Teams fly into Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua. Team leaders are responsible for making their own flight arrangements.
- A valid passport is required (must be at least 6 months before passport expires). No Visa is required. If a team member is not a US citizen, additional identification may be required.
- The US Department of Health recommends the following vaccinations (check with your local doctor): Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus, and malaria prevention medication.
- The US State Department recommends that all US Citizens traveling abroad register with the State Department. This gives the US Embassy in Managua a record of all US citizens that are in Nicaragua. On the following link is “A Checklist for Travelers.” http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/tips/68426.htm. The last bullet is where you click on “register.” This will take you to a page that tells:
- What is Travel Registration?
- Why should I register?
- How can the embassy and consulate assist me while I am abroad?
From this link, there is a button “Register My Trip.” After you click this button, the form will appear that you need to complete. This form needs to be completed and submitted individually by each team member. It is not possible to register as a group.
- Each team member should check with their insurance carrier to make sure they are covered while in Nicaragua.
- It is recommended that the team leader purchase accidental/evacuation insurance for the team members.
- Nicaragua’s entrance fee of $10 is required as team members pass through customs in Managua. A $32 exit fee is also required, but is included in most airline tickets identified as a tax.
- The local currency is the cordoba, but US dollars (bills) are accepted. These bills must be in good condition without tears or marks. Exchange rates vary, but generally, 20 cordobas = 1 US dollar. Smaller bills are better, since you will receive change in cordobas.
Contact Information While in Nicaragua
A cell phone will be provided to each team which can be called from the US. The cell number will be provided to the team leader before departure to Nicaragua. There will be enough time placed on the cell phone to allow for the team leader to call a predetermined contact person in the US to notify of their team’s safe arrival. Incoming calls are free to the assigned cell phone, but are charged to the US caller. Teams can purchase time for the cell phone in León to make calls back to the US, although this is very expensive.
The team houses in León have wireless internet access for those who bring laptops. We recommend that every team bring at least one laptop. If you, as a team leader, do not want your team members bringing laptops, please communicate this to all team members before they leave the U.S. No computer on campus is available to team members.
The best way to communicate with family/friends during the week is with a laptop using Skype. Skype is a great way for teams to call the States. You can download this program free to your laptop at www.skype.com. You can talk free to other computers or purchase time to call phones using a credit card. The team can create a “team” Skype account or each team member can create their own. The minimum purchase with Skype is $10.00, but it is less than two cents per minute to call from Nicaragua to the US. You need a laptop and headphones with a microphone or a laptop with built in camera and microphone.
Recommendations for Good Health and Safety
- Wash hands often. Also, use anti-bacterial gel which kills most germs. Carrying an antiseptic mouthwash is also good. These practices will help prevent illness.
- Drink only bottled/purified water or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles. Brush teeth with bottled water. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes—off campus. It is safe to drink the fountain drinks with ice cubes at the restaurants that are chosen by the staff of El Ayudante.
- The food served to you at El Ayudante will be safe. The staff at El Ayudante will take you to restaurants that safely prepare the food and use purified water. Do not eat anything in Nicaragua unless it is prepared for you at the team house or at a restaurant chosen by El Ayudante’s staff. You can politely turn down food.
- Don’t handle animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats). Remember, these animals probably have not had rabies or other vaccinations.
- The current in the Pacific Ocean along the coast of Nicaragua is very strong and often very treacherous.
- Don’t forget to use sunglasses and sun block.
- If you use prescription medications, make sure you take plenty with you to last; it is also not a bad idea to carry a copy of your prescriptions.
- Never go anywhere by yourself. Always let someone know where you and another team member are going.