A note from the project manager:
As a WOO volunteer, you embody many a culture. You represent the international surfing world, community development activism, North American culture, and of course, yourself. Nicaraguan’s and Central American’s in general, pride themselves in their appearance.I try my best to be presentable and professional when working in the community. Nothing fancy, but always clean and respectable knowing that I change quickly into my boardshorts when its time for a surf.
It’s warm in Nicaragua. Warm and wet.
I recommend packing for comfort and functionality. Its important to bring everything you need, although, be careful not to over pack. Your homestay mom will most likely be washing your clothes every few days so your work-wear and beach garb will be sun kissed and ready to go.
My good friend and travel guru, Christina, says it best in her blog, solbeam.com, so here’s a word from a pro:
“Here’s some general advice: Stay away from cotton. It’s heavy, it wrinkles, it’s hard to wash and dry and it starts smelling bad, fast. Opt for nylon or polyester blends, which dry super fast, are easy to wash, don’t hold stains and don’t wrinkle. Dark and neutral colors are best. I know it’s hard…but ditch the denim also. That stuff is heavy and takes days to dry. If you have the cash, the special “back-packing” clothing can be worth the money. On my first trips, I just brought a bunch of old stuff I knew I could throw away (and did). On my latest year abroad, I dipped into the savings account and invested in the gear with extra zippers, extra air-pockets, special linings, super fast-dry fabrics and easy-clean materials. The people who make this stuff KNOW what they’re doing. Everything took up about an inch of space in my pack and I was never too cold or hot, always dry (yea Gor-Tex) and my gear cleaned up in two minutes in the sink. AND it survived the year in perfect condition and sits ready for my next adventure. I found that in Central & South America, there just isn’t as much shame in looking like a traveler. First time travelers ALWAYS pack twice as much as they need and end up shipping half of it home. Try your hardest to keep your selection simple and remember — you can almost ALWAYS buy what you need abroad (should you REALLY need it).
Remember, these are just suggestions. I am currently wearing jeans (albeit, 1st time in 4 months) and a cotton shirt. You don’t need to spend a fortune to be prepared. If all you have is cotton, you’ll be fine. Travel gear can be a great investment for future travel.
From May-November Nicaragua is WET. Pack yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes that can endure a days trek on non-paved, often muddy roads.
I have a pair of sandals I use to head to the beach and some tevas for rock dancing explorations.
You will most likely want to invest in a pair of rubber boots for mud traversing. Those are cheap and easy to pick up down here.
Mosquito Net: A must if you're sleeping in a home-stay
Money belt:Good to have for city travel
Daypack: Something small and simple to take along with you day to day. You’ll be using this a bunch.
Camera: Great way to document your adventure!
Flashlight: I use a headlamp. Works great for navigating the mud puddles after the sun goes down.
Alarmclock: If the roosters don’t wake you, you’ll need a back up.
Sunscreen and bug repellant: Sun’s intense here. Almost as intense as the bugsJ.
Basic first-aid kit: Always a good idea to be prepared.
Travel Bag: It is convenient to have a nice travel bathroom bag. You may be bathing at a nearby water well so one with a hook is ideal.
Travel journal: Document it!
Photocopies of passport and important documentation: Make copies and stash them away. I’ll be happy to hang on to a set.
Books: …are heavy, and you can find many around (I’ve got quite a few to lend out). Bring one or two good ones. Recommended Nicaraguan history reading: “Blood of Brothers”, Stephen Kinzer. “Country Under My Skin”, Gioconda Belli
Learn a bit of the history before departing!
Anything you forget, you can most likely find down here.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org