Here at Econic we are committed to give our volunteers the opportunity to immerse themselves in Nicaraguan life. This experience goes hand in hand with learning about agricultural techniques used to effectively sustain families and life. Coffee is a life-force and the main source of income in Nicaragua's specialty coffee region. Dipilto, where our coffee farm is located, has been home to the winner of the annual "Taza de Excelencia" for the past 10 years, a competition where judges from around the world evaluate Nicaragua's best coffee. We are welcoming visitors who would be interested in immersing themselves at the site that produces specialty coffee that can be tasted across the world.
We are very excited to announce we will be opening our own farm in the mountains north of Ocotal. The farm is located in las Vegas, amidst a chain of different coffee farms. Claudia Lovo, the owner of the farm, and long time director and manager of Eco-Nic, is excited to offer the unique opportunity to stay and learn about the coffee industry of Nueva Segovia. A region that is known for the quality of its cupped coffee, but the origins of its delicious coffee beans, are lightly traveled by outsiders.
How you can be involved
We want to invite volunteers to come for an experience and to leave with a working knowledge of large-scale coffee farms and agricultural practices used in Central America. We expect volunteers to be actively engaged in the learning process. Volunteers will be encouraged to ask questions. Your guide, the current volunteer coordinator, will be present on a day-to-day basis, and has a good understanding of the current practices and state of the farm. He will lead volunteers on tours of the farm, visiting different spots of the 39 manzana's, that display different aspects of the coffee growing process. Any working knowledge you have of coffee or general agricultural techniques will be welcomed.
Whether you are interested in traveling and understanding the culture of Nicaragua, or the agriculture and industry of it's coffee. The coffee farm is a great place to start. The coffee industry is extremely important for the economy of Nicaragua. Nicaraguans are directly involved in the planting, maintenance, and harvest of coffee. Five hundred thousand Nicaraguans will be directly affected through the supply chain as it spreads throughout Nicaragua, or is sent internationally. The number that will be affected by community enhancement provided through coffee profits is not included.
We will designate the hours from 7am-2pm as work hours with a break at 8:00 am for breakfast and another break scheduled roughly for 12:00 pm. Work will be assisting in standard farm maintenance, participating in tours, and being fully present and inquisitive regarding everything happening on the farm. It is never one thing occurring, the coffee farm is constantly evolving and requiring maintenance of numerous types. Work is seasonally based, and therefore work will change based on the time of year you stay with us.
As always, Econic projects put a large focus on interacting with the local community. We believe in a cultural immersion, we pride ourselves on being involved in the community, and in that way we are different than other ecotourism stays in Nicaragua. This means that you will interact with the community in ways and note that beliefs and they way of life here is different than the way you are used to living. If you recognize a challenge or difficulty maneuvering a different perspective of life, you are applying yourself correctly. Volunteers therefore will be expected to have a basic understanding of the Spanish language, and depending on length of stays we can arrange Spanish lessons. We welcome all perspectives on life, but we expect an openness to other perspectives to accompany the desire to learn.
Housing will be provided and volunteers and coordinators will sleep on the farm. Mosquitoes can be a problem and we recommend mosquito nets. Food will also be provided and volunteers will not be responsible for cooking for themselves. Volunteers have to bring a water filter or their own supply of water. This is an absolute necessity.
-Physically fit, the terrain is not easily navigable, and slipping is inevitable -Flexibility with work assignment -Openness to new experiences and living conditions
Expectations and Responsibilities
You will be responsible for a pillow, filter, your own water, sleeping bag (sleeping cots/beds are not provided), and medicine for stomach problems and any allergies. Boots and a rain jacket are highly recommended. Transportation to and from the farm will be your responsibility. The days are long and the terrain is highly demanding.
We have basic necessities available here in Ocotal (things such as Pepto-Bismol are not common here so specific items should be purchased prior to arrival). YOU will be responsible for providing yourself with the necessities that come along with the coffee farm experience. You will be living the life of a coffee worker, and this is something that will be very different than anything you have experienced previously. If you are not flexible, in good shape, and prepared to rough it, this is not the place. We do not change the system of the coffee farm to specifically accommodate volunteers outside of the daily information sessions and water/food accommodations.
ANY medical emergencies or issues will not be the responsibility of Project Eco-Nic. We will provide help with transportation and can address routine medical concerns but we will not provide financial assistance. We want to be very clear that our experience is unique, eye-opening, and extremely informative. In the same thread, it is not for everyone and we want to give you all the information clearly so you know if this is right for you. Minimum stay
3 weeks, longer preferred. We find that volunteers take at least a week to gain a very basic understanding of the intricacies of the coffee farm. Three weeks is the minimum amount of time that will aptly benefit volunteers and the farm.
$60/week. Includes 3 meals daily, instruction in coffee farming techniques running the spectrum of the farming process including combating fungi to maximizing production.
How to apply
To apply download the application form from our application page and send us an e-mail! Instructions at the top of the application.
Please apply three weeks before your planned arrival date