clients at the entrance. Today, during the high and holiday seasons, often hundreds of visitors will enter the ruins, for a glimpse of a highly advanced culture that mysteriously disappeared some 1200 years ago, long even before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived to loot and plunder in the name of the name of the Spanish Royal Crown. The present descendants of the Maya, many still of pure blooded indengious stock, live on, especially in the Highlands of Guatemala and The Mexican State of Chiapas bordering Guatemala and once a part of that country..They are called "The Living Maya" and in total throughout Central America speak over 35 indingenous dialects, some, almost extinct, being revived through special educational programs, as in El Salvador, where the ancient Nahuat tounge, a few years ago spoken only in a few small indingenous enclaves in Western El Salvador, due to massacres and persecutions in the early 1930s, (also spoken as Nahuatl in Southern Mexico by the Aztecs, who, as mercenaries arrived in El Salvador with Spanish Conquerers and found their adversaries in the battlefield speaking their own language!)El Salvador offers the totally unique NON-Royal Mayan site of 'Joya de Ceren', a typical Mayan village buried by volcanic ash some 1400 years ago during a Volcanic eruption.. (such as Pompeii in Italy)..where one can view how the ordinary Mayan family constructed shelter, prepared food, kept house and conducted day to day commerce, nearby, only 5 kilometers distant, lie the Royal Mayan Temples of San Andres and further west, the interesting Maya-Pipil (Nahuat speaking) temples and monuments of Tazumal)all these countries from Mexico with Palenque, Tulum and Chictzen-Itza through Guatemala, which offers a grand variety of Mayan, post-Mayan and Colonial treasures to enjoy and enthral, into Belize and out to El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua where new sites have been discovered and still under excavation. Alas, Costa Rica is not part of our 'Mundo Maya' or Mayan World, however that country excels in offering eco tourism journeys and stunning national parks to all visitors. I have lived and labored in Central America for atotal of over 23 years and do not envy those of you who live in lands of broad highways and strip malls, although would love it if we had at least "Wal Mart" here! So in case you are wishing to trade your dull humdrum for a week, two, three or more in Central America here's some practical advice.

  • From the USA and Canada served by TACA, American, Continental, COPA, Delta or United airlines, depending your gateway city: Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Wahington, D.C. or Toronto. A few Flights direct from Europe via Caribbean stpovers to Guatemala and Costa Rica, most others via Miami. Flight time to most Central American cities from Miami less than 3 hours, from Los Angeles or New York around 6 hours. Very near!
  • US, Canadian and EU/Other Citizens require a Valid Passport to enter by Air, no Visas (US, Canada and EU Citizens) required except for Work, such a Teaching for salary, or extended 1 year stays such as Mission or Volunteer work. In such a case contact your target country's nearest consulate. All travelers given 90 Days tourist permit stamp on arrival good for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua together. Belize has separate immigration laws and $18.50 Tax to exit Belize by land.
  • Central America offers lodgings as well as guided tours for adventure and eco travelers to suit just about any budget. Hotels range from 2 Star Basic often $30 per night double occ. or less to 4-5 Star luxury hotels and resorts, ll inclusive, often from under $100 per night double occ. if reserved in advance for off or low season travel!
  • All major Rent A Car companies have offices at Airports or in Cities or insured vehicles with local driver and guide can be hired at reasonable rates, with no deductibles nor liability for you if not wishing to drive.
  • First Class and Luxury Bus Transport exists between all Central American countries and in Guatemala between Tikal, Belize points and Mexican Connections north, much of this region is far more developed than you may think, not so foreign!
  • Most towns of any size in Central America boast at least one "Internet Cafe" and most 3 Star Hotels and above offer Internet connections, no need to carry Laptops unless travelling for business or long term. Most Public Computers now have skype and internet messenger software uploaded with audio and sometimes video. Remember there are almost 5 Million Central Americans living and working in North America, Australia and Europe, th monthly remittances they send home represent over 25 per cent of GNP in some countries and many persons you meet enroute, especially El Salvador, will be friendly and eager to practice their English with you. Very friendly!

Which lead us to...

  • Security

Don't believe all you read in the Press and on the Internet written by casual travellers! Some folks who either by misfortune wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time or by sheer stupidity or lack of cultural or language skills don't use common sense at all in certain situations may wind up as victims of a crime..usually petty theft to armed robbery..never resist..rarely are people harmed in Latin America who do not resist robbers (The local Police are usually not 'kind' to those caught robbing or swindling travellers). Don't brag about your itinerary or tell strangers where you are staying or plan travelling especially if you are driving a rental vehicle! (To USA Citizens) Don't make a habit of putting down your own country or government in public, many poor people living here don't understand, some have family up north and would trade places with you in a New York second! I keep my opinions on religon and politics to myself or among close friends in private. The exception is Nicaragua, in Nicaragua everyone talks about politics, fights then shake hands and party all night!
If taking an excursion, such as Volcano Climbing, in remote areas, best to contract native guides, most National Parks in countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua often provide eco guide or Tourist police escorts, not optional. Guatemalan tour operators often provide private security for extra fee, not optional. Be aware, but never paranoid in Bus Terminals, City bus stops, crowded outdoor markets, especially the tourist markets of "Chichi" and Solola near Panajachel in Guatemala for pickpockets and purse snatchers, they are pros and they are fast! Never fall asleep on second or third class public transport where your luggages are in view. Guatemala and Costa Rica the worst countries for petty theft of this kind.
To enhance your journey you should:

  • Do your own homework and research well before arrival:

good research MIGHT be:
1) Learn about the country or countries/their culture/customs you target to visit.
2) Learn about the places you wish to visit/ the things you want to do
3) Check this plan with natives you may be in contact with, residnt ex pats, long term volunteers, travelers who stayed awhile, recommendations from good travel user groups and forums online.
4) Join on of the two 'hospitality sites' on line, non profit and free to join and be hosted by bi/multi-lingual locals or resident ex pats or long term volunteers who know their way around. Contact for details. Learn about alternative ways of travel off the beaten path, often tourist destinations and the crowds wear one out quickly. I also belong to traveller's portals and to user groups dedicated to assisting those driving to and through Central America in RVs and other types of vehicles, detailed How to books are available for purchase from their moderators.
5) Prioritize!
6) Learn the language, at least the basics. In Central America, especially Guatemala, exist hundreds of Spanish Schools offering one on one instruction on a weekly basis, home stay with local family and volunteer ops.
7) Be flexible..don't be disappointed if required to change plans, say due to bad weather, remember Central America has a long 6 month rainy season, and occasionally earthquakes, hurricanes, with flooding in some low lying areas.
8) Purchase at least two (2) up to date Guidebooks, one regional (FOOTPRINT Mexico and Central america Handbook I recommend for their detail)and one or two country specific such as Rough Guide or Moon's, budget travellers prefer often the Lonely Planet series. Also purchase detailed country and regional maps. If not in your local bookstores, Amazon.com is your best resource.
Know before you go!
If you require any more information, please feel free to contact the writer via this web portal and include at least your first name, country, city or town and indicate what specific information or assistance you require in regard to Central American travel. Please Belize to Panama except Costa Rica, there is already a glut of information on overcrowded Costa Rica. Also very little Indingenous culture remains there in CR, except on government supported Reserve areas.

I plan to write an "e Book" on something like "Central America made simple. etc." any of you with EXTENSIVE Central American experience, Travel, Volunteer, Ex Pat, Missionary, Teaching, etc. are urged to contact me as well. Only a small percent of travellers from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia have made their way here
All credits and share of profits will go to you or be donated to your or any non profit organization in Central America of your choice.
We like to assist volunteers. Faith based or secular.
Le Esperamos. We await you.

Posted by dbloom 16:35 Archived in Guatemala Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (1)

Volunteer and Travel in Nicaragua & Central America

Volunteer, Have Fun, Make Friends, Avoid the Tourist Traps, Learn Spanish and Have a Memorable Vacation while contributing to Worthy Causes...Make A Difference!

sunny 31 °C

View my Bloq and feel free to contact me at anytime by
E mail. I live and work in Central America over 20
years

Volunteer and have fun too in Nicaragua
Written by David Bloom

Our project may be receiving a donation of a working Coffee Farm from absentee owners in USA who canot care for it. Hopefully should have a volunteer center there up and running in several months, for more info. E mail or call the founder of CINDURMA view: http://www.cindurma.org/ContactUs.html New: on the homepage:

THIS SEPTEMBER 2006!!!

New for this year!

We are repairing one of the Local Parks in the Masaya, Nicaragua this September 18 through 25th. Come help paint, repair and hold a cook out in this wonderful Central America town. One week in Masaya visiting Volcan National Park, Laguna De Apoyo, Museums, Cathedrals and Area Pueblo's, Also that week is the San Jeronimo Festival one of the largest in Central America. Your trip has Pick up from Airport in Managua, Hotel in Masaya with Meals all included. This trip is limited to 8 to 10 people so, please contact us as soon as possible with you interest in joining our group this year.

San Jeronimo Page!

Cost $500.00 USD

sorry, Airfare not included

All profits go to charity, the only people who get paid are the local guides, drivers and hotel/meals/buses or taxis of course.


Dear Traveller/Volunteer: Presenting to you an overview of our
project in Nicaragua, the poorest country in all of
Central America..best to go on to our website and
download our videos, the most recent runs 40 minutes
and details our Christmas Project with the local
people in nearby villages..as well we are able to
connect you with other humanitarian aid projects in
Nicaragua and throughout Central America, all are
welcome, from a day to a month or more! Cindurma at
this time is unable to pay room, board and living
expenses for short term volunteers, however short term
housing at very low cost (home stay) is available for
those wishing to stay a month or more as well as
private Spanish tutor at less than $1USD per hour.
CINDURMA NICARAGUA http://www.cindurma.org

VOLUNTEER VACATIONS & HUMANITARIAN TRAVELS Travelling
to, studying Spanish in or planning to volunteer in
Nicaragua or Central America?

CINDURMA, A not for profit organization legally
registered in Nicaragua offers YOU, whether student,
traveler or volunteer, short or long term, corteous
and friendly on line and/or telephone assistance (you
may easily call our USA co ordinator in Georgia, the
phone no. is on the website) with all of your
logistics before your departure to Nicaragua, also
anywhere else in Central America you intend to visit
be it Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras.
Contact our bi-lingual Central American
representative, David, who lives and works in the
region year round.
E mail
centralamericatraveltips@yahoo.com

1. Go to our
Website http://www.cindurma.org/

2. On our main page
of our site please, if you wish, join our Yahoo
Usergroup by clicking on the Yahoo Icon on our main
page.
Some of you may not be planning to study
Spanish, travel or make a commitment to volunteer for
some time, so this gives you a chance to get to know
us somewhat more personally on line well before you
ever plan your departure to Nicaragua and Central
America, giving us more time to answer any and all of
your questions you may have about us, our mission, our
services and our marvelous Meso-American region.

3.
Please notify us at least three (3) weeks in advance
of departure in order that we can reserve your
lodging, transportation and native guides and be
prepared to meet you personally on arrival either at
Managua International Airport, or if coming from
Liberia International Airport located in neighboring
Guanacaste province of Costa Rica by land transfer
directly to your lodging place shall be arranged at
the Border on the Nicaraguan side, or at one of the
four first class International Bus Terminals if you
are arriving by land transportation from Panama and
San Jose, Costa Rica from the south, or Honduras, El
Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico from the north (Tica
Bus, TransNica, King Quality or Centroamericana Bus
from Costa Rica). Best carrier to visit Central
America is Tica Bus http://www.ticabus.com/
reservation must be made in person with passport. All
clients for volunteer vacation packages or those just
wishing to donate their money and/or time to the
project should contact us well in advance via our
website, Yahoo user group or e mail.

4. For a
Powerpoint Presentation of our excellent associate
lodging place in Nicaragua, The Hotel Madera's Inn,
located in the Arts & Crafts town of Masaya, view our
web site..the presentacion is chock full of colorful
photos, however the text is in Spanish, our group has
decided it is far better you try and translate the
text yourself in order to start practicing your
español! Alternate lodgings available as well.

5. Getting There & Away By Air Flights to and
from Managua are available from a number of Latin
American, European and North American airlines such as
TACA, COPA, American, Continental, Delta and United.
CINDURMA receives a donation from www.priceline.com
for each and every flight purchased, click on the
Priceline Icon on the main page of our website!
Nicaragua's major internal carrier is La Costeña,
while Atlantic Airlines is the second biggest with
fewer flights, more comfortable planes and slightly
more expensive fares. Both airlines recommended for
journeys to Bluefields, Corn Islands or Puerto Cabezas
on the remote Caribbean Coast. The international
departure tax is 25.00USD Cash only (unless included
in price of your ticket). By Land and Sea There are
three overland border crossings into Honduras, at Las
Manos, El Espino and Guasule, and one into Costa Rica,
at Sapoá(Peñas Blancas). There is also a river border
crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica at Los
Chiles, reachable by boat from San Carlos. Fishing and
cargo boats from Bluefields and Puerto Cabezas, both
on the Caribbean Coast, are always coming and going;
you may be able to hitch a ride to another Central
American port or island. E mail or message if requiring more
detailed travel information.

6. What to expect
in Nicaragua.. An unforgettable experience, memories
that will last a lifetime and warm, friendly, outgoing
people, you'll make friends for life and keep
returning..that we can guarantee if your heart is
open...

Humanitarian Aid and Volunteer Vacations with
CINDURMA

  • Here is some of what you will experience on

a volunteer vacation journey with us:
And it is not
just "us" we are talking about.......we are able to refer you to other worthy projects....
"There are several areas in
Humanitarian Aid one can work in, Orphanages, Clinics
and Communities. Ongoing projects are plenty in
Nicaragua and provide opportunity for service. Simply
providing a free meal in a poor area or painting one
of the schools in an area. At every level there are
opportunities already established. It is not necessary
to start or build new schools or churches in
Nicaragua. There are hundreds already built that could
use upkeep or support. In an afternoon, just over six
hundred fifty people in one small village near Masaya
were fed by financial contributions from Bogart
Georgia Church, Heritage Fellowship. This same funding
provided meals for another two days with people
arriving from nearby villages. Typical Native dishes
were prepared over open fire then served to a very
excited crowd outside. Streets were filled and roof
tops used for better positioning. .." (everything
unusual seems to turn into a fiesta (festival) in
Nicaragua..you may be the cause of one in the near
future!) "For the short-term commitment other
opportunities are building repair and providing
everyday financial needs. A School in Managua needed
painting, funding was provided for paint and labor.
The equipment was brought through customs at the
airport set up on site with fifty gallons of paint
shot to the building over two days." "Another trip
offered a simpler solution to a problem. A friend’s
family needed funding for his grave marker in Masaya.
Another family needed work done on their house to keep
weather out and a little boy without the use of his
legs was getting to large for his mother to carry. He
received the only Radio Flyer in the area making him
the most popular kid of the block. Simple short term
goals that are completed in under a week." Common
sense and economical solutions to solve problems, no
consultants, no offices nor employees to pay, every
cent you donate to CINDURMA goes directly into the
local community via the local community. If you wish
to donate equipment, tools, books and school supplies
from the USA and are willing to carry with to
Nicaragua please do contact us to arrange all
logistics, otherwise best to donate cash and your time
if you decide to travel here.

  • CINDURMA must charge

visitors for the tours& lodgings featured on our website since
our native Nicaraguan associates must provide you with
all these services.. meals, lodging, transfers, transportation, guide
and other vital services while on land. Any profits
above and beyond expenses go back into the community
and the project. punto.
However, don't fret, if you
are traveling on a limited budget and wishing to see
Nicaragua on your own, of course you will save money
and still have a lot of fun. And as stated above,
there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities to seek
out in the country if you are wishing to stay around a
while, some offering room and board if a person or
couple posseses special skills required by an ongoing
NGO or project. You are always welcome to join our
Yahoo User Group 'Nicaragua_Photos", view our
extensive photo gallery there and ask questions of
other members, some who reside in or travel to
Nicaragua and the rest of Central America frequently,
or share your travelling-volunteering experiences with
us when you return. To join the group on the web, go
to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nicaragua_Photos/join

8.
Some practical travel tips... If planning on
volunteering and vacationing with CINDURMA...please
give us the time to help you plan your journey. We
love to handle all the detail work and logistics in
advance for you, so that from arrival to departure, A
to Z, your adventure shall be completely hassle free!
We would like to ask you always make your airline
reservations and preparations with CINDURMA at least
several weeks in advance, especially during high
travel and vacation seasons such as July-August,
December through Christmas & New Year's and Easter
Holy Week (Semana Santa) holiday periods. Nicaragua
has 14 national holidays a year, each one usually
stretching into a four-day or local festivals even a
five-day weekend. During the Semana Santa (Easter Holy
Week), just about everything--except certain coastal
resorts and restaurants--closes for a week. Hotels and
guesthouses are usually full. Show up during one of
these holidays without plans and without reservations,
and you'll find the only lodgings available will be in
the almost deserted capital city of Managua or
expensive luxury digs in Granada or at the beach. Also
please note that weekends and local festivals for
Nicaraguans are sacred here. Nicaraguans are festive,
party people and can drink and dance away the night in
the rythm of cumbia,salsa and merengue Forget about
getting anything done from Friday evening until Monday
morning. For ATM machines "On The Run" service
stations, as well as Esso and Texaco, where you can
get fast food or fuel 24 hours a day, all around
Managua and outside Granada, Masaya, Leon, Matagalpa,
Rivas and Chinanadega on the main highways, as well.
If you use the ATM machines in either Masaya city or
Granada, located unguarded outside the bank buildings,
bring a friend or your driver or guide to watch your
back. Traveler's checks are rarely accepted. In rural
areas, credit and debit cards are useless. . bring
only as much cash as you'll require for small
purchases of meals and souvenirs while on tour. Leave
passport and valuables in hotel safe. Carry only
photocopy of your passport. Don't be discouraged by
these words of caution, just common sense, just like
anywhere else in the world. Nicaragua is beautiful,
and outside of Managua, the safest country to be in in
Central America (I have the stats e mail me!).
Everyone who lives or travels here loves it. But we've
learned to adjust our expectations. We'd love to help
you do the same. Please just do us one big favor! HAVE
FUN!
And please, por favor, don't keep comparing
Nicaragua to Costa Rica and vice versa!

Hasta Luego, Le Esperamos!

CINDURMA Nicaragua
www.cindurma.org

Moderator:
http://www.couchsurfing.com/group.html?gid=1575
Cindurma Nicaragua Group on Couchsurfing.com*

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/volunteernicaragua
Volunteer in Nicaragua Group on Care2.com

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/Help_to_Help
Help to Help, Work/Volunteer Worldwide Group on
Care2.com

  • If you require hospitality enroute, Central America, Mexico, South America and worldwide join us on http://www.couchsurfing.com/ non profit organization natives and residents helping travellers.

There are now literally thousands of people
volunteering in Central America while travelling, if
not interested in volunteering make a small donation on our website
and enjoy your travels!

Avoid companies in US, Canada and UK that charge a
"fee" to place you as a volunteer.

If you find full time employment abroad(such as teaching ESL, travel industry i.e. specialized eco guide) remember your
employer is responsible to sponsor you for a work
permit and you are responsible to obtain one..there
exist jobs 'off the books' for those with special
skills, teaching ESL or working in the travel
industry..but take care working illegally.

PS April to Mid-May is the hottest part of the year in
the tropics, it begins the rainy season mid
may...Semana Santa or Holy Week is April 9-16th this
year, don't arrive at any travel destination without
reservations during this period..all of Latin America
is on vacation that week.

Information required regarding El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras or Costa Rica? Message or E mail the Author.

Posted by dbloom 12:13 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Volunteer in Nicaragua & Central America

No Fees, Have Lots of Fun, Learn Spanish, Make Friends Too: A Memorable Experience For All - Young or Old!

sunny 31 °C

View my Bloq and feel free to contact me at anytime by
E mail. I live and work in Central America over 20
years

Volunteer and have fun too in Nicaragua
Written by David Bloom

Dear Traveller: Presenting to you an overview of our
project in Nicaragua, the poorest country in all of
Central America..best to go on to our website and
download our videos, the most recent runs 40 minutes
and details our Christmas Project with the local
people in nearby villages..as well we are able to
connect you with other humanitarian aid projects in
Nicaragua and throughout Central America, all are
welcome, from a day to a month or more! Cindurma at
this time is unable to pay room, board and living
expenses for short term volunteers, however short term
housing at very low cost (home stay) is available for
those wishing to stay a month or more as well as
private Spanish tutor at less than $1USD per hour.
CINDURMA NICARAGUA http://www.cindurma.org

VOLUNTEER VACATIONS & HUMANITARIAN TRAVELS Travelling
to, studying Spanish in or planning to volunteer in
Nicaragua or Central America?

CINDURMA, A not for profit organization legally
registered in Nicaragua offers YOU, whether student,
traveler or volunteer, short or long term, corteous
and friendly on line and/or telephone assistance (you
may easily call our USA co ordinator in Georgia, the
phone no. is on the website) with all of your
logistics before your departure to Nicaragua, also
anywhere else in Central America you intend to visit
be it Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras.
Contact our bi-lingual Central American
representative, David, who lives and works in the
region year round. E mail
centralamericatraveltips@yahoo.com
1. Go to our
Website http://www.cindurma.org/
2. On our main page
of our site please, if you wish, join our Yahoo
Usergroup by clicking on the Yahoo Icon on our main
page.
Some of you may not be planning to study
Spanish, travel or make a commitment to volunteer for
some time, so this gives you a chance to get to know
us somewhat more personally on line well before you
ever plan your departure to Nicaragua and Central
America, giving us more time to answer any and all of
your questions you may have about us, our mission, our
services and our marvelous Meso-American region. 3.
Please notify us at least three (3) weeks in advance
of departure in order that we can reserve your
lodging, transportation and native guides and be
prepared to meet you personally on arrival either at
Managua International Airport, or if coming from
Liberia International Airport located in neighboring
Guanacaste province of Costa Rica by land transfer
directly to your lodging place shall be arranged at
the Border on the Nicaraguan side, or at one of the
four first class International Bus Terminals if you
are arriving by land transportation from Panama and
San Jose, Costa Rica from the south, or Honduras, El
Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico from the north (Tica
Bus, TransNica, King Quality or Centroamericana Bus
from Costa Rica). Best carrier to visit Central
America is Tica Bus http://www.ticabus.com/
reservation must be made in person with passport. All
clients for volunteer vacation packages or those just
wishing to donate their money and/or time to the
project should contact us well in advance via our
website, Yahoo user group or e mail.
4. For a
Powerpoint Presentation of our excellent associate
lodging place in Nicaragua, The Hotel Madera's Inn,
located in the Arts & Crafts town of Masaya, view our
web site..the presentacion is chock full of colorful
photos, however the text is in Spanish, our group has
decided it is far better you try and translate the
text yourself in order to start practicing your
español! Alternate lodgings available as well.

5. Getting There & Away By Air Flights to and
from Managua are available from a number of Latin
American, European and North American airlines such as
TACA, COPA, American, Continental, Delta and United.
CINDURMA receives a donation from www.priceline.com
for each and every flight purchased, click on the
Priceline Icon on the main page of our website!
Nicaragua's major internal carrier is La Costeña,
while Atlantic Airlines is the second biggest with
fewer flights, more comfortable planes and slightly
more expensive fares. Both airlines recommended for
journeys to Bluefields, Corn Islands or Puerto Cabezas
on the remote Caribbean Coast. The international
departure tax is 25.00USD Cash only (unless included
in price of your ticket). By Land and Sea There are
three overland border crossings into Honduras, at Las
Manos, El Espino and Guasule, and one into Costa Rica,
at Sapoá(Peñas Blancas). There is also a river border
crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica at Los
Chiles, reachable by boat from San Carlos. Fishing and
cargo boats from Bluefields and Puerto Cabezas, both
on the Caribbean Coast, are always coming and going;
you may be able to hitch a ride to another Central
American port or island. E mail if requiring more
detailed travel information:
centralamericatraveltips@yahoo.com
6. What to expect
in Nicaragua.. An unforgettable experience, memories
that will last a lifetime and warm, friendly, outgoing
people, you'll make friends for life and keep
returning..that we can guarantee if your heart is
open...
Humanitarian Aid and Volunteer Vacations with
CINDURMA

  • Here is some of what you will experience on

a volunteer vacation journey with us:
And it is not
just "us" we are talking about.......we are able to refer you to other worthy projects....
"There are several areas in
Humanitarian Aid one can work in, Orphanages, Clinics
and Communities. Ongoing projects are plenty in
Nicaragua and provide opportunity for service. Simply
providing a free meal in a poor area or painting one
of the schools in an area. At every level there are
opportunities already established. It is not necessary
to start or build new schools or churches in
Nicaragua. There are hundreds already built that could
use upkeep or support. In an afternoon, just over six
hundred fifty people in one small village near Masaya
were fed by financial contributions from Bogart
Georgia Church, Heritage Fellowship. This same funding
provided meals for another two days with people
arriving from nearby villages. Typical Native dishes
were prepared over open fire then served to a very
excited crowd outside. Streets were filled and roof
tops used for better positioning. .." (everything
unusual seems to turn into a fiesta (festival) in
Nicaragua..you may be the cause of one in the near
future!) "For the short-term commitment other
opportunities are building repair and providing
everyday financial needs. A School in Managua needed
painting, funding was provided for paint and labor.
The equipment was brought through customs at the
airport set up on site with fifty gallons of paint
shot to the building over two days." "Another trip
offered a simpler solution to a problem. A friend’s
family needed funding for his grave marker in Masaya.
Another family needed work done on their house to keep
weather out and a little boy without the use of his
legs was getting to large for his mother to carry. He
received the only Radio Flyer in the area making him
the most popular kid of the block. Simple short term
goals that are completed in under a week." Common
sense and economical solutions to solve problems, no
consultants, no offices nor employees to pay, every
cent you donate to CINDURMA goes directly into the
local community via the local community. If you wish
to donate equipment, tools, books and school supplies
from the USA and are willing to carry with to
Nicaragua please do contact us to arrange all
logistics, otherwise best to donate cash and your time
if you decide to travel here.

  • CINDURMA must charge

visitors for the tours& lodgings featured on our website since
our native Nicaraguan associates must provide you with
all these services.. meals, lodging, transfers, transportation, guide
and other vital services while on land. Any profits
above and beyond expenses go back into the community
and the project. punto.
However, don't fret, if you
are traveling on a limited budget and wishing to see
Nicaragua on your own, of course you will save money
and still have a lot of fun. And as stated above,
there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities to seek
out in the country if you are wishing to stay around a
while, some offering room and board if a person or
couple posseses special skills required by an ongoing
NGO or project. You are always welcome to join our
Yahoo User Group 'Nicaragua_Photos", view our
extensive photo gallery there and ask questions of
other members, some who reside in or travel to
Nicaragua and the rest of Central America frequently,
or share your travelling-volunteering experiences with
us when you return. To join the group on the web, go
to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nicaragua_Photos/join
8.
Some practical travel tips... If planning on
volunteering and vacationing with CINDURMA...please
give us the time to help you plan your journey. We
love to handle all the detail work and logistics in
advance for you, so that from arrival to departure, A
to Z, your adventure shall be completely hassle free!
We would like to ask you always make your airline
reservations and preparations with CINDURMA at least
several weeks in advance, especially during high
travel and vacation seasons such as July-August,
December through Christmas & New Year's and Easter
Holy Week (Semana Santa) holiday periods. Nicaragua
has 14 national holidays a year, each one usually
stretching into a four-day or local festivals even a
five-day weekend. During the Semana Santa (Easter Holy
Week), just about everything--except certain coastal
resorts and restaurants--closes for a week. Hotels and
guesthouses are usually full. Show up during one of
these holidays without plans and without reservations,
and you'll find the only lodgings available will be in
the almost deserted capital city of Managua or
expensive luxury digs in Granada or at the beach. Also
please note that weekends and local festivals for
Nicaraguans are sacred here. Nicaraguans are festive,
party people and can drink and dance away the night in
the rythm of cumbia,salsa and merengue Forget about
getting anything done from Friday evening until Monday
morning. For ATM machines "On The Run" service
stations, as well as Esso and Texaco, where you can
get fast food or fuel 24 hours a day, all around
Managua and outside Granada, Masaya, Leon, Matagalpa,
Rivas and Chinanadega on the main highways, as well.
If you use the ATM machines in either Masaya city or
Granada, located unguarded outside the bank buildings,
bring a friend or your driver or guide to watch your
back. Traveler's checks are rarely accepted. In rural
areas, credit and debit cards are useless. . bring
only as much cash as you'll require for small
purchases of meals and souvenirs while on tour. Leave
passport and valuables in hotel safe. Carry only
photocopy of your passport. Don't be discouraged by
these words of caution, just common sense, just like
anywhere else in the world. Nicaragua is beautiful,
and outside of Managua, the safest country to be in in
Central America (I have the stats e mail me!).
Everyone who lives or travels here loves it. But we've
learned to adjust our expectations. We'd love to help
you do the same. Please just do us one big favor! HAVE
FUN! And please, por favor, don't keep comparing
Nicaragua to Costa Rica! Hasta Luego, Le Esperamos!

CINDURMA Nicaragua
www.cindurma.org

Moderator:
http://www.couchsurfing.com/group.html?gid=1575
Cindurma Nicaragua Group on Couchsurfing.com*

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/volunteernicaragua
Volunteer in Nicaragua Group on Care2.com

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/Help_to_Help
Help to Help, Work/Volunteer Worldwide Group on
Care2.com

  • If you require hospitality enroute, Central America, Mexico, South America and worldwide join us on http://www.couchsurfing.com/ non profit organization natives and residents helping travellers.

There are now literally thousands of people
volunteering in Central America while travelling, if
not interested in volunteering make a small donation on our website
and enjoy your travels!

Avoid companies in US, Canada and UK that charge a
"fee" to place you as a volunteer.

If you find full time employment abroad(such as teaching ESL, travel industry i.e. specialized eco guide) remember your
employer is responsible to sponsor you for a work
permit and you are responsible to obtain one..there
exist jobs 'off the books' for those with special
skills, teaching ESL or working in the travel
industry..but take care.

PS April to Mid-May is the hottest part of the year in
the tropics, it begins teh rainy season mid
may...Semana Santa or Holy Week is April 9-16th this
year, don't arrive at any travel destination without
reservations during this period..all of Latin America
is on vacation that week.

Posted by dbloom 11:57 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (1)

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