THANKSGIVING 2022 DATES
November 19 – 26
Miami, FL (MIA)
Join this Yuda Bands Humanitarian Adventure (Yuda Venture) as we explore the land of lakes and volcanoes. On this trip you’ll experience true Nicaraguan culture as we visit locals in their homes, eat traditional food, and travel across the beautiful countryside completing service projects and visiting popular (and off the beaten trail) tourist sites.
Below you’ll find snapshots of last year’s itinerary. Our upcoming trip will include all of these activities unless COVID-19 or other restrictions limit us. What we can guarantee is that this will be the trip of a lifetime!
SERVE IN AN ORPHANAGE
Engaging with locals is a main focus on this trip. Over the past several years we have provided many ways for Yuda Trip volunteers to interact with adults, youth, and children from the various countries we visit. A volunteer favorite is visiting orphanages and helping them clean, maintain the grounds, and of course playing with the children. While COVID-19 has made these interactions more difficult we are still able to find ways to connect with locals in and out of an orphanage setting.
MOMBACHO CANOPY TOUR
Situated in the Mombacho Volcano Reserve, Mombacho is an extinct volcano that sits at 4409 feet high. You’ll have incredible views as you move through the different landscapes and eco systems of the volcano, eventually arriving at the cloud forests. As you emerge at the top from cloud forest into dry forest, you have fantastic views (if the cloud allows) of lake Nicaragua, Apoyo Lagoon and the city of Granada. You’ll then make your way down the volcano one zip-line cable at a time. Covering a distance of two kilometers, with 17 platforms, 11 cables and three hanging bridges.
Before you leave you’ll select a family to support on the trip by providing them clothes. About a month before leaving for Nicaragua, you will be given clothing sizes to collect for your Nicaraguan family. You’ll deliver the clothes to your family and visit them in their humble home. In the homes is where you will see true Nicaraguan culture and fall in love with the people you serve.
Laguna de Apoyo is a clean, blue, and thermally vented 48-square kilometer body of water contained inside the crater of the Apoyo Volcano (think big warm clean lake!). It is a great place to rest, relax, swim, kayak and recharge after some hard traveling (or service), or to just spend a day lounging in the water and sun.
Volcano Boarding is an absolute must in Nicaragua. There is nothing quite like the feeling of racing down an active volcano at speeds of up to 40 miles/hour. Now don’t freak out, those videos you see online are a little misleading. You only reach insane speeds if you actively try to, you have the ability to control your speed at all times.
CNN has put volcano boarding on Cerro Negro on their list of 50 Crazy things you must do before you die, and not only this activity is on the list, but it is number two.
PROTECTING SEA TURTLES
The La Flor Wildlife Refuge in Nicaragua is made up of one of the most beautiful beaches on the south Pacific. The pure white sand is bordered by tropical forests on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. This beach is also where 30,000 Olive Ridley turtles come each year to make their nesting areas. You will visit the reserve and protect the baby sea turtles and help them make their way to the water.
Las Isletas are located in Lake Nicaragua, just southeast of the city of Granada. The isletas are a group of 365 small islands scattered in the lake which were formed when the Mombacho volcano blew much of its cone into the lake thousands of years ago, thereby creating the archipelago. Most of the isleta s are covered with vegetation and rich with bird life.
You will take a cruise around the islands and even visit the fort of San Pablo which was built on one of the isletas in order to protect the city of Granada from pirates in the 18th century.
MASAYA VOLCANO AT NIGHT
The Masaya volcano is very unique because while it is an active volcano, you can actually drive right to the crater. You’ll learn about the volcano from the museum at the entrance of the Masaya Volcano National Park and then you’ll make our way by vehicle up to the top of the volcano. From the top you’ll look down into the crater where you can see lava at the bottom. We will be taking the evening/night tour which will give you a chance to se the lava in the day, and also see the glow of the lava at night.
You’ll attend a welcoming cultural event shortly after arriving in Nicaragua. You’ll see traditional dances, hear traditional songs and other unique customs of Nicaragua. The local people will be very excited to show off their traditional entertainment and welcome you to their country.
Surfing in Nicaragua is a surfer’s Paradise. Here you’ll find the most high quality waves, and consistent surf conditions in all of Central America. Offshore winds groom perfect almond-shaped barrels from sunrise until sunset. The consistent perfect swells make it ideal for beginners to learn to surf, enjoy the beaches of San Juan del Sur and the islander vibe of the small tourist city.
BEACH CLEANUP PROJECT
Beach cleanup projects are like ripples in a pond. They aid in beach restoration. They prevent debris from flowing back into the ocean. They also protect marine life from getting killed due to debris. Marine life often suffers from the harmful effects of pollution. They suffocate from eating litter mistaken for food. They can die from getting trapped or caught in debris found in the ocean. Many species of animals, including the sea turtles we will see suffer because of pollution. Unattended litter makes its way deeper into the sea.
We are traveling and serving again and have completed multiple Yuda Bands trips during the pandemic. We have been diligent and thorough when determining which countries to visit and who is able to join us, based on the following criteria local government restrictions and in-country director insight and direction. We have also made adjustments to the expeditions to make sure we have as safe of an experience as possible, including:
We have also made several adjustments to the expeditions themselves to ensure as safe of an experience as possible, including:
- Reduced group size to 10-20 volunteers
- COVID-19 vaccination recommended for all international Yuda Ventures
- Enforced mask wearing and social distancing, especially when interacting with community members
- Strict adherence to international travel guidelines, which may include COVID-testing or other safety requirements