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The land of lakes and volcanoes has inspired poets for centuries. Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and home to the Nicas who are fiercely proud of their cultural traditions: literature, cuisine, dance, art, and music.

Since the end of the civil war in 1990, the country has become a major hot spot for expats from all over the world! Europeans are snapping up beach front property, and cafes and boutiques have sprung up all over the country.

Nicaragua is experiencing a period of stability and has managed to minimize outside influence and become a truly self-governing nation. It is well known for being one of the safest destinations in Central America. Nicaragua is poised for a rush of economic development and is an up and coming tourist destination.

Our programs are based in Granada, a beautiful colonial city popular with ex-patriots and backpackers alike. Granada is the oldest European city in the Americas.  ELI works with community organizations in and around Granada to create volunteer and Spanish language immersion programs for travelers looking to dive beneath the surface and gain insight into the daily lives of Nicaraguans.

 Granada is centrally located and a short distance from the world class surf beaches of San Juan del Sur, the famous artisan market in Masaya, and the volcanic isalnd of Ometepe. International Volunteers can arrange volunteering and internship placements with orphanages and after-school programs, a girl's home, with a Physical Therapy clinic, and with a conservation project on nearby Volcán Mombacho.

Volunteer and Internship Programs

  • Youth

    Youth Programs

    In-School and After-School Programs:

    In Nicaragua, primary education is free and compulsory. However, this has never been enforced and some 700,000 school-aged children never enrolled this past year. Although the government has introduced numerous social programs to provide children with free meals, supplies and transportation, enrollment only improved slightly over the years. We work with a variety of in-school and after-school programs in Granada, where volunteers can help with a wide-range of tasks including: Teaching English, Leading Dance/Art/Sports Activities, Helping to Care for the Young, and Meal/snack preparation. Volunteers for this program must be creative, flexible, and able to work with little resources.  Questions? Click here

    Participants should have at least high-beginner Spanish skills.


    Volunteers can help care for young children (ages 1-6). Volunteers spend most of their time just getting to know the children and giving them a lot of attention and love. Volunteers will engage the children in a variety of activities aimed at building self-esteem, learning, and just having fun. Questions? Click here

    Volunteers should have a high-beginner level of Spanish skills and commit to a minimum of 2 weeks.

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Women's Programs

    Women's Programs

    Girl's Home:

    Volunteers also have the opportunity to work with huérfanas, orphan girls, who have endured physical and psychological abuse. The organization strives to help huérfanas overcome their traumas from physical and emotional abuses by providing a safe and caring environment where the girls can develop their self-esteem. Volunteers will support local nuns, nurses and care providers in a variety of tasks aimed at healing and nurturing these extraordinary children.

    Participants with background on Psychology and Social Work can work together with the proffesional staff on site, providing self esteem workshops and helping with transitioning.

    Volunteers for this program must commit to at least 4 weeks, and have a strong intermediate level of Spanish language skills. These programs are only open to female volunteers. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Physical Therapy

    Physical Therapy

    Volunteers may work at a physical therapy clinic helping provide direct care to patients. The center works with people of all ages and who suffer from recent injuries or are born with disabilities. The physical therapy clinic also welcomes volunteers with knowledge of occupational therapy.

    Participants will work in the following areas.

    • Direct care to patients at the clinic
    • Help with physiotherapy sessions to children at a special education school
    • Help with physiotherapy sessions at local nursing homes
    • Discuss and share experience and knowledge with local doctors and staff and the Center for Physical Health
    • Research and develop a proposal for occupational therapy at the health center (only for those with an appropriate background in occupational therapy).

    This program is open to students on their last years or professionals of Physical Therapy. An Intermediate to advance level of Spanish is required. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Conservation


    On the slopes of Volcán Mombacho there are several farming cooperatives, made up by local farmers (campesinos). Here, on a small scale, farmers offer lodging, food, tours, and other services that enable visitors to experience the country life of these farmers. Tourists can stay on site or visit from nearby locations. The cooperatives offer guided tours to the plantations where corn, beans, coffee, and watermelons are grown, among other products. Many of the cooperatives also sell handicrafts made by the local women of the area. Volunteers are needed to help strengthen the cooperatives agricultural production as well as help create infrastructure for their eco-tourism programs. Volunteers will define the scope of their work based on what they can offer, but also on what the cooperatives need at the time. Volunteers are welcome to work at a cooperative with the goals of promoting fair trade in coffee and creating eco-tourism centers in order to benefit the local economy without massive environmental damage.

    Volunteers will assist with chores in the cooperative as well as help develop income generating activities to sustain the cooperative.Participants should have an intermediate level of Spanish language knowledge for this program. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Nicaragua - Programs

Cost & Details

  • Cost - Nicaragua
    Length of Program Youth
    Program Fee
    2 Weeks US $465 US $810
    3 Weeks US $550 US $895
    4 Weeks US $635 US $980
    5 Weeks US $720 US $1065
    6 Weeks US $805 US $1150
    7 Weeks US $890 US $1235
    8 Weeks US $975 US $1320
    9 Weeks US $1060 US $1405
    10 Weeks US $1145 US $1490
    11 Weeks US $1265 US $1575
    12 Weeks US $1350 US $1660

    Application Fee: $200
    The application fee is a separate administrative charge for all programs. It does not apply to the program fee. (Please see our application fee refund policy here)

    Credit card payments: Payment by credit card will be assessed a 3.5% surcharge. This is the fee that we will be charged for the transaction. Contact us about alternative forms of payment.

  • What's Included/What's Not

    Program fee includes:

    *Airport Pickup
    *Two Meals a Day (Except for Sunday)
    *Orientation Upon Arrival
    *Volunteer Work Placement
    *In-country coordinator available 24/7

    Program fee does not include:

    *Round-trip Airfare
    *Return trip to Airport
    *Required Travel and Medical Insurance

  • Accommodations


    Participants in this program may stay with a local host family or in a “guesthouse” with other participants. The guesthouse is actually a room with beds and a bathroom, located in the home of our in-country coordinator. Both accommodations include 2 meals a day except for Sunday. Participants may also opt to find their own housing at one of the many nearby hostels. Host families provide bedding, but volunteers should bring their own towel. All host families have running water.

  • Start Dates

    Start Dates

    The start dates for the Nicaragua programs are completely flexible. We ask participants to arrive on a Thursday or Friday in order to leave time for orientation. We ask participants not to arrive December 23-26 in order to allow our coordinator and his staff to spend the Christmas holiday with their families.

  • Spanish Classes

    Spanish Classes:

    ELI can arrange for Spanish classes while you are in Nicaragua. Classes take place on a weekly basis. Participants may choose to do either an immersion program or regular classes. The immersion program includes 35 hours of instruction at a cost of $345/week, and the regular program offers 20 hours of instruction at a cost of $175/week.

  • Notes & Useful Links

    Notes & Useful Links

    All prices are listed in US Dollars. The program fees reflect the costs ELI faces when setting up a program. We work hard to keep our costs as low as possible. ELI is a registered 501(c)3 non profit. US taxpayers may be able to deduct some or all of the program fees. If you are outside the US and wondering what these costs translate to in your currency, click here for an online conversion tool that will give you the approximate current exchange rate.

    Travel Insurance

    Travel insurance is not included in the program fee. We prefer to let participants decide what kind of coverage they need.

Nicaragua - Cost and Details
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