Nicaragua is an undiscovered gem in the heart of Central America where few others travel. Get ready to be lifted off your feet by fast Latin rhythms as you walk through culturally colorful, bustling streets and savor the taste of sweet plantains! Pristine white sand beaches, deep crater lakes, epic volcanoes, butterfly filled mountains, tropical jungles, rich coffee lands, and some of the greatest biological diversity in the world.
The Nicaraguan people are strong, vibrant, and proud. They enthusiastically share their fascinating history and culture with travelers. Only a short flight from the United States, Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in all of Latin America. That is one of the reasons that Global Glimpse chooses to be the largest international travel program operating in Nicaragua. We pride ourselves on our strong network of national and local relationships that create an unmatched experience for our participants.
- 2013 June Dates: Global Glimpse Leon June 2-22, Global Glimpse Leon June 7-27
- 2013 June-July Dates: Global Glimpse Leon June 25-July 15, Global Glimpse Leon June 28-July 18
- 2013 July-August Dates: Global Glimpse Leon July 18-August 9, Global Glimpse Leon July 22-August 12
Leon is the belle of the ball among Nicaraguan cities. Its cobbled streets are lined with colorful, shingled homes, magnificent colonial churches, and bustling parks. Museums examine revolutionary and cultural history, poetry, legends, and art. From a historical and cultural perspective León is one of the most important cities in Nicaragua as it served as the country’s capital many times throughout history. Prior to the Spanish conquest, the indigenous Sutiava tribe was the most culturally influential in the region and parts of Leon still preserves a strong indigenous character.
Leon is a hot, tropical city pulsing with music and surrounded by lush green farmland, beautiful beaches, and majestic volcanoes that offer limitless opportunities to experience Nicaragua.
The people of Leon are deeply proud of their city and political activism is a strong part of the culture in Leon. The best universities and medical institutions in the country are located here and bring a youthful energy to the city as students cluster in its many parks to share platanos fritos (friend plantains) or raspados (flavored ice) after class. Many festivals are held throughout the year to celebrate the dance and music of the Pacific Coast and commemorate the Leon student movement against the Somoza dictatorship in 1956.
- 2013 June Dates: Global Glimpse Matagalpa June 3-23, Global Glimpse Matagalpa June 6-26
- 2013 June-July Dates: Global Glimpse Matagalpa June 26-July 16, Global Glimpse Matagalpa June 30-July 20
- 2013 July-August Dates: Global Glimpse Matagalpa July 20-August 10, Global Glimpse Matagalpa July 22-August 12
Nestled in a river valley in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, Matagalpa is a friendly and bustling city with the alluring scent of coffee and fresh guirillas (sweet corn tortillas). The streets are filled with jingling ice cream carts and children gather in the evening light to play soccer or race along the narrow streets.
The city itself is located at an elevation of 700 meters and the cool cloud forest climate differs significantly from the hot, tropical climate of the Pacific lowlands. There are few foreigners here, however it is not uncommon to see a mix of Indigenous and European decent in the Nicaraguan people due to the influx of Europeans who brought coffee to the region and settled in the 1800s. Matagalpa offers the opportunity to become truly immersed in Nicaraguan culture and to learn how the international coffee industry affects the lives of millions around the world.
The people of Matagalpa are friendly, open, and very proud to be Matagalpinos! The typical food is guirilla con cuajada (soft sweet corn tortilla with cheese) and the traditional music and dance is tied to coffee production and harvest. The feeling in this mountainous city is a bit more laid back due to the cool climate and more secluded nature of the city. Delicious coffee is everywhere and the coffee culture is transforming to adopt more organic production methods such as collection of rainwater for irrigation, creating compost for natural fertilization, and the absence of pesticides.
- 2013 June Dates: Global Glimpse Esteli June 4-24, Global Glimpse Esteli June 8-28
- 2013 June-July Dates: Global Glimpse Esteli June 26-July 16, Global Glimpse Esteli July 1-21
- 2013 July-August Dates: Global Glimpse Esteli July 21-August 11, Global Glimpse Esteli July 24-August 13
Estelí is set on a high plateau and surrounded by breathtaking green mountains and cascading waterfalls. It was the first city to be liberated from the Somoza dictatorship during the Sandinista revolution of 1979 and the political energy and culture still resonates today. Commerce is much stronger in Estelí than in other parts of Nicaragua because of its location on the Pan American Highway. Tobacco, Coffee, and Cacao production are the strongest exports in the region and there are multiple universities within the city that bring youthful energy to the streets. The city has a more modern feeling than other cities in Nicaragua and it is known as the “City of Murals” because of the strong mural culture that developed after the Sandinista Revolution in the 1980s.
Estelí is known for its laid back, cowboy culture. The streets are lined with leather shops and people wear incredible, hand crafted and embroidered leather boots, belts, and hats. The city is very tranquilo (calm) and residents spend their Sunday afternoons drinking coffee on the stoop or discussing politics. People from Estelí are proud and joyful and they use art as a medium of expression and remembrance. The largest chalk mural in world history was painted in Estelí in 2005 by more than 2,000 children and the mural culture created over the past 20 years by local youth and artists brings a great vibrancy and beauty to an already lovely city.
- June Dates: Global Glimpse Jinotega June 5-25
- June-July Dates: Global Glimpse Jinotega June 28-July 18
- July-August Dates: Global Glimpse Jinotega July 21-August 11
The city of Jinotega is located in the high mountains of Northern Nicaragua. It is a mysterious, charming city filled with small shops and surrounded by picturesque mountains, known locally as the City of Mists. The region surrounding Jinotega produces some of the highest quality coffee in the world. Jinotega is far from the beaten path and welcomes travelers as friends; it is a truly rustic part of Nicaragua and offers immense opportunity for the curious mind.
Jinotega is a city with strong cultural roots in folkloric dance, traditional folk music, black ceramics and legends. Like many Nicaraguan cities, it was first an indigenous settlement that began to transition with an influx of Spanish families and European coffee producers in 1800s. The pace of life is slower here and beauty lies around each corner, a hidden gem of Nicaragua that very few discover.
Day 1- Arrival to Managua, Bus ride to Leon
Students are met by GG staff at the airport in Managua. Lunch; first real Nicaraguan food at a typical “comedor”. Walking tour in the historical Plaza de la Revolucion where students learn about the Old Cathedral, Presidential house, Congress where the 79′ revolution occurred, Ruben Dario (the Nicaraguan Shakespeare) monument. Bus ride to Leon. Students arrive at our hostel, unpack, rest. Dinner. First nightly meeting to discuss the day’s events and prepare for our first full day!
Day 2- History
Morning seminar to set the tone for the day and unwrap the complexity of the country through debates lead by our in country staff. Walking tour around the city, learning the history of Nicaragua and the city you will be living for the next 20 days. Get to know each other with team builder activities. Spanish lessons to help students feel more comfortable engaging with locals in Spanish. Walking tour to the revolutionary museum to learn about the Sandinista Revolution. The students will get to see and touch homemade weapons used by the Sandinistas during the war. Nightly meeting to discuss the activities of the day. Self reflection for a deeper understanding of Nicaraguan culture and first impressions of the developing world.
Day 3- Culture
Morning seminar to delve deeper into the history and culture of Nicaragua. In the morning students visit the indigenous community of Sutiaba to hear captivating war and stories of the indigenous people. Students learn about the death of the last indigenous chief died at the hands of the Spanish and the role of the church that now stands in the center of the community. In the afternoon students have the opportunity to learn traditional dances in Leon as they visit an organization that promotes and preserves Nicaraguan traditions.
Day 4- Adventure/Business/English tutoring prep
Field trip to Los Alpes cattle ranch. The owner of the ranch shares her experiences running a business in Nicaragua. After lunch at the ranch, students have time to relax and try their hand at milking cows, horseback riding and playing games with the local community until the sun sets. Students wrap up the day by preparing their English tutoring materials for their students at the JDANJUL police project in Leon.
Day 5- Adventure/Business
Field trip to San Carlos farm where students meet with the owner who shares his passion for the environment and takes students through his amazing land. Students begin to understand sustainability and his efforts working with the community to preserve the environment. Students end the day with their first English Tutoring session in Leon!
Day 6- Adventure
Hike Cerro Negro Volcano outside Leon! English tutoring
Day 7- Adventure
Beach day in Poneloya! Students have lunch and relax at the beach. English Tutoring. In the evening we head to the Myths and Legends Museum, a haunted jail used during the Somoza dictatorship. Hundreds of men and woman were tortured and killed in this jail, the old saying goes that the spirits of the guards and the prisoners appear every night!
Day 8- Free day
Students have a chance to fully relax and walk around the city. Evening English Tutoring.
Day 9- Poverty
On this day students experience and share a full day in the life of a poor family in the El Tololar community. What is it like to survive with $1/day? With no running water or electricity and rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner students begin to contemplate poverty. The days events and building powerful relationships with the locals help us ponder questions of inequality and expose a wider concept of global poverty. This experience helps students clarify their thoughts on service and prepares them for the in country service project. Start collecting ideas for your own service. Evening English tutoring.
Day 10- Education
Morning seminar on education in Nicaragua. Students visit a public school to understand the education system in Nicaragua, infrastructure, and needs of public schools in Nicaragua. Students will have the opportunity to participate in school activities such as English classes, art classes, and sports. In the afternoon students begin collecting ideas for their own service project. English Tutoring.
Day 11- Free day
Evening English tutoring.
Day 12- Adventure
Field trip (boat tour) to beautiful Juan Venado Island where students learn about the ecosystem and environmental problems in the area. Bring packed lunch to eat at the semi-private beach. In the afternoon students relax and enjoy the beach, optional mangrove kayak. Evening English Tutoring.
Day 13- Business/Reality challenge
The students experience what it is like to be an entrepreneur in the developing world by walking a day in the shoes of a tortilla maker, selling juices at the local central market, or waking up at 5 in the morning to prepare tamales to sell in the streets or the market. Evening English Tutoring.
Day 14- Business
Field trip to Coca Cola factory to learn how a global business operates in a developing country. Free time in the afternoon.
Day 15- Poverty
Visit workers at the local dump and understand what they do for a living, the challenges of poverty. This experience will provide a glimpse of poverty in a developing country, but also allow students to understand how their lives are similar and different from the lives of those living in the dump. Group reflection on poverty comparison. In the afternoon we visit the Las Tias organization to learn about how this organization helps street kids and the challenges of running a non-profit in the developing world. After the English Tutoring, small groups candlelit reflection session.
Day 16- Culture
Visit the roof of the third largest Cathedral in Latin America, one of the oldest and highest buildings in Leon. In the afternoon talent show preparation.
Day 17- Community Service execution (I)
This program gives you the opportunity to build, develop and execute a community service project in partnership with a local organization or community. After visiting organizations, schools and meeting people, there’s a better understanding of the complexity, challenges and needs of the community. In groups, the students work to design and execute their service project.
Day 18- Community Service execution (II)
Day 19- Adventure
Beach day at Poneloya! Have lunch and relax at the beach.
Day 20- Free day
Enjoy your last day in Leon, purchase souvenirs for family and friends. Exchange cultural talent show.
Day 21- Departure, Bus ride to Managua