The most important decision you’ll make while teaching English abroad is where. Teaching English might appear to be the same across the world, but the country you choose will have a great impact on your work and personal life. What’s our personal favorite right now? Teaching English in Nicaragua.
If you have ever envisioned yourself teaching abroad in an easy-going, fun-loving country with tons of beaches and great food, Nicaragua should be at the top of your list.
But wait, is Nicaragua safe?
Yes! Nicaragua is incredibly safe right now, despite sharing a northern boarder with the often-troubled Honduras. A 2013 UN Report even found that Nicaragua was the second safest country in Latin America. (Chile was number 1!)
While you should still exercise a degree of caution, especially at night, the biggest complaint from most solo travelers is moderate cat-calling.
Why should I choose TEFL Nicaragua?
We are going to break it down for you, but know this: our Nicaragua TEFL Program is routinely rated amongst our highest programs for student satisfaction. And this is despite the fact that you won’t get rich teaching here. (The rates are a bit lower when compared to Korea and the Middle East.)
So why are more and more people choosing (and RAVING about) teaching English in Nicaragua?
Simply put, Nicaragua is an easy country to fall in love with. The people are welcoming, the food is great, and there are tons of fun outdoor activities.
Interested? Here’s why we love Nicaragua:
The people are fun and welcoming.
Sure, they might say that about a lot of places. But in Nicaragua it’s actually true. Nicos (as they’re called here) are very interested in getting to know foreigners and helping you out, even if you don’t speak Spanish.
If you are hanging around for awhile, like for your Nicaragua TEFL Program, you will probably be asked over to someone’s house for dinner. And you should! The best food in Latin America is often found in people’s homes.
The food is crazy good.
Speaking of the food, I have to tell you that it’s crazy good. It’s pretty similar to Costa Rican fare, so you will find lots of rice, beans, and chicken. And yes, Gallo Pinto is super popular here as well.
There is a bit of variety when it comes to the different regions in this small country. The Pacific coast-side of Nicaragua uses mostly fruits and corn in their meals while the Caribbean side takes advantage of ample seafood and coconuts.
Just like the rest of Latin America, there are plenty of sweet and fresh fruit juices to sip on during the day. Here’s the best part: they are extremely cheap as well as delicious, running about 80 cents a drink.
You can learn Spanish.
A majority of Latin America speaks Spanish, and Nicaragua is no different. If you have ever had the desire to learn, this is one of the best places to learn it.
Nicaraguans are incredibly patient and kind when helping foreigners to learn Spanish. English schools haven’t quite hit the mainstream yet, so you will have plenty of opportunities to use and develop your Spanish skills.
It’s easy and affordable to travel.
There is a great network of buses in Latin America, so it’s easy and cheap to hop on over to Honduras and Costa Rica for a few days.
If you are aiming for a longer trip, connections to more distant parts of Latin America like Guatemala or Panama are also possible.
And don’t forget to stay local! The local buses in Nicaragua are cheap and accessible, so it’s very easy to do weekend trips between teaching English to see more of the country. And trust us, you’ll want to.
Nicaragua is incredibly cheap.
In case you didn’t know: the cost of living in Nicaragua is incredibly cheap. Far cheaper than neighboring Costa Rica and most parts of South America.
Renting an apartment each month will set you back about $250, while homestays run about $150 per month. A bottle of local beer costs under $1. In the city of Leon (where our TEFL Nicaragua course is located) a cab ride to anywhere in the city costs only 80 cents. (You’ll have to share your ride with others, but for 80 cents, that’s just fine with me.)
Why is it so cheap? Most Nicos make under $500 USD dollars per month. Nicaragua doesn’t have a booming economy yet, so even TEFL salaries are a bit lower, averaging about the same as locals.
The truth is that while you are in Nicaragua, you aren’t going to need that much money anyways.
The beaches are beautiful and empty.
Tourism hasn’t quite kicked off here yet like it did in Costa Rica. So all the pristine, white-sand beaches are going to be relatively empty.
Surfing is pretty popular here, and lessons will set you back around $10 per hour. Or you can hang out on the sand in a hippie commune or a remote fishing village.
Also, you get a choice of water. Feeling like the Pacific today? Or maybe head for the Caribbean instead? What about a crater lake or one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world? Nicaragua happens to have extensive shoreline on both sides, and in the middle, so you get your pick.
You can go volcano boarding.
Maybe you’re tired of the surf and want something a little more…unique. How about surfing down the side of an active volcano?
Volcano boarding is a sport in Nicaragua, and something you absolutely have to try while you’re here. The most popular run is only 30 minutes from Leon on Cerro Negro in western Nicaragua.
And by active volcano, we don’t mean super active. The last eruption occurred in 1999, so you don’t have to worry about dodging pools of molten lava on your way down.
Have you been to Nicaragua? We would love to hear about your journey! Tweet us your favorite things to do and places to see in Nicaragua!
Words by Dara Denney. Images from Flickr Commons.
More about Nicaragua:
- Top 5 Reasons to TEFL in Nicaragua
- 4 Benefits of Living Abroad in Nicaragua
- 11 Best Places for TEFL Jobs in 2017