TRAVEL TO LEARN
Adventure, Leadership and Educational Travel

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Getting ready to travel is as easy as Uno, Dos, y Tres!

UNO
Passport/Visa
Plane Ticket
Medical Insurance

DOS
Weather
Packing
Communication

TRES
Safety/Security
Food and Water
Possessions/Cash
Medical Issues

HOW DO I GET A PASSPORT?
A passport, not a visa, is needed to travel to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Start looking into getting a passport immediately if you do not have one. It must be valid for months from the time of departure so check your expiration date. If you already have one, visit the State Department web site and familiarize yourself with regulations to ensure everything is in order.

To get a new passport Passport renewal Find a passport facility near you.


BUYING A PLANE TICKET
Purchase your ticket to arrive on the first day of the program and depart on the last day. You may be traveling with your Chaperone (teacher) so check with him/her. In the country of the program, the Program Director will meet you at the airport. DO NOT purchase tickets until you have been notified that the trip is official. Travel to Learn will not refund a ticket if purchased before you are notified.

TRAVEL/MEDICAL INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
Under 18: International Travel/Medical & Personal Insurance under parent/guardian
18 and over: International Travel/Medical

RECOMMENDED TRAVEL/MEDICAL INSURANCE (financial requirement of participant)
It is important to carry an International Medical Insurance Policy. However, Travel To Learn does not endorse any insurance carrier. We can only make recommendations based on past experiences but are not liable for insurance claims.
Travel To Learn requires proof of International Medical Insurance for international programs and trips.
ISIC (International Student Identification Card) cards are available for students, teachers or travelers under 26 years of age. The cost is around $30. This site shows the benefits.
Optional Insurance Policy
If you want more insurance or more information, you can compare policies.

UNO
Plane Ticket
Passport/Visa
International Insurance

DOS
Weather
Packing
Communication

TRES
Safety/Security
Food and Water
Possessions/Cash
Medical Issues

 

WEATHER
Nicaragua enjoys an average temperature of 80°F year round and the humidity averages 65%. There are two seasons, green and dry. The green season is from mid-May to mid-November, the dry season from late-November to early-May. Rain during the green season is normally limited to short and powerful bursts with longer showers at night. The hottest time of year is at the end of the dry season, from March to May, while the coolest period is from October to January.
Costa Rica shares similar weather patterns to Nicaragua in that our summer months are considered their winter and their rainy season can last from May to November. However, both countries have mountains, desert, and two oceans and the weather is unique in each region. In the Los Santos region in Costa Rica, where our program is located, there are microclimates and one should prepare by bringing clothes for cooler temperatures as well as hot days. More information will be provided upon booking a trip.

PACKING (a more detailed list will be provided upon registration depending on location)
Pack essential items (toiletries, bug repellent, beach towel, etc) Bath towels and bed sheets will be provided.

Clothing: Keep your dress casual and lightweight, keeping in mind that we are participating in outdoor activities. Lightweight, quick dry polyester blends are best. Although you are not going to be able to dress like Nicaraguans, you don’t want to call attention to yourself by wearing flashy or trendy clothing.
A rain jacket is a good idea for rainy summer months. Lightweight, quick-dry clothing is perfect for outdoor adventures and will dry quickly. Cotton will soak up the humidity and will take longer to dry. Quick dry pants are a great option or some type of lightweight cotton pants to wear in the evening. Shorts and t-shirts are perfect for daily tours or non-outdoor activities.
Shoes: Comfortable walking shoes are necessary. For some of the longer hikes, a cross training shoe will be useful. Heavy hiking boots are not required. Water sandals are perfect for days at the beach, kayaking or lakes.
Suitcase vs Backpack: Bring a day pack or day bag that is easy to carry for our daily trips. Since we aren't moving around much, feel free to bring a suitcase, duffle or large backpack for the rest of your stuff. The easier to carry the better off you'll be so keep that in mind.

COMMUNICATION
You may have access to WiFi either at home base, your hostel, or a cyber cafe. Most of the time when we travel there is no Internet access. Some carriers have international plans so check before leaving the US.

UNO
Plane Ticket
Passport/Visa
International Insurance

DOS
Weather
Packing
Communication

TRES
Safety/Security
Food and Water
Possessions/Cash
Medical Issues

 

SAFETY AND SECURITY
Travel to Learn's first priority is safety.
Your Program Leaders have traveled safely by following guidelines that simply translate into common sense. We share our experiences and make recommendations to ensure that everyone has a safe and exciting trip.
Travel To Learn participants are transported using private vehicles. We only contract licensed tour operators who make safety their top priority as well. We are familiar with medical facilities and always have cell phones in case of emergencies.
US Dept. of State's listing of Current Travel Warnings.

FOOD AND WATER
poastMost municipal water sources are filtered. However, as is common when traveling, we may not be accustomed to the bacteria in the local water and so drinking it may result in digestive issues. Typically this may last a couple of days and does not require any medication. It is best to always ask if water is filtered before ordering even a drink with ice. As Travel to Learn is a company dedicated to ethical use of natural resources, we cannot recommend buying water bottles, but this is an option. Some travelers bring their own water filters and fill up their own containers so as not to put more plastic bottles in landfills or oceans.
poastTravel To Learn
only visits restaurants that have a good reputation for being sanitary.

POSSESSIONS AND CASH
For students, we recommend leaving electronics at home. If you do bring a cell phone to use for communication, the policy is that it stays at the hostel and does not go with you on day trips. Besides being a distraction, they are an attraction to others. While traveling you want to take in the sights and sounds and be respectful by listening to people when they speak to you. It's simply an added distraction that separates you from the places and people you are visiting and defeats the purpose of traveling.
It's always difficult to decide how much money to take on a trip. As you make this decision, remember that Travel To Learn pays for different expenses on trips. Please check to see what is not covered for your trip. Most likely, you'll only need cash for gifts, snacks, and airport fees. Cash machines work well so a debit card is what we recommend traveling with, although you will be charged a fee for using them. You can change cash in banks or in the market in Granada. We strongly discourage students from bringing more than $250 in cash.
The exchange rate in Nicaragua is about 26 Cordobas for one US dollar. Exchange rates
The exchange rate in Costa Rica is about 18 colones for one US dollar.

MEDICAL ISSUES
All travelers are encouraged to consult with a physician to ensure that any unique healthcare needs can be met.
Travel To Learn can make recommendations based on past experiences but is not liable for anyone who does or does not take specific vaccinations. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes recommendations for citizens traveling abroad. Travelers should take these recommendations seriously and follow the guidelines set by the CDC. To research health issues specific to Nicaragua visit CDC's Health Information for Travelers to Countries in Mexico and Central America.