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Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. Based upon recent studies performed by the United Nations Development Program in 2010, 47 percent of Nicaragua’s 5.7 million people survive on less than 2 dollars a day. According to the Nicaraguan Institute of Information for Development, more than 1 million women, out of the nearly 3 million in the country, suffer extreme poverty. And yet, among the displaced children, food-shortages and sub-standard living conditions; Nicaragua is uniquely transitioning into one of Central America’s primary vacation and development destinations. Similar to its borderly neighbors, the country hosts spectacular natural landscapes, world class surf and a variety of vacation amenities.
The staggering contrasts cannot be overlooked on any visit to San Juan del Sur, the country’s most popular beach town, which was also named one of the top 5 best “Beach and Sun Destinations” in all of Central and South America by TripAdvisors Travelers Choice Awards in 2010. According to the Nicaraguan Toursim Institue, 2010 marks the first time in history that Nicaragua experienced over 1 million foreign tourists. These statistics evidence an 8.4 percent increase in the number of visiting tourists in the same period just one year prior. The influx of tourism is impacting the local population on a variety of levels for both better and worse.
In light of the forces of progress and development that are inevitable, this website is focuses on volunteering in Nicaragua by highlighting non-profits and local business ventures within Nicaragua which serve to promote education, sustainable living and a socially responsible community. By connecting the local population with visitors, the hope is to encourage tourists to volunteer in Nicaragua and support sustainable models for local businesses, schools and child protection programs.