Volunteer Cultural Exchange Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
- Insect repellent with at least 30% DEET
- A photocopy of your passport that should be kept separate from the original. It’s also a good idea to email a copy to yourself
- Debit or credit card. (The ATMs in San Juan del Sur dispense both American dollars and Nicaragua Cordobas. In Mexico the bank will dispense Mexican pesos)
- Flashlight, as the power goes out occasionally, usually for just a short period of time. (In Nicaragua)
- Bath and beach towels
- If you need to use a particular brand of cosmetics or toiletries, you should bring them from home as you may not find the same brand here
- Tennis shoes/sneakers and socks (if you like to hike)
- Travel-size toiletries if you will be going away for a weekend
- One outfit that can be worn to a special event or dinner
- Umbrella if you will be here during the rainy season (May – November in Nicaragua and August-October in Mexico)
Basically, plan for the heat, sun, beach, tropical downpours, dirt roads, kids, Spanish and fun!
- Travelers cheques
- Extra cosmetics or toiletries – many of the shops here carry a variety of products; however, they may be a different brand than you use at home
- Adapters for your electronics. The voltage is the same as the USA and Canada (120 volts, 60 Hz AC)
- Mosquito nets are not needed in San Juan del Sur or in Mexico
- You don’t need sheets if you are staying with a host family
The dry season is from December – April and the rainy season is from May – November.
- January – February: sunny, windy, and dry. Long-sleeves are worn at night
- March – April : dry and not too windy, but it is very, very HOT and sunny
- May – September: humid and rainy with occasional torrential downpours (it never perpetually pours)
- October: VERY rainy
- November – December: the sun is always out and it’s still warm from the rainy season, but it starts to get cooler at night
The dry season is from December – July and the rainy season is from August – November.
- January – April: sunny and warm. Long-sleeves can be worn at night sometimes
- May-October : dry and not too windy, but it is very, very HOT and sunny
- July – September: humid and rainy with occasional torrential downpours (it never perpetually pours)
There is a tentative school calendar for both Mexico and Nicaragua however, we occasionally need to shuffle dates around to accommodate our students’ public school schedule. Please inform us of your desired dates and we will let you know if there are any issues.
The school in Nicaragua is generally in session from July to November and then from February to June. The school in Mexico is in session from September to June
If your stay is during school breaks where there are no classes or volunteer placements; our participants may travel to other areas of Nicaragua or Mexico and if applicable, Spanish classes will be optional for those dates. There is much to see in Nicaragua and we are always available to assist long-term volunteers with their vacation planning.
In Nicaragua, Yes! APC Spanish School is located is the same building as BPP, and homestays are always within the community, making it very convenient for our volunteers.
In Mexico, the school is located between the office and the city centre.
Volunteers stay in their own private room with a private bathroom. Linens are included and sometimes a bath towel. Showers have cold, running water (which can be refreshing as the weather is so hot). A typical home has a kitchen, living room, bathroom and multiple bedrooms. There may be other tourists in the house, and we can accommodate dietary restrictions and requests for families without children.
We do not. We just require full payment at least two weeks prior to your arrival.
There is a health clinic in the centre of San Juan del Sur called Centro de Salud that can address minor medical problems.There are also plenty of pharmacies around town that sell medications and first aid products, most available without a prescription. For more serious issues there is a hospital in Rivas an hour away but we recommend Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas in Managua. It is frequented by foreigners and is a modern, state of the art facility that provides excellent medical care. A staff member will always be available to accompany our volunteers to any medical facility.
In Puerto Vallarta, there is access to both public and private hospitals and clinics and many who are english spoken.
In Nicaragua, we have about 80 students 8–17 years old and about 30 children 4–7 years old.
In Mexico, there are about 80 students 8-12 years old.
We certainly do! Below you will find a list of items that are always needed:
- Whiteboard markers and erasers
- Whiteboard cleaning spray
- Printer Ink
- A4 White paper for printing or art projects
- Wooden Puzzles for pre-school
- Water color paints
- Tempera paints
- Children's paintbrushes
- Colored pencils
- Laminating sheets
(For more location specific needs and larger donation items please see our Donate page or contact us directly)
Yes, we recommend you get the necessary vaccinations listed on the Center for Disease Control Website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/nicaragua. Additional up to date travel info and tips can be found on the US Embassy site: http://nicaragua.usembassy.gov/traveling_in_nicaragua.html. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions/concerns specific to the San Juan del Sur region, or your travel plans and experience.
If you are from the USA, Canada, or an EU country, you don’t need a tourist visa. In Nicaragua, upon arrival, and after paying a $10 USD visa fee, you will receive a stamp in your passport for a 90 day tourist visa. If you are volunteering for more than 90 days, you will need to make a border run to Costa Rica (40 minutes away) to receive a new tourist visa.