Volunteer Handbook

Volunteering in San Juan del Sur?

What you Will need (and what you won’t)

Finances:

DO NOT BRING TRAVELERS CHEQUES! In general, they are not accepted in Nicaragua. Bring cash in US dollars and/or a debit card/credit card and withdraw money from local banks. A money belt or fanny pack is a good idea.

Documents:

We recommend bringing at least one backup photocopy of your passport, birth certificate, plane tickets, prescriptions, etc. Keep them separate from the originals in case of lost or stolen items. Also leave photocopies of these documents at home with someone you trust.

Shoes:

  • Tennis shoes or hiking boots: If you like to hike, there are some wonderful opportunities, but be sure to bring something durable that breathes well.
  • A pair of sandals that will not slip off your feet easily

Clothing:

  • Women:
    • At least one skirt below the knee (it gets quite windy here at times, short skirts fly up!)
    • Shorts
    • A pair of lightweight pants; you will only really need one pair since s usually quite hot here. If you are planning on hiking/camping you might want a pair of suitable, rugged pants
    • Tank tops and T-shirts – for casual wear ONLY!
    • One or two long sleeve shirts to protect yourself from the sun
    • Plenty of underwear
    • Bathing suits!
    • One or two nice outfit for nice occasions (such as church, meetings, parties- Nicaraguans dress in their best for every social occasion.)
  • Men:
    • Shorts
    • A pair of lightweight pants; you will only really need one pair since s usually quite hot here. If you are planning on hiking/camping you might want a pair of suitable, rugged pants.
    • Tee-shirts
    • One or two long sleeve shirts to protect yourself from the sun
    • Plenty of underwear
    • Bathing suits!
    • One nice outfit for nice occasions (such as church, meetings, parties)

Cosmetics:

  • Sunscreen: again, the sun is strong. At least 30 SPF is good for everyday use.
  • Bug repellent: around dusk, the mosquitoes can get pretty busy, so try to find some 30% DEET bug repellant. Mosquito nets are not necessary if you are staying in San Juan del Sur the whole time.
  • Everything else: Most cosmetics are available in town and prices are comparable to (or cheaper than) those at home. The brand might not be the same, but they have pretty much everything here. However, if there is something you cannot do without, bring it.

Medications:

Bring all of your prescription medications from home. While you can get many of these drugs over the counter here, some do not exist; so do not plan on their availability. Malaria pills are not usually needed for the San Juan del Sur area, however it is always a good idea to check with your local travel clinic or personal physician for changes and vaccination requirements, especially during the rainy season.

Odds and Ends:

  • Wetsuit top: (for surfers). When coming between February and April the water is quite cold.
  • Sunglasses: polarized are preferable if you want to spend a lot of time on the water
  • Camera: there is no doubt about it, this place is gorgeous!
  • Hats are essential. The sun is strong here.
  • Electricity: same as USA (120 volts, 60 Hz AC), no adapters are needed.
  • Water: The drinking water here is relatively safe. There is no need to bring a water purifier as bottled water is readily available and affordable. If you are interested in camping, however, you may want to consider it.
  • Mosquito nets are not necessary in the town of San Juan but, again, if you are going to camp, it is a good idea to bring one.

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