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NicaVentura High School  
About Nicaragua  |  FAQs | Travel Assistant | Photos | Videos
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Kayak through rainforest islands
Canopy tour on Mombacho Volcano
Spanish immersion classes
Volunteer work
Visit volcanoes
Historical tour of Granada
Volcano island of Ometepe
Ecological reserve near Playa Roca
Program designed and run by educators

Length: 16 days
Price: $1,600/person
Dates: TBD
Included: Accommodations, 3 Meals/ Day, Transportation, Spanish Classes, Volunteer Activities, Entrance/Excursion Fees, Trips, Laundry Service
Not included: Round Trip Airfare, International Travel/Medical Insurance, Passport Fees, Airport Tax

THE PROGRAM | FAQs | Itinerary | Partners | Why Volunteer?

NicaVenturaHS offers an all-inclusive international learning experience providing eco-adventure and historical tours, an authentic Spanish language and cultural immersion program, volunteer opportunities and diversity training, created and run by certified public school teachers.

While schools attempt to prepare students for a "global economy" on a local campus, students who Travel To Learn get first hand language-rich experiences through meaningful activities which give them a sense of accomplishment and positive self-worth. While students are immersed in the Spanish language and Latin American culture, they will learn about history and geography, social and economic justice issues, environmental issues and experience the power of helping others through service. Created by experienced teachers, this program fosters a learning environment at all times.

If you would like to receive an application packet, please contact Travel to Learn.

A Travel to Learn experience is unique for many reasons.

  1. We are experienced K-12 teachers who understand the relevance of international travel and how it relates to becoming globally-minded.
  2. We have developed the Four Areas of Focus (see below) and incorporate them into all of our programs in order to maximize the educational experience.
  3. We have extensive educational travel experience with students, including programs in Arizona, Montana, Canada, Mexico and Nicaragua.
  4. We have led diversity trainings for large groups of students, teachers and counselors in an outdoor retreat setting.
  5. Our adult to student ratio is 1 to 5 or better and we take no more than 10 students per trip.
  6. Our full itinerary focuses on language immersion, cultural/historical tours, and making connections with local Nicaraguans.
  7. Our Program Leaders and Chaperones are fluent Spanish speakers.
  8. Students are under Program Leader and Chaperone supervision 24 hours a day.
  9. Students who Travel To Learn have fun, life-changing experiences and become motivated to continue their quest for knowledge as they go on to college.


Diversity Training/Character Development
Students participate in a 6-hour training prior to their travel abroad. This training covers social justice and prejudice issues to help participants deal with their own internalized biases. Listening strategies, team-building and other interpersonal skills will be developed, enhancing the travel experience.

It is important to offer activities that keep in mind the fragile environment while giving participants an opportunity to learn how to experience it naturally. It is for this reason that we participate only in eco-adventures and collaborate with official Nicarguan eco-tourist companies and give participants plenty of opportunities to learn about the incredible ecosystem.

Spanish Immersion
It is widely known that the best way to learn a language is to experience it. Formal Spanish class sizes range from one to four students per instructor. The Program Leaders and Chaperones are fully bilingual and support Spanish immersion/instruction throughout the entire trip. Tour Guides are Spanish speakers as well, allowing students to practice their Spanish in an immersion setting. Students are supported 24-hours a day with Spanish language and encouraged to use it whenever possible.

Volunteer Work
Volunteer work gives students something to be proud of as well as an opportunity to connect with locals on a more personal level. Universities understand the value of volunteer work and look for applicants who have given time in service of others. Additionally, volunteer work allows participants to develop relationships with locals and this can sometimes be on the most rewarding experiences of a trip. We work closely with Casa Xalteva to guide us to meaningful projects. Typically this involves working with children. Every trip is different and your Program Leader will share with you the opportunities available on your trip.

The Program | FAQ's | Itinerary | Partners


Who can participate?
Any high school student can participate as long as he/she is 15 years old by the first day of the trip. Travel To Learn will accept participants regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, income, or national origin and has no affiliation with any branch of government, political party, or interest group.

I'm a teacher. Can I take my students?
fdsfYes, you can take your students. Our proram is based on your enthusiasm and the ability to attract quality students. Contact Carlos for details.

I'm a teacher. How can I chaperone?
dIn order to become a Trip Chaperon you must be fluent in both English and Spanish. Chaperones receive stipends and can also get their trips payed for.

Why do volunteer work?
The quality of life in Nicaragua is considerably lower than in the United States. In fact, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Participating in volunteer work is an opportunity to help others less fortunate and it gives volunteers a feeling of pride. Volunteer work isn't a new concept but the idea is starting to reach more people. In fact, volunteer vacations are becoming more popular as evidenced by this news clip.

Do I have to speak Spanish to go on this trip?
Whether or not you have taken Spanish, you can participate in the program. However, having previously taken Spanish will increase your access to Nicaraguans and their culture. Remember, language is inseparable from culture so the more Spanish you know, the more you will get out of your experience.

Who is going to teach me Spanish?
Spanish Instructors: We collaborate with Casa Xalteva, a language school located in Granada. The average class size at Casa Xalteva is between 2-4 students and it is leveled. Before going to Nicaragua you will take a Spanish exam so that we can place you in the proper level. The instructors are all native Spanish speakers from Nicaragua so they will be able to share their knowledge with you. Another reason we chose to collaborate with Casa Xalteva is because they house children whose families can't take care of them. Travel To Learn tries to support local agencies and businesses, especially if they are working to help the underprivileged. Each trip is unique but there are usually opportunities to create relationships with some of the students living at Casa Xalteva.
Nicaraguans/Immersion: You must also decide to practice your Spanish outside of class. Most tours will be in Spanish and most artisans working in the market place don't speak English so you'll have to immerse yourself. Participants who practice their Spanish, regardless of fluency, learn more from the locals and get more from their travel experience.
Your Program Guides and Chaperones: Each Guide and Chaperone speaks Spanish and they will support you as you use your Spanish throughout the trip. Of course, they are also available to fall back on if you need to use English.

Where will I sleep?
In Granada, you will stay at a hostel or hotel in town. Accomodations are modest but hostels are chosen for their cleanliness, comfort, and safety. You may share a room with other students in your group and you may have a private double. It is not uncommon to have shared facitlities. Rooms have fans, sheets, towels, etc. Males and females will be in separate living quarters.

Why Nicaragua?
Nicaragua contains 7% of the world's bio diversity and the second largest rainforest in the Americas. Close to 20% of the country's territory is protected as national parks or biological reserves. The country is mostly famous for its landscapes, flora and fauna, culture, beaches and of course, its lakes and volcanoes. According to the Ministry of Tourism of Nicaragua, the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua is the preferred spot for tourists. It is also home to the second largest lake in Latin America. Other main tourist attractions near Granada are the city of Masaya, the volcano island of Ometepe and Mombacho Volcano. It is in this colonial town of Granada that participants will spend their first week receiving the majority of their Spanish classes.
Nicas (the local slang for Nicaraguans) are wonderful people. They are very welcoming, very proud of their culture and very willing to share cultural views with travelers.

Is Nicaragua safe?
Yes, Nicaragua is safe. Statistics show that it is safer than Washington DC or Costa Rica.
Click here for safety information

Investing in your child
International travel programs may seem expensive. I challenge you to find other educational programs that place such an emphasis on languge immersion, diversity training, volunteer work, and ecotourism. Then, I challenge you to find one with the prices we offer for a 15 day trip.
Think about the things that many people already spend money on and consider the value of these items compared to an experience that will change your child's life.

Cell Phone = $500/year
Shoes = $120
Laptop = $500-100
lasts two years
last 2 years
lasts 3 years

A Travel to Learn Experience = Priceless and lasts a Lifetime!




The Program | FAQ's | ITINERARY | Partners

Granada (Days 1-8)
This week will be spent in Granada, located next to Cocibolca Lake, the second largest lake in Latin America consisting of 300 small islands or isletas. Volunteer work will be scheduled for each trip idividually as opportunities constantly change. Group reflections are a time for studenst to process their experiences, share concerns, and talk about what they have learned. There will be time put aside so that students can get help on their Spanish homework as well.
Monday - Friday: 8am-Noon, Formal Spanish classes at Casa Xalteva

Ometepe Island (Day 8-11)
Ometepe Island is located on Lake Cocibolca just off the mainland port of San Jorge and it's home to two volcanoes, Concepción and Madera. We will stay in a hostel next to Charco Verde, a natural reserve, take a guided hike around the lagoon, learn about the organic farming and sustainable patricides taking place here. Charco Verde continues to be a leader in sustainable practices, giving us a first-hand opportunity to learn about how this is accomplished on an island.

San Juan del Sur, Pacific Coast (Days 11-13)
San Juan del Sur is a perfect place to complete your 14-day excursion. Right on the ocean, San Juan del Sur boasts some of the best surfing around.

Tentative Schedule
Mornings: Informal Spanish Instruction by Program Leader and Chaperone
Local Trips: Boat Ride of Tropical Coastline, Majagual Surf Beach, Swim, Boogie Board

Granada (Day 13-16)
The group returns to Granada to do our volunteer work and to spend the day on our own private island with a pool, kayaks, chef, and a private boat tour of the isletas (islands on Lago Cocibolca)


The Program | FAQs | Itinerary | PARTNERS

Travel To Learn collaborates with organizations that protect the natural environment through tourism or sustainable building and that keep in mind community resources by hiring local labor and by giving back to the it.

Natural Reserve
Volcán Mombacho

Ecological Reserve
Charco Verde
Canopy Tours

Casa Xalteva
Casa Xalteva Spanish Language School is a program of Fundación Casa Xalteva, a non-profit educational and charitable foundation chartered by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education. In addition to providing high-quality Spanish instruction, our purpose is to promote international and intercultural awareness and cooperation among all peoples. Our Spanish Language School in Granada Nicaragua welcomes students of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Working with Nicaraguans from a variety of backgrounds, we hope to share awareness of the Spanish language and the rich culture of Nicaragua with people from North America, Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. Through our volunteer social service programs we hope also to contribute something back to help improve the lives of our Nicaraguan hosts. The foundation also raises funds for a variety of programs to help alleviate the poverty in Nicaragua, including social services for children.
Casa Xalteva Spanish language school is an independent center with no formal political or religious affiliations. However, we operate with a set of values that forms our approach to teaching and learning. These values include a respect for all individuals and cultures; an environmentally-sound development and grassroots democracy; support for peace and social justice; and a strong belief in the spiritual dimension of human existence and harmony with the natural world.
Casa Xalteva takes its name from one of the groups of indigenous people who inhabited the shores of Lake Nicaragua before the Spanish conquest.