Frequently Asked Questions

What is an NGO?
An NGO is a nongovernmental organization: not-for-profit organizations that undertake humanitarian or development projects neglected by government. These organizations differ greatly in size, mission, affiliation and scope.

Map of Nicaragua Do I need a passport to travel to Nicaragua?
Yes. If you do not currently hold a valid U.S. passport, allow at least six weeks for processing.

Do I need a visa to volunteer in Nicaragua?
It depends. Those who will be in Nicaragua less than 90 days only need a passport. Long-term volunteers will likely need a visa. It is a good idea to check with your host organization in regard to visa requirements.

Do I need traveler's insurance?
Most NGOs require traveler's insurance. It is generally fairly inexpensive.

Do I need to be fluent in Spanish?
While work brigades do not need to know Spanish, it is always helpful. Most organizations prefer long-term volunteers to be proficient, if not fluent, in Spanish.

Photo of work What kind of work will I be doing?
This varies greatly from organization to organization. Some tasks include construction work, volunteering in health clinics, or teaching English, among other activities.

What are the living conditions like?
Volunteers should not expect conditions like those in the U.S. Air conditioning is rare, and while there is usually some kind of showering facility, there is seldom hot water. More rural areas generally have latrines (out houses) as opposed to in-house toilets. With the exception of very rural areas, there is generally electricity.

What should I bring?
Naturally, this depends on your length of stay. While there is often access to washboards (and occasionally washing machines), plan on having to line-dry your clothes. Thus, clothing that is quick-dry is more practical. In the sidebar to the right you will find a PDF with a list of items that might come in handy.