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Nicaragua

Next Photo Travel Tour of Nicaragua date is: November 2018, Dates TBD

Do you love to travel and also want to learn to take better photos? Maybe you’ve taken a photography class or two, but want something different, something more interactive, in a cool location. How about putting it all together in this customized photo tour of Nicaragua, led by a professional photographer of 25 years as your tour host and photography coach?

Photo Travel Tour Nicaragua

Nicaragua Photography Tour
  • Where: Nicaragua
  • When: November 2018, Dates TBD
  • Who: You and 9 other fabulous people. Spouses and non-photography types are welcome.
  • What: A photography tour that caters to working with the best light of the day, in the field practice in a fun, small group setting, hand-picked activities off the main tourist trail in communities where you can interact and work with the locals, and a flexible schedule that we get to decide on as we go.
  • Why: Learn to take better photos, immerse in some local culture, help some kids, and have a whole lot of fun doing it from sunny warm Nicaragua!

Price: $3600 USD

Testimonial Headshot - Christine, Nicaragua
“Spending time with the kids at the schools and at the dump
was a life-changing experience and something I’ll never forget.”
Christine Hollister

See what previous travelers had to say about this tour

Photo Opportunities

We have many exciting activities planned for great photo opportunities and experiences including: a guided walking tour of historic Granada, a boat tour on the lake, staying in an authentic fishing village, and seeing a local market. We will also tour the city of Leon and climb to the top of the cathedral, see and taste organic pineapples, and photograph the release of baby sea turtles.

young nicaraguan girl poses in her yellow dress

pineapple farm tour

photographing sea turtle release

Community

Throughout the week, you’ll be giving back by working local school children, going on a walk with photography club kids, and a helping a community of people who live next to a garbage dump (El Limonal). Part of your registration fee goes towards providing school supplies for the kids, lunch for the community, sponsorship of two children, and ongoing projects at El Limonal.

feeding the community at el limonal

handing out school supplies in nicaragua

photo walk with empowerment international kids

Beach activities

With nearly two full days of free time to explore on your own, you might choose to try some deep sea fishing, take a surf lesson, kayak in the estuary, rent a bike, do a yoga class (when available), go for a walk in the community, or just plain relax. Pick a hammock or a spot in the sand, grab a good book, and chill out. Darlene is also available for one-on-one help. Experience spectacular sunrises and sunsets on our own beach. Do night photography under the stars!

fire spinning on the beach nicaragua

surfer heads out at sunset

Less rushed

We fully explore each location, which allows you to discover all the hidden gems, and meet people on a deeper level. It will be a full week of activities, but you won’t feel rushed or pressured. If you want to opt out of an activity, to hang out at the hotel or wander, you will be able to do just that. This is not the kind of tour where you get on a bus every morning and spend all day getting to the next place. We give you plenty of options and down time as well.

hanging out in the hammocks on the beach

tour participants enjoying the pool at hotel

The Best Light

This photo tour is designed for doing photography during the best light of the day. As much as possible we try to travel, experience the culture, learn, and relax when the light is harsh (and the day is the hottest). Then, we photograph when the light is good. We may even have the chance to do some night photography on the beach, and some light painting or fire spinning (not guaranteed, weather and conditions permitting).

photographer capturing photos of fishermen as they come in at sunrise

Cathedral in Granada Nicaragua at sunset

The best locations

This is NOT the kind of tour that goes to your typical tourist locations. Where others might go in, we go around. Where others have their map, we have local guides, and go to places off the tourist map. This is a custom designed travel tour, by a photographer (I’ve visited this country multiple times and hand picked all the locations and activities just for you), for photography enthusiasts. You do NOT have to be a pro to join us.

young girl with fish walks along beach of the fishing village

woman poses next to a batch of fried plantains inside her house

I’ve tried to incorporate as many photography, and cultural related events and opportunities, as possible into the schedule. The itinerary is flexible, and we have the ability to adjust our schedule to meet our needs. For example, if we travel to one location and are supposed to be there for an hour, but we are really enjoying it and want to stay longer – we can do that.

I’ve also left quite a bit of free time so you can revisit a place you enjoyed, take in some beach activities, and just relax. Many of our guests have told us that they’ve gone home more rested from this tour than any other trip or vacation, as well as having some unique stories and photos to share with friends and family back home.

Testimonial Headshot - Jana, Nicaragua
“My skills and confidence improved significantly;
I believe that the combination of having your presence and attention, having a group of like minded people around, and shooting everyday was a perfect formula for learning and success!”
Jana Allingham

This is a tentative schedule, may not be exactly as shown here:

granada cathedral

Granada, Nicaragua

Traditionial Nicaraguan Dancers

Traditional Dancers

isleta granada nicaragua boat tour

Isletas de Granada – Boat Tour

Nicaraguan Street Scene - Ladies on Stoop

Granada Street Scene

hand rolling a cigar in granada nicaragua

Nicaragua Cigar Rolling

man and fishing net

Man and Fishing Net

night photography fire spinning nicaragua by christine

Night Photography Fire Spinning

montys beach lodge sunset

Sunset at Monty’s Beach Lodge

market kid by mike

Market Kid

painting a school in jiquilillo

Painting at the School
Day 1 – Arrive in Granada
Arrive at Managua International airport, in Nicaragua. Drive to Granada (airport pickup and transfer to Granada is all arranged for you, so it’s hassle free) where you’ll check in to your hotel and be greeted. Enjoy an evening beverage on the outdoor patio, or turn in early.
Day 2 – Granada
Enjoy a morning orientation group meeting, followed by a photo lesson and a short orientation walk of Granada. Enjoy lunch in this historic city, and in the afternoon we will take a sunset boat cruise on the lake to see Las Isletas (365 little islands). Dinner is at a hand-picked local establishment, then you’ll have the night to explore the Granada nightlife, or socialize with new friends. All meals and activities included.
Day 3 – Granada
After a hearty breakfast you’ll be treated to a guided historic walk of Granada (including a chocolate shop, cigar maker, hammock factory that employs disabled workers, the best coffee in town, and then lunch. In the afternoon we will have a short two hour Spanish lesson so you can learn some key phrases like, “May I take your photo?”. After dinner at another amazing restaurant, we will have a private showing of the documentary Gringos in the Garbage (filmed in the community you will visit in a few days).
Day 4 – Granada
Today you’ll spend the afternoon helping with the first ever class photos for a local school. This is one of the special things you will get on this tour – interact with the locals in a meaningful way, something that helps them and an experience you won’t soon forget. The morning is yours to enjoy, either lounging in a hammock, or choose from a selection of local tours available (not included). It’s coffee picking season, so consider touring Cafe Las Flores, an organic coffee plantation halfway up Mombacho Volcano, a short drive south of Granada. Continue on up the volcano and do a hiking tour (with guide) of the national preserve that offers stunning views of the area, as well as a welcomed 10°C drop in temperature. On our inaugural tour, guests were able to photograph a sloth, only five feet away from them over the trail. Other possible half-day tours include local cigar makers where you can watch as they hand roll a cigar for you.
Day 5 – Granada
A free morning on your own to sleep, take another local tour, or you could opt for image review with Darlene. If you like you can join Darlene’s husband for a more in-depth cigar factory tour where you can photograph the walk-in humidor, the tobacco, or the people hand rolling cigars. You’ll also get to see inside colonial homes and businesses. There are three excellent cigar locations in Granada to explore. After lunch a photo walk of the barrio with the photography club kids from Empowerment International is a special treat. They take amazing photos and you get to shoot their neighborhood alongside them, and share photos. We will visit the gallery to see some of their images as well.
Day 6 – Leon via Laguna de Apoyo
We get picked up by our own private, air conditioned bus, and start making our way to our hotel in Leon. A two hour drive will take nearly most the day as we wind ourselves through the Nicaraguan countryside, stopping at personally selected locations. We first stop to visit artisans in Catarina and San Juan de Oriente while making sure to take in the view at Laguna de Apoyo (we will have lunch in the area), a lake formed in the crater of Volcano Apoyo. An hour later we stop at an organic family owned pineapple farm, just outside Managua, for a tour and fantastic photo opportunity. Then finally, we reach Leon in time for dinner.
Day 7 – Leon
We’ll head out in the morning, before it gets too hot, for a walking tour of Leon, lead by a local guide who will show us around this historic city, founded in 1610. We’ll learn about its amazing history and then go inside (and on top of) Leon Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After an amazing lunch, we will give a rum factory for a tour. After dinner, a evening of night photography in the square.
Day 8 – Leon
Finally, a day of rest. The entire day is yours to plan for yourself. Shop, visit a museum, surf down Cerro Negro Volcano, or just take a day to yourself to relax, swim, visit an art gallery, or get a massage – it’s up to you. Darlene is available all afternoon for image reviews or photo lessons, lunch and dinner are on your own, wherever you end up for the day. We can help you make plans for any activity.
Day 9 – Chinandega
After a short drive, we check into our next hotel and ready ourselves for a day in El Limonal, a small settlement developing at the edge of a garbage dump, nestled between the sewage facility and a cemetery. We’ll spend the morning preparing a massive lunch meal which we will serve, then return in the afternoon for a more intimate exploration of the community. A gardening project is in the beginning stages, where families will be able to grow their own food, so you may want to learn about or participate. You might want to take a tour of the dump where the community works, or visit families adjusting to their new homes. Darlene has built relationships with the people of this community with many visits there, and they welcome her and her groups (you) with open arms – you will have opportunities to interact with the people and photograph them, that others simply do not get. Other possible activities may include a ladies spa day, temporary tattoos for kids, soccer, jewelry making, and seeing the Sunday street sweepers. After cleaning up back at the hotel, we’ll enjoy an amazing meal at a local hand picked restaurant.
Day 10 – Jiquilillo
After an early breakfast, we continue on to our west coast beach headquarters Brisas del Mar, our home for the next few days. Following check-in and orientation, we’ll have a guided walking tour of the little fishing village. You’ll get acquainted with your surroundings and meet some of the locals. The afternoon includes photography instruction, before photographing the baby sea turtles released on the beach near the estuary. Follow this by an evening of night photography, fire spinning, and photographing the milky way over the ocean, with palm trees as foreground. It really doesn’t get much better.
Day 11 – Jiquilillo
The day is yours to explore as you like. Walk up the beach, photograph baby turtle release, tour the estuary, mingle with the locals, do some surfing (lessons available) or go deep sea fishing. The fishermen push their boats out with the tide in the late afternoon, so you can get some shots of them heading out. Get yourself a beer, a coffee or a fresh coconut and pull up one of many hammocks and just watch the surf all afternoon. Plenty of time today to just enjoy.
Day 12 – Jiquilillo
You might want to get up at dawn to capture the fishing boats returning from the sea with the catches. It’s an amazing thing to see and you can even buy a fish (or even lend a hand pushing a boat like one lady did last time)! Another day to explore the area, have a private photography lesson or image review. You may also choose to just relax in a hammock, with a cocktail and a good book.
Day 13 – Granada
Sadly, we leave Brisas del Mar for the drive back to Granada. On the way, we will stop in Masaya for a visit to the artisan market, where you can shop for some things to take home. We’re back in Granada in time for a farewell dinner together, an evening wrap-up and final drink.
Day 14 – Fly Home
Final tour day, if you are leaving this day, a return flight home and say your farewells. Your airport transfer is once again arranged for you.

Testimonial Headshot - Ann Nickerson, Nicaragua
“I got a lot out of this tour.
I learned a few things about myself that maybe I need to change. I got some new photography skills and hopefully I made some friends. If you’re thinking about it, just come and do it”
Ann Nickerson


Cost of Photography Tour to Nicaragua

Price: $3600 USD

$500 down, balance due 90 days prior to trip. Full cancellation policy is on the next page, prior to payment.

NOTE: There must be a minimum 8 people registered for the tour so please do NOT book your flight until we have confirmed this – we will email you to let you know.

Includes:

  • Airport pickup and return
  • All accommodations
  • All meals, except those on your free days in Granada and Leon. Alcoholic beverages are not covered.
  • All tours and transportation (exception being transportation or optional tours booked for your free time.)
  • A basic Spanish lesson
  • Photography lessons and image reviews in a group setting
  • Photography tutoring and help as needed, you just have to ask
  • A translator for our activities
  • Tour guides in Granada and Leon
  • A portion of your tour fee will be a contribution towards the charitable causes we support in Nicaragua such as: Hotel Con Corazon’s foundation for education, sea turtle conservation project in Jiquilillo, food supplies for lunch we will cook and serve at the El Limonal community (garbage dump), child education and tutoring in Granada.

Prices do NOT include your flight or other travel to Nicaragua. You will need to book your flight to arrive in Managua some time on November 26, 2016 (or before, coming a day early is a good idea) and notify us of your flight information so we can arrange airport pickup for you. If you wish to stay on in Nicaragua after the workshop, that’s totally up to you – we plan on doing just that ourselves. So you can book your return flight for Dec 9th, 2016 or stay a few extra days.

A slideshow below of images from the Nicaragua photo tour.

Flights to Nicaragua: We travel to Nicaragua through Managua’s International Airport. Book your flights for Managua, we have arranged transportation to our overnight lodging in Granada for you. We just need your flight arrival information to get you picked up at the airport. NOTE: DO NOT book your flight until we have the required number of bookings for this tour and have notified you to do so.

Please note: keep in mind that this is Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the world. We go to Nicaragua, and similar places, to experience what daily life is like, see how the people live, what they do, and who they are as a people. We spend time with the locals as much as possible, and embed ourselves into the culture. We are NOT going for a Five Star hotel stay and buffet meals in hotels. If that’s the experience, or kind of travel you prefer, this may NOT be the right tour for you. Our accommodations will be comfortable, clean and safe, not five star. Our meals will be mostly family style (at Monty’s), healthy and nourishing, but not gourmet. So please set your expectations accordingly (special diets can be accommodated).

nicaragua-map

Testimonial Headshot - Diane, Nicaragua
“Great opportunity to see Nicaragua in a safe, convenient way,
to make a small difference in peoples’ lives and to learn some photography from an excellent teacher along with other group members all of whom will have something to share.”
Diane Silverthorne

Our Accommodations in Granada, Hotel Con Corazon

We were lucky to have discovered the Hotel Con Corazon in Granada. It’s a fantastic hotel with an amazing mission, which you’ll learn all about. They get a 4.6 star rating on Google Plus with 6 reviews and a full 5 stars on Trip Advisor with 499 reviews, and they’re ranked #1 for Hotels in Granada.

Hotel con corazon pool

Hotel con corazon reception area

Hotel con corazon hammock

Hotel con corzaon room

hotel con corazon dining area

hotel con corazon courtyard

Accommodations in Leon at Hotel Azul

Hotel Azul bedroom

Hotel Azul pool at night

a big plate of salad

hotel azul balcony

Our Accomodations in Chinendega, Hotel los Balcones

exterior of hotel los balcones in Chinendega Nicaragua

double bed in hotel los balcones Nicaragua

Our Accommodations on the Beach

Come and experience Central America like never before. Brisas del Mar invites you to a rustic hideaway on Nicaragua’s gorgeous, north Pacific coast. Their brand new air conditioned units and restaurant sit on a breathtaking sandy surf beach, just on the edge of the traditional fishing village of Jiquilillo. You will relax in front of the pacific ocean, play in the warm surf, and kick back with fresh food and new friends. The dogs patrol the beach, and the parrots sitting in the tree will serenade you (don’t stand directly below!). Watch the iguanas warm themselves in the mid afternoon sun, and the fishing boats go out to sea at sunset.

Watching the surfthatched roof eating area
a view of the rooms with two bedsA view of the ocean from room with single bed

NOTE: we have built this tour to stay in a location with accommodation located directly on the beach, among a local community, for a more authentic Nicaraguan experience!

Darlene-1-250x130.png

Other Points to Note:
The release of sea turtles has quite a number of variables that include mother nature, from reproduction right through weather. While we have booked these dates specifically to coincide with the release of the turtles, we cannot guarantee that this event will occur. It’s our intention that the weather will be perfect, and everything will happen exactly as we expect. We would ask that you hold the same intention.