Below you’ll find links to everything you’ll need to prepare for your trip and be sure to fill out the online waiver form before your arrival.
San Juan del Sur
San Juan del Sur is the most popular travel and vacation destination on Nicaragua’s pacific coast and offers a lively mix of local culture and natural beauty to fill your soul. Direct access to a wide variety of wellness activities along with beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife makes San Juan del Sur the ideal location for your Nicaragua retreat. And with numerous restaurants, cafés, music, and eco-adventures you’re sure to have a relaxing and enjoyable stay. Enjoy this lovely beach town and experience for yourself the natural beauty, friendly people, and local style that make it so unique.
Do I need a visa to enter Nicaragua or any other travel preparation?
For Americans, there are no special visas required. You will need a passport. There will be a US $10 entry fee when going through Customs in Nicaragua. American currency is accepted. There is also a US $42 departure tax. Many airlines include this tax in the price of the ticket. If the tax is not included in the ticket, payment can be made at the airline counter upon departure. There are no vaccinations required for your visit to Nicaragua in the areas that you will be traveling. If you travel to other locations before or after the training, you should consult with your doctor to determine if vaccinations are necessary.
Is there internet in San Juan Del Sur?
For those who wish to bring their wireless devices, Internet is available in most hotels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels, and also many private residences. However, be prepared for “very slow” networks, which are usually OK for sending e-mails, checking the news, etc, but not so good for “streaming” anything!
Will my cell phone work there?
Your cell phone will work just about everywhere in the country, although remote mountain and coastal areas may be “spotty”. Please check with your cell phone carrier to determine roaming fees ahead of time. There are very few public telephones, and if you can find one, their reliability is doubtful.
Will my phone chargers or electrical appliances work there?
Same as US. No need for conversion adapters.
What is the local currency and current exchange rate?
The currency in Nicaragua is called Cordobas (NIO). You can calculate the current exchange rate below by entering “1”. The number given will be how many Cordobas you get for $1 USD or $1 CAN.
American dollars are accepted virtually everywhere in the country and it’s not necessary for you to exchange money if you don’t wish to do so. If you pay for something in a restaurant or store, you may however, receive Cordobas in change. Also, please be advised that US$ 100 & $50 bills may not be accepted in many places in the country. When possible, denominations of $20 or less are best. ATM’s in the country offer both Cordobas and US dollars. Traveler’s Checks are rarely accepted in Nicaragua and not recommended.
Will I be safe in Nicaragua?
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and yet, is considered the safest country in Latin America. We are sensitive to the perceptions that many people have of Nicaragua and therefore, we highly recommend that you keep your valuables (passport, money, etc) in a safe at your hotel, or if that is not available, to be continually mindful of how you carry these items or store them where you are staying. We suggest you use any precautions you consider reasonable at home there in Nicaragua.
Should I tip in restaurants or taxis?
Tipping is becoming globally accepted and is welcome in Nicaragua, but 100% discretionary. Suggestions for drivers are $5 per person per airport transfer to or from the hotel and for Tour Guides, $5-$10 for a tour is the norm. Luggage handlers will be happy receiving $1 or $2 American dollars. In restaurants or cafés, 5-10% of your bill is adequate. With all of that being said, these are just guidelines.
What is the sales tax in Nicaragua?
The country’s Sales Tax is 15%. For US students, it is a good idea to keep track of all your receipts for purchases made in Nicaragua when returning through US Customs, as these tax charges quickly add up and you can deduct the taxes from the value of your purchases.
What should I bring to Nicaragua for the three weeks that I am there?
- Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen.
- Mats – There are mats available for you, but if you prefer your own, it’s a good idea to bring it along.
- Water Bottle – We encourage all visitors to use refillable containers when possible to reduce plastic waste. So, if you’ve got one at home, please bring it with you as it will see a lot of use especially during class!
- Clothing – Standard “tropical” vacation-wear is your best bet. Linens, cottons, loose, comfortable clothing. The temperatures will be in the high 80′s during the day and high 70′s at night. The breezes at night may make it feel a little cooler (especially combined with a day in the sun) and it’s always good to bring a long-sleeve shirt or wrap just in case (although you may not need it). In addition to flip flops and sandals, we recommend a pair of hiking or running shoes in the event that you want to venture out on an adventure tour. There are local laundry services we can help arrange for you if your hotel does not.
- Protein and snack bars
- Walking shoes, sneakers, or hiking boots to walk around the resort and its many stairs
- Bug Spray is always a good bet when traveling anywhere in Central America. If you forget yours, there are many shops where you can find some.
- Flashlight or Headlamp- This is a good idea when returning back to your hotel at night after dinner since many streets are dimly lit.
- A Camera or cell phone with a good camera!
What kind of food is available in town?
There is a growing number of cafés and restaurants in and around SJDS that cater to international tourists, offering a wide variety of food, locally grown or caught in nearby waters. Please ask us for recommendations, although our favorite is El Gato Negro, a nearby café that has fresh juices and yummy fresh food.
What is it like walking around the resort?
We recommend hiking boots, walking shoes or sneakers as there are many stairs with long climbs to town and the pool and dining area.
Is the tap water drinkable?
It is recommended that North American visitors drink purified bottled water.
Do I need to change money before or at the airport?
no. All businesses from Managua (the capital) to San Juan del Sur will take dollars and then give you change in the local currency, Cordobas. You can change money if you like. In San Juan del Sur there are several ATM machines and you can withdraw U.S. Dollars or Cordobas.
Please note that it is best to inform your bank of International travel as they may out a block on your credit card/ATM card otherwise.
Are credit/ATM cards accepted everywhere: no. In some places yes but not all, plan on having some cash on hand.
When arriving at the airport are there any fees?
yes, there is a $10 u.s .entry tax. Upon arrival, you will make your way to the customs officer lines. Have your passport, customs document filled out (given to you on the plane) and $10.
Is it easy to find the baggage claim area?
yes, right after you go through the customs line you will walk into a small space with one or two luggage carousels. If you brought a lot of luggage there are very willing baggage helpers who can help carry your suitcase(s) for you. Tip them a buck or 2. You may need to take your suitcase through an x-ray machine or have it inspected.
What is the weather like?
it is warm most the year here. The area really breaks down as green (rainy season), May-November and (dry) non-rainy season, November-May. We are in the non-rainy season.
What to wear?
anything goes. Think “kick back” beach wear. Leave your high heels at home ladies as the roads are not really conducive for it. Bring flips flops, sandals, hiking shoes or Teva type shoe for exploring (you will need a closed toe shoe for the zip line). Shorts, hats, sarongs, bathing suit(s), sunscreen, sunglasses, tank tops, light weight dresses, yoga clothes, etc. Earplugs may also be a nice extra to have on hand. We are in Nicaragua so a dog or rooster is not unheard of.
Should I bring a yoga mat?
if you like your mat, then bring it. You may find you miss it. We will have mats for your use otherwise.
Can I stay connected?
yes, there is WiFi at our resort and studios, as well as most restaurants, but allow yourself the freedom of disconnection when possible.
call you phone provider and consider getting a data plan and tell them you are going to Nicaragua and dates you will be there. Also download WhatsApp, which will enable free text messaging on your mobile phone.
Giving back, how can I help?
whatever feels good to you? if you want to bring some old clothes, toys, school supplies, or any other way unique to you, we can help you find where it needs to go.