Air travel to Nicaragua is the responsibility of each volunteer. Several major airlines fly into Managua from the U.S. and Canada, usually with convenient schedules and competitive prices. Find your passport now. Citizens from many countries, including Canada, are required to have a passport that does not expire until at least six months after you return home from your trip. The U.S. currently (as of Jan 2016) has a bi-lateral agreement with Nicaragua to waive this requirement. U.S. State Department Reference. However, if you have the time available to update your passport so that it expires later than six months after your trip, we strongly encourage you to do so at this time. That will eliminate potential issues resulting from any last minute change to the agreement, or confusion on the part of immigration or airline personnel. Outreach360 is not liable for any difficulties resulting from passport related issues.
Holders of passports from 93 countries, including the U.S. and Canada, do not need a visa. We often have student volunteers from China; they do need a visa and need to contact the Nicaraguan consulate to obtain it. We can provide a letter that is helpful with the processing; we would need to know the volunteer’s name on their passport and their passport number. For additional information, please visit this Wikipedia page. If there are any questions about the need for a visa, please contact the Nicaraguan consulate.
Please refer to the arrival/departure guidelines below before purchasing your flights and finalizing your travel plans. Our travel windows are setup to manage the safety of our volunteers. Because of potential bad weather and the associated difficulties in driving at night through the mountains, traveling between Managua and Jinotega in the daylight hours will be a safer and more comfortable experience for you than traveling at night.
Ground transportation will be made available for flights arriving on Saturday between the hours of 8am – 4pm. Volunteers arriving after 4:00 p.m. on Friday or Saturday should make a hotel reservation for that night, and we will pick you up at the airport for transportation to Jinotega the following day. We recommend the Best Western Las Mercedes (Hotels.com) as our first choice; it is immediately across the road from the airport (walking distance); they will also provide the option to take a van from the airport to the hotel. Other suggested options include the Camino Real and the Hotel Hex – both with free airport shuttles. Ground transportation to Jinotega will be provided early Sunday morning for Saturday evening arrivals. Note: We prefer a Friday night arrival over a Saturday night arrival. Friday night arrivals will be picked up at the airport prior to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Final pick-up arrangements will be confirmed with you approximately one week prior to the trip.
Ground transportation will be made available from our volunteer house to Managua on Saturday for flights departing between the hours of 11am – 8pm. For flights departing earlier than 11am, we ask that you make your own hotel reservations for Friday night. We recommend the Best Western Las Mercedes (Hotels.com) as our first choice; it is immediately across the road from the airport (walking distance); they will also provide the option to take a van from the hotel to the airport. Other suggested options include the Camino Real and the Hotel Hex – both with airport shuttles. Ground transportation from Jinotega to the Managua airport will be provided Friday night for early Saturday morning departures. Note: We prefer an early Sunday morning departure over an early Saturday morning departure if possible.
Maximizing the Experience
The Outreach360 program runs Saturday to Saturday for our Nicaragua program. We consider Saturdays to be travel days and we strongly recommend arriving and departing on the Saturdays of your trip. Doing so will allow us to provide you with the best possible volunteer experience and minimize housing and transportation costs.
If you can not arrive within the Outreach360 travel window on Saturday, we encourage you to arrive on Friday night rather than Saturday night. Orientation begins first thing on Sunday morning.
The Airport Hotel
The hotel that we recommend is: Best Western Mercedes, directly across the street from the Managua airport.
The hotel is very clean and comfortable. You will appreciate getting a good rest there if your flight arrives and departs outside of our travel window.
Breakfast is usually included in the cost of the hotel room; the cost of other meals are your responsibility.
All meals while traveling, including meals at the airport or hotel in Managua, both while arriving and departing, are the responsibility of the volunteer. All meals in Jinotega are included in your minimum program donation.
Starting the Program Thursday or Earlier/Monday or Later
The minimum program donation will be increased by $50/person/day, up to three additional days. For more than 3 additional days, the program donation for an additional week applies. There will be added ground transportation costs: A taxi will be $150 (one way); and for teams, a bus that holds 38 volunteers will be $300/bus (one way). This additional cost is applied even if the total stay is the normal 7 nights. Please contact us if you have a unique situation before booking flights and finalizing plans.
Teams and Team Leaders (receivers of the group scholarship)
A group scholarship is provided to teams of 10 or more. This savings is past onto our volunteers because there are economies of scale in transporting your entire team to and from the airport. If any members of your team choose not to arrive or depart with the group, they will be responsible for their own ground transportation costs: A taxi will be $150 (one way).
Note that we do not provide a continuous shuttle on Saturdays. We work to minimize the number of trips between Managua and Jinotega. You may be asked to spend additional time at the airport to help us consolidate trips.
Arranging Flights/Sending Outreach360 Flight Information
All ticketing arrangements and funding are made directly between you and the airlines. Funds can not come to Outreach360, and then back to you for ticket purchases. you will need to submit your flight information to Outreach360 30 days prior to the trip to ensure a timely pick-up and drop off at the Managua airport.
Your airline ticket is tax-deductible (for U.S. tax payers if the primary purpose of your trip is charitable work. Your ticket is your receipt; you will not receive a tax-receipt from outreach360 for your ticket.
Please do not purchase your ticket until you are confident you will have the minimum prorate donation in to our office on the funds due date. We will not refund your ticket purchase for trip cancellation.
Arriving at the Airport
When you land in Managua, exit the plane. Follow the crowd to the immigration desk. You’ll need to purchase a tourist card for $10 in U.S. funds. You will then pick up your luggage, go through customs (they might inspect your luggage), and then go outside. Do not wait for a big group to congregate before going through customs; just grab your luggage and head out. We will be waiting outside with transportation ready to go to the Outreach360 facilities. Note: Please bring only suitcases, not boxes. Customs will often let you through without inspecting your suitcases, boxes are always inspected. If your luggage does not arrive, please make sure to report it to the airlines inside the terminal, and get a claim slip from them.
When you exit the airport terminal, we’ll be waiting for you with Outreach360 tee-shirts on. Baggage handlers will be asking to help you with your luggage. They can be quite assertive. We suggest, unless you really need help, to refuse their assistance unless you are willing to pay a tip of $1-2 per bag. We’ll collect in a group until all the volunteers are there. Please bring a water bottle with you, both for the trip and for your use throughout your trip. Also, bring enough snacks to sustain you during your airline trip and bus trip to Jinotega. Please tell your family not to expect a call home until 24 hours after your arrival. You will be able to exchange money after you arrive to your volunteer site.
If you miss a flight and are not on the flight you are supposed to be on in getting to Managua, please communicate by calling our number in Arizona: (602) 375-2900. Please leave a message, let us know your status, and when you will be arriving into Managua (date/airport/flight #/arrival time). We will plan to provide transportation at the airport when you arrive. Remember, please call our number in Arizona and leave a message if your travel does not happen as planned.
If the airline loses your luggage, you will need to report it by the luggage area. The airline attendants will speak English. The address in Jinotega is:Outreach360 Del Hotel Primavera 1 Cuadra Norte 20 Varras al Oeste A La Mano Derecha – un Porton Negro con Mandarina
Outreach360 Recommended Travel Agency
To help with making travel arrangements, especially helpful for group travel, we recommend you contact Raptim Travel, a specialist in booking humanitarian travel. They can assist with things like making the reservation, and locking in group rates well in advance of an upcoming trip. You need to be familiar with the Outreach360 travel guidelines contained here in the Outreach360 Volunteer Guide, and communicate your specific request to Raptim Travel. They are working with many other clients, so please don’t expect them to know your travel requirements as well as you do. Travel arrangements made between you and Raptim Travel are independent of Outreach360; we are providing their name as a courtesy service only.