With No Barriers Youth
No Barriers Youth offers a variety of informative and educational experiences in Nicaragua, including an outstanding community immersion program focused on improving literacy rates.
- Support local community and educational outreach initiatives in and around Managua engaging students in meaningful local topics and global issues
- Practice your Spanish language skills on the historic and vibrant streets of Granada
- Travel to San Juan del Sur and volunteer at a local library working to empower children to develop a love of reading and a quest for lifelong learning. Students will be invited to village schools to read and tutor local students and interact with disadvantaged youth
- Explore the shores of the Pacific Ocean and watch sea turtles hatch and begin their long journey towards the surf
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, bordering Honduras in the north and Costa Rica in the south. Nicaragua’s geographic highlights include lush rainforests, active volcanoes, pristine beaches, freshwater lakes, turtle reserves, and more. The warm and welcoming people make Nicaragua an attractive international destination as well. While still one of the poorest countries in Central America, Nicaragua’s political instability is long gone and they are eager to show off their country and culture. From the exceptional biodiversity to the friendly people, Nicaragua is a phenomenal destination for educational travel.
Afternoon/Evening: Board flight to Managua. Upon your arrival meet your No Barriers Youth Expedition Leader and transfer to your hotel and get a good night’s sleep.
Morning: Enjoy breakfast and receive an orientation to Nicaragua and the days ahead.
Afternoon: After lunch, head to Catarina Mirador overlooking Laguna Apoyo, an ancient volcano that is now a crater lake. Enjoy the artisans and musicians that fill the square and shop for souvenirs. From Catarina, we will head to the nearby pueblo of San Juan de Oriente, famous for its pottery and whistles. Visit a family of potters at their communal studio to learn how their skills help to provide for their family while preserving this ancient cultural tradition. Watch a pottery demonstration and try your hand at the potters’ wheel.
Evening: We’ll return to Managua to have dinner at the Cocina de Doña Haydee, where you’ll enjoy traditional Nicaraguan dishes and music.
Morning: Visit to the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte, a community arts center and technical school aimed at holistic education including a focus on empowerment and self-esteem in a working class neighborhood. The Center mainly serves women and youth, providing them with skills that will help in the creation of small businesses and jobs. Stop by the house of music and art teacher Nineth Larios, who will talk about her experiences as a child growing up at the Cultural Center, and the importance for her children to receive artistic education.
Afternoon: We will have lunch at the Ananda restaurant that serves vegetarian food and freshly made fruit juices. Then, we’ll head to the Acahual Women’s Clinic. There, we’ll hear about their integral community work for women and children, and visit their community pre-school benefitting the children of La Chureca dump salvage workers. We’ll meet with Acahual Director Maria Elena Bonilla, and hear about the history of their programs.
Evening: We’ll enjoy dinner at the hotel and have a chance to debrief the day’s activities and relax by the pool.
Morning: Tour Los Quinchos, a residential program for former street children. Talk with Quinchos graduate and current youth coordinator, Alberto, about his experiences growing up in the program, along with the Director Zelinda Roccio. She will share about the challenges facing children in Nicaragua, the street-children boom of the early 90s, and how Quinchos supports children in healing from trauma through psychological attention, dance, art, and sports. You’ll also have a chance to visit the farm, home to 35 boys. They will give us a tour and we’ll have the opportunity to help plant fruit trees for their orchards that benefit the programs.
Afternoon: We’ll have lunch at the Quinchos’ restaurant with youth leaders, then visit the girls project, Las Yahoscas, home to 35 girls.
Evening: After our visit to Quinchos we’ll head to the nearby colonial town of Granada, where we’ll have dinner and spend the night.
Morning: After breakfast walk around the colonial city and visit some of the important churches and historical monuments in this fascinating city. We’ll climb to the top of the Catholic church bell tower in the capital square and take in the panoramic view.
Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll head south to San Juan del Sur. Settle into your hotel and then receive an orientation to the Mobile Library project from the founder of the library. Learn how this non-profit organization supports the community through teaching, tutoring, and establishing lending libraries throughout Central America.
Evening: Have dinner with the Library’s staff and discuss their program.
San Juan del Sur
Morning: After breakfast, go out with the mobile library to experience life and schooling in rural Nicaragua. Assist with the mobile library book-lending program and conduct enrichment activities in a rural school.
Afternoon: Return to San Juan del Sur for a late lunch and free time to explore this bustling town. Take a walk along the beach to sample some dragon fruit ice cream.
Optional activity: Zip-lining at a local nature reserve
Evening: Discussion and historical presentation about the gold rush fortune seekers who came through San Juan del Sur from New York to reach California via the Vanderbilt steamers.
San Juan del Sur
Morning: After breakfast, make your way back to Managua stopping at the incredible artisan market in Masaya to see the wide range of craft traditions which are vital to Nicaraguans’ livelihoods.
Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll visit La Nicaraguita. The school is in a poor working class barrio. We’ll meet with Director Rafaela Torres Ugarte and her teachers to hear about challenges youth experience in accessing quality education.
Evening: Tonight, along with your host families, enjoy dinner and a cultural performance of Nicaraguan Folkloric dance by the students and teachers of La Nicaraguita.
Morning/Afternoon: After breakfast, head to the University of Central America, where you’ll meet with Fernando Cardenal, a Jesuit priest and Minister of Education during the Sandinista Revolution, who organized the Literacy Campaign that sent 60,000 youth educators out to the countryside in the 80s to teach rural peasants how to read and in turn, learn about life in the rural zones. In the period of 6 months, illiteracy dropped from 58% to 8% as a result of this campaign. We’ll hear his experiences as a life-long educator and his perspective on education for personal and social transformation.
Evening: Enjoy a final celebratory dinner followed by a closing circle. The trip concludes with special guest, Philip Montalban, Nicaragua’s most famous reggae singer, who will share a bit about the history of Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast region, as well as his music.
Morning: Pack up and board your departing flight. Arrive home inspired to make a difference in your own community!
Getting immersed in the culture of India and getting to know and love the children was the greatest. When the students would cling to me at the end of class, and tell me how much they enjoyed having me there was heartbreaking.Rachel W., Student
There is so much life, happening all the time. It's crazy to think that, after only three weeks, I feel like I've become accustomed to so much of how the world move.Saul S., Student
I just wanted to take a moment to formally thank you for another unbelievable and life changing trip. No Barriers Youth made it all possible and took the guesswork out of a potentially nerve wracking and complicated task.Amanda W., Trip Leader
“Every journey starts with a single step.”
Facts & Figures
Avg Annual High Temp(F): Jan – 84° July – 85°
Special Note: Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838.
Spanish - official
Spanish 95.3%, Miskito, Mestizo of Caribbean coast
Below Poverty Line
Carbon Emissions (%)