International Program Trip FAQs

Learn more about the International Program

How do I sign up to go on a trip?

If you'd like to travel to Nicaragua with GRID Alternatives, please contact us and we’ll get in touch with you. When you’re ready to sign up, please select the project you would like to work on and register for that trip.  You can sign up and pay the initial 25% deposit online.

If I am a Nicaraguan citizen living in Nicaragua, how can I apply to be a volunteer?

Please fill out this form and we will contact you when we have a volunteer opportunity.

What do volunteers do during the installation?

The solar company we work with in Nicaragua and our trip leaders give the volunteers direction about what to do and how to do it, and volunteers are welcome to jump in and get their hands dirty as much as they want. Volunteers typically work in small groups, installing the solar modules and the racking on the roof, mounting the battery rack and hooking up the batteries, hanging and wiring the inverter and charge controller on the wall, and installing and wiring all of the light sockets, outlets and switches inside the building. Beyond the installation, volunteers can also help train community members, move equipment, entertain the kids in the community, or perform other tasks related to the project . Volunteers usually work from morning until evening for 3 days, but there is no set schedule since each installation is unique.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

Volunteers are not required to speak any Spanish. Our guides are bilingual.

Is solar experience required?

Solar experience is not required to go on a trip. GRID’s solar technicians and a professional solar company in Nicaragua help ensure the solar installation goes smoothly so as a volunteer you are free to help out as much or as little as you want during the project.

What are the meals and accommodations like?

Meals: While volunteers are working in the community, their meals are provided by host families and usually consist of rice, beans, corn tortillas and coffee or a fruit drink made from purified water. Meals may also include local fruits, cheeses, vegetables, and sometimes beef, chicken or fish. Before and after the installation, meals will be more varied since volunteers will be eating at restaurants and can choose what they like from the menu. Some of the restaurants have Nicaraguan cuisine, and some have Asian, American, Italian, and other dishes to choose from. If you are a vegetarian, a vegan, or have other dietary restrictions, your trip leaders can help you ask for what you need.

Accommodations: While in Managua, volunteers stay at one of the nicest hotels in the city, complete with a pool, air conditioned rooms, a spa, and a restaurant and bar. While working in the community, volunteers often stay with host families, in very rural houses that consist of a few small rooms, little or no lighting at night, usually no running water (water is collected in buckets from a well or river), and only the most basic furniture. After the installation, the accommodations vary depending on the itinerary but are usually hotels with moderate accommodations.

How many people volunteer for a project?

Volunteer groups have up to 12 people.

How old do you have to be to volunteer?

People of all ages are welcome! Children and teenagers under 18 may  travel with their parents. Volunteers must be prepared to endure the heat and rural conditions, be able to walk long distances, and be in good health overall. We have had volunteers from 9 years old to 65+ years old travel with us.

Once I sign up for a trip, can I go ahead and buy my plane ticket?

Yes, once you sign up for a trip, feel free to buy your plane ticket. You can arrive to Managua (MGA airport) anytime on the first day of your trip (Saturday) and can depart anytime on the last day of your trip (Sunday). If you would like to arrive on a date before the project starts or leave on a date after the project is over, you will need to cover your accommodations, meals, and transportation during that time. We’re happy to recommend things to do during your extra days in the country.

When is the trip fee due?

Space on our International trips is limited, and trips are filled on a first come first served basis. In order to be guaranteed a spot on a trip, you must  register for it, and pay the 25% deposit. After you register, we’ll send you some forms to fill out and more information about the community, the solar project, and what to expect while you are in Nicaragua. Your forms and final trip payment will be due 45 days before your departure date.

Can you help me fundraise for my trip?

GRID Alternatives will provide you with everything you need to set up your own fundraising page through our crowdfunding platform. The donations processed through this page will go directly to GRID but are earmarked for your trip. Just follow this link and click Start Fundraising.

Is my trip deposit refundable if I cancel?

Please read our Payment Policies and Procedures here.

If I decide to go on a different trip than I originally reserved my spot for, can I roll over my deposit?

Because we depend on accurate volunteer headcounts for planning our projects and trips, the deposit you pay for one trip cannot be rolled over should you decide you prefer to attend a different trip.

I’m already going to be traveling in Nicaragua, can I just stop by and help out?

Our projects are made possible by the trip fees that volunteers pay. If you will be traveling in Nicaragua during one of our project dates, you are welcome to be a volunteer on our projects but we cannot waive or discount the $1,600 trip fee.

What should I bring with me on my trip to Nicaragua?

We’ll send you a recommended packing list once you have signed up for a trip, but feel free to ask us about anything you think you might need.

Contact us for more information about our trips!