Vengan para quedarse algunas semanas con nosotros en el campo de Nicaragua
Come spend a few days, a few weeks, or more experiencing pioneer existence as a guest or volunteer in the wilds of beautiful Nicaragua.
Do I need to speak Spanish to visit the farm?
No. But if you don't speak Spanish, this is the perfect environment to learn. There is an English-language handbook at the farm for guests to use in getting aquainted, and everyone at the farm is accustomed to commincating nonverbally when it's the only option. Sometimes you may have an English-speaking host at the farm, and often there are English-speaking guests, but your hosts are usually Spanish-speaking only.
Do I need to contact you to make a reservation?
No. Guests may arrive without a reservation. Emailing us in advance is not necessary. In fact the people at the farm do not plan in advance for guest arrival and are generally taken by surprise, as guests seem to always be changing their plans.
Who will be my contact person at the farm?
Leonidas is your contact person at the farm. Anyone at the farm will be able to help you and will be more than happy to talk to you, of course, but you should always feel free to go directly to Leonidas.
What is the weather like at the farm?
The farm typically has high temperatures of 80-90F and lows of 60-80F. The rainy season begins at the end of May and lasts until the beginning of November. Rain usually falls only in the afternoon or night. The rainiest month is October. It's the only month where several consecutive days of rain can be experienced at the farm, but even October has its fair share of sunshine.
What will I do at the farm?
You'll be invited to participate in the family's agriculture work, in food preparation, in the family's charcoal-selling business, and to volunteer at the local school. You are not required to work, but most guests choose to participate. See the page "A Typical Day" for more information.
What is there to do near the farm?
In the immediate vecinity, you'll be able to visit our waterfall. (See "Nearby Attractions"). There are many friendly families near the farm who welcome visitors to get to know the neighborhood. Just one hour from the farm are the towns of Diriamba, Jinotepe, and San Marcos. Two hours away are Managua, Granada, San Juan del Sur, and other beaches.
Are there bugs at the farm?
The farm usually has a low bug population. Ironically, most cities & towns have more bugs than at the farm, because there are so many gutters and puddles and buckets in cities & towns for mosquitoes to breed. And because rainwater is quickly absorbed in the soil, there are also very few mosquitoes even in the rainy season. There are almost no mosquitoes at the farm, compared to other parts of Central America. There are, however, inevitably some flies and other bugs. Please be an example of cleanliness and clean up anything that attracts flies, such as food scraps.
Can I stay for one week without paying if I work hard?
We've made major infrastructural investments to be able to accomodate guests: the land, the guesthouse, and the well being the primary investments, other investments including tools, the website, beds, bedding, etc. This has cost a lot of money & time. In addition to the guesthouse, we provide food, and we provide our time to our guests, orienting them in farm work and showing them our neighborhood. We do appreciate any work you do with us at the farm or at the local school, but we don't require the work. Long-term working stays of over one month qualify for a reduced rate once the guest has learned the ropes (usually discussed on a case-by-case basis).
Where can I check my email or make a phone call?
There are internet cafes in both Diriamba and Jinotepe, just one bus ride away with public transportation (about 30-45 minutes each way). We are usually able to let you use a cellular phone at the farm to make a few calls within Nicaragua or to the USA, but we charge about 4 cordobas per minute for the use of the phone card.
Will it be a problem that I am vegan (...vegetarian...raw...)?
Abut one out of ever three guests at the farm is either vegan or vegetarian. Growing at the farm are many kinds of edible vegetables and fruits (many of which you may have never heard of or tasted). Yasmina knows all the green plants that are great for eating cooked & raw (katuk, malangay, oja de yucca, oja de batata, oja de frijol enramada, caliste) - she doesn't usually fix these foods for herself, but she can prepare them for guests. Most staple food growing at the farm is vegetarian: yuca, beans, corn, fruits. When you have something particular in mind you'd like to eat, or prefer to eat on a different schedule than what is offered, speak with Leonidas. He is very accomodating with the requests of guests. Yasmina (formerly in charge of guests) can sometimes have a fend-for-yourself attitude about guests at the farm, considering radical-self-sufficiency something she hopes guests will experience; Leonidas and Alicia are, however, currently in charge of guests, and are always happy to accomodate any reasonable requests.
Is medical care available in the event of an emergency?
Nicaragua has a good health-care system of very cheap &/or free medical care. Labororatory work & doctors visits are about $2-$3 each. Anything serious, requiring hospitalization, is free. One time I had an injury that put me in the hospital for a week because of an infection in a cut, and I was constantly calling my friend, an ER doc from the states from the hospital telling him what the doctors were proposing, and he said, "Yep, that's exactly what I'd be doing if you were here." 1 week in the states, with 2 Operating Room general anaesthaesias, cost me $0. In the states, what would that cost, $50,000? I have never met anyone who has gotten malaria in Nicaragua, or dengue, or yellow fever. Some people do sometimes get diarreah (myself included), which if it happens, the thing to do is get a stool sample tested at the laboratory, and the two things i've had over 3 years were either bacteria, or giardia. The doctors at the $2 clinic can tell you exactly what medicine to take for either case (I've always taken sulfametoxazoltrimetroprim for the bacteria, or metronidazol for the giardia, and it always works fine). Most people don't get diarreah, only about one out of 4. I am more susceptible because I eat whatever strange soft-drink-like concoction from whatever-vendor in whatever-city with whatever-ice; generally this is not recommended. At the farm, there is a ceramic filter, and the water coming out of that is 100% SAFE. Stick to that & you most likely won't get anything.
What should I bring (tent? clothes? shoes? computer? gifts?)
You won't need a tent. Don't bring it.
There are work-clothes at the farm; an abundance of men's size medium 33w 30L and a few pieces of other sizes. If this is not your size and you would like to have a perfect fit, consider bringing some old clothes of your own, or purchasing something cheaply at any of the used-clothing stores in Diriamba or Jinotepe.
As for footwear, the ideal is to bring or buy some flip-flops, one pair of walking/running shoes that can get dirty, and (if you want to be stylish in your trips to town) some kind of slightly-presentable shoes that you don't get dirty. If you wear size men 11-11.5, there will be many work shoes for you to choose from. If not, you can always buy some cheap used shoes in Diriamba or Jinotepe.
If you're picky about bedding, bring whatever you like; otherwise, there is also bedding at the farm, first come first serve.
If you have a laptop computer, you can bring it; there is often some surplus power available (especially at mid-day on sunny days). Please be conscientious of power consumption, as there are only two solar panels and two batteries to provide for everyone at the farm.
If you would like to bring some gifts, consider the following: seeds of tropical fruits (if you are coming directly from the USA, stop by an asian food store & buy some longan & bring it along - we want to plant longan but don't have the seeds); LED headlamps; English-language kid books; toys; children's clothes for 3-year-old; egg incubator (also, fertilized eggs from various kinds of chickens - believe it or not you can buy these through the mail just before your departure!!); school supplies for making art or writing - especially if you are considering volunteering in the school; digital camera.
Also please bring a healthy attitude, ready to work. We had one guest, Trinity Treat from Israel, who didn't like to work and complained that the farm was not Eden yet. Remember, this is a third world country!