All guests will be sent a pre-departure information packet when a deposit is made. Below are some general guidelines to help your planning.
All guests should fly to Sandino International Airport (MGA) in Managua. The other option is to fly to Liberia, Costa Rica and then travel north from there. Please keep in mind that flying to Costa Rica will add 6 hours to your trip and that transportation is only provided from Sandino International Airport in Managua.
Passports and Visas
All visitors to Nicaragua must have a valid passport that does not expire while they will still be in country. Visitors pay a $10 fee for a 90 day tourist visa, there is no need to apply for this visa beforehand, it is granted automatically upon your arrival.
What to Bring
November through March temperatures range from 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit while April-October can see temperatures rise to 95 degrees. Accordingly, here are a few things to bring, and some stuff you can do without.
A sturdy water bottle (to avoid using plastic ones)
Small donations of items for schools, health centers, sports teams, etc.
Expectations (see below)
Guests are welcome to bring their laptops, cell phones, ipads, if they wish to use them at Craft for Community to connect with family and friends using our complimentary high speed wifi. Bringing valuables on a trip is always a risk as sudden rainstorms, forgetfulness, and sand can wreak havoc on valuable electronics. However, Craft for Community does have securable lockers where valuables can be safely stored.
There are no ATMs in El Transito and the nearest ATM to Craft for Community is 45 minutes away. Restaurants in El Transito will not accept credit cards or travelers checks. Students and guests must be prepared to spend the local currency (cordobas) if they want to eat lunches in El Transito or buy things in the village. All restaurants, shops, grocery stores, etc. will accept U.S. dollars.
By North American standards, El Transito is a very reasonable place for one’s budget. Lunches in the village will cost around $3USD for a plate of tacos or $5-6 for a whole snapper with fish and rice. Breakfasts (served all day) cost $2USD. Carrying excessive amounts of money in a foreign country is never a great idea, so please plan accordingly for the week you will be in town.
Guests should bring any and all medicine that they require for the duration of their stay in Nicaragua. El Transito has a small health clinic and the local stores sell various common medicines (antibiotics, ibuprofen, etc.) The nearest hospital is 45 minutes away in the capital of Managua. The hospital is world-class and well known throughout Latin America. Many of the doctors at the hospital trained in the United States or Europe, are multi-lingual, and specialize in working with foreigners. Craft for Community also has doctors on staff that will come to El Transito should the need arise. As well, we use skype as a tool to communicate to responsible parties or doctors abroad.
An Open Mind
While Nicaragua is a stunningly beautiful place with the friendliest locals you will ever meet, life is not always as carefree as it might appear for a lot of Nicaraguans. Nicaragua ranks only behind Haiti as the poorest country in all of the Western Hemisphere. The people find ways to remain happy with only the most basic of needs being met on a daily basis.
That said, travel is not always easy in Nicaragua. The roads can be pot-hole filled, while a herd of roaming cows on a highway can bring traffic to a complete standstill. While Craft for Community has its own generator, power will occasionally go out in the village, which means the air conditioning goes with it. Fans, lights, refrigerators will all run with our generator but we ask guests to remain flexible. Nicaragua is not a land of luxury, the small inconveniences you may experience will enhance your appreciation for the simplicity in the way Nicaraguans live their lives.