When is the best time to come?
You should just come whenever you want! Nicaragua’s weather has its ups and downs, every season has its pros and cons, and sometimes it is quite unpredictable. Generally, you can expect occasional thunderstorms and a few rainy days between May and August, more continuous rain during September and October and dry conditions from December through April. The hot and dry weather peaks in March and April!
Remember: The rainy season is the time when we’re busiest with our sea turtle project! If you want to maximize your chances of seeing wildlife and have a kilometer-long beach aaaallllllll for yourself, forget about the mosquitoes and come between July and November!
How do I get there?
From Chinandega, you can take the local bus to Venecia at 1:30 pm from the station called “el mercadito”. You will arrive at MEMANTA at around 4:30 pm.
Alternatively, you can take the bus to nearby Mechapa at 5:00 am and we come pick you up at around 7:30 am with our truck.
Still not happy? Then you can book a ride with us in our lovely Toyota truck from 1999. We have space for 3 people and charge 40$ for the ride from Chinandega, any day and any time you want.
How long should I stay?
You can stay as long as you want! Remember that your tourist visa will be valid for 90 days. After that, you can renew it for another 30 days in Managua (2-day-roundtrip). After 4 months altogether, you need to leave to Costa Rica and then re-enter (4-day-roundtrip).
Can I make my stay shorter / longer once I’ve arrived and paid?
You can always decide to stay longer and we are happy to accommodate you if we have space!
If you need to leave earlier due to serious reasons, we will be able to refund your money for the nights you can’t stay. However, we cannot do so if you simply change your mind once you’re here.
What about the food?
We spend a certain weekly budget per person on groceries. That includes rice and beans (Nicaragua’s all-time favourite!), all sorts of vegetables, leafy greens, pasta, eggs, fruit, milk, chicken, meat and everything else you need in order to cook delicious meals. If you’re vegetarian or have special dietary needs we DO of course consider this!
We ask our volunteers to cook their own breakfast & lunch. For lunch, we will schedule someone from the group to be on cooking chore. Of course we help you out and facilitate recipes in case you have no idea how and what to cook 🙂
Dinner will be provided by a local chef during weekdays. On weekends, we’ll prepare some special dishes together or go visit local restaurants.
The kitchen will be closed during the night.
Drinking water and juice are available 24/7!
What does a typical day look like?
As we are still evolving, there will be no such thing as a typical day! However, you can expect the following activities to take place:
- Morning Censuses to record nesting activity along the beach
- Night-time Patrols to find nests
- Egg relocations, Hatchery Care, Hatchling releases and Exhumations
- Training in Conservation techniques and Investigations
- Gardening and Composting
- DIY-Projects, Painting, Upcycling and Maintenance
- Workshops and Presentations
- Games and Fun Activities
- Mini-Adventure Trips in the close surroundings
- Surfing, Bodyboarding and Sunbathing
- Cycling, Kayaking, Sports and Feel-Good-Activities
- Community Involvement
- Beach Clean-ups and Environmental Restoration
Some of those activities are mandatory, while others are optional and only take part if you signed up for them beforehand!
Apart from the activities taking place @ MEMANTA, we encourage you to book tours and activities with local providers! Volunteers will have enough free time to do so.
You will also have one day off per week, but you can choose to take two days off every two weeks instead.
What do I need to bring?
- Waterproof headlamp with integrated red light plus rechargeable batteries
- Reusable water bottles / Thermos
- Biodegradable soap, shampoo and laundry detergent
- Protection against mosquitoes
- Protection against the sun (sunglasses, hat, long-sleeved shirts, waterproof sunblocker LSF 50…)
- Protection against the rain (ponchos, light rainproof clothing for tropical temperatures) – only from May through November!
- ziplock bags or weatherproof cases for valuables
- Flip Flops, hiking sandals, sneakers
- Beach and shower towels
- Comfortable beach and summer clothing + functional and protective outdoor clothing + clothing for chilly nights outside
- Camping gadgets for personalized needs
Please remember that travel health insurance is needed! We also recommend to book the “Plan Turistico” from Aero Rescate, as local hospitals don’t offer helicopter rescue.
Do you have WiFi?
We wish to promote a WiFi-free lifestyle so that you can fully enjoy the natural surroundings and your personal free time. However, we understand that you want to stay connected. So here’s the deal:
We’ll offer WiFi during specific times of the day. The connection is slow and unrealiable, but it might just be enough to get in touch with your friends and family 🙂
Otherwise, you can use WiFi in town on your day off or buy a local Movistar SIM Card for your unlocked phone and activate mobile internet.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
We do suggest to have conversational spanish skills or at least bring some learning material with you if you plan on staying for longer. You will definitely have some kind of interaction with the local community, so knowing spanish makes your stay easier and more fulfilling. Also, if you wish to travel to other remote places in Nicaragua, you will need to speak the language in order to get by.
How am I going to survive without electricity, running water and all those modern amenities?
First of all: Don’t panic. You will still have access to electricity and running water in our Rancho.
Second: Remember that mankind flourished without all of this for thousands of years, and that many people in Nicaragua lived like this up until recently (our village didn’t have electricity before 2016!).
You are of course invited to bring all sorts of outdoor / camping equipment with you to facilitate your stay at MEMANTA.
Why should I pay to help at the MEMANTA sea turtle hatchery?
Most privately-run volunteer programs need to charge money in order to offer their services and run their conservation projects successfully. I mean, Hey – we have taxes, loan debts, maintenance costs, materials and staff to pay! We are not an NGO and don’t receive donations, but instead function from the revenues we create. This kind of business model will hopefully serve as an incentive for others to do the same.
Also, we don’t expect you to work a fulltime job here. You will have plenty of free time and many opportunities to do touristy things. If you apply as a Project Assistant, we expect you to do a little bit more, but you will still feel that your stay at MEMANTA is similar to a vacation.
I am young and have no money. How will I be able to pay the fees?
It’s always best to ask for financial support from family, friends and people from your surroundings. The other option is to look for a seasonal job a few months before. If you have a skill that you can monetarize online, you can also look for a freelance job.
Why is it so expensive anyways?
Well, it actually isn’t. Just think about what you would spend on a typical day as a backpacker in Nicaragua: That’s 15 USD for a dorm room, another 15 USD for meals and drinks and at least 10 USD for activities. Voilà, that’s about the same you pay at MEMANTA for acommodation, food and entertainment. Also, don’t forget that your financial contribution enables us to buy sea turtle nests from local egg collectors.