Information for the future volunteers of the Carpe Diem Eco Project. (CDEP)
Why does the CDEP use the help of volunteers?
CDEP is a platform for people from all around the word to come and learn about natural building in an affordable way. All of this while building with a relatively low budget an Ecolodge to create employment opportunities and empowerment for the local people.
Who can be a volunteer?
Everybody! no experiences are needed.
What does the volunteer work consist of?
It is essentially about helping with the construction effort of the ecolodge. Everybody is also expected to help with cooking and cleaning. If for a reason you can not help with the construction, we have other things you can help with. just let us know before :)
When do we need volunteers?
From the beginning of January until beginning of June.
Is there a minimum commitment for the project/ are there any fees for volunteers?
Even though we prefer long therm commitment, because we want to share our passion about natural building to a maximum of people and because we understand that some people have limited time travel, we decided to remove the minimum commitment this year .
Basic accommodation (camping) will be offered to everyone; however, we cannot afford to feed 200 mouths per year so we have to charge for food. To encourage people to stay longer, we divided the volunteers in 3 categories:
- The Short term volunteers with no minimum commitment have to pay $12/day.
- The Medium term Volunteers with a minimum commitment of 10 days of *work have to pay $8/day.
- The long term volunteers with a minimum commitment of 30 days of *work have to pay $6/day.
*work: we work from Monday to Friday from 7 to 11:30. weekends are off to relax or travel and enjoy the area.
These fees generate no profits and are calculated following our experience of last year.
*the extra $4 for guest will compensate for the 2$ discount of the long therm volunteers.
This is how we calculated:
- $4.5 for 3 vegetarian meals a day - so $1.5 per meal
- $1.5 for the transport of the food by truck, boat and horses (Do not forget that we are on an island)
- $1 for drinking water (18l bottles)
- $1 for gaz, toilet paper, household products and lost and broken dishes.
if a volunteer wants to bring and cook his own food, he only have to pay $3/day.
If a volunteer leaves the project for a complete day, they do not have to pay for anything as long as they let us know before – letting us know ahead of time is critical so as to avoid food spoiling.
If a volunteer wishes to skip the same meal every day (ex: breakfeast), they will not be charged as long as they let us know before.
If you have any dietary constraints, we will try to accommodate you.
Children below 12 eat for free. Families are welcome!
Payment will be collected every week upon arrival. Medium term volunteers will be charged as a short term volunteer ($12/day) until one reaches his/her minimum commitment. Same principle will apply for long term volunteers. charges will be readjusted when they reach their commitment. ex: Total for 2 weeks $112, first week 7x$12=$84, second week (14x8)-84=$28.
There is no cash machine on the island or the villages close by. The closest one is in Leòn (which is generally a half day’s trip) so make sure to plan your budget before arriving.
What does meals look like?
For breakfast: We usually eat oatmeal, cereals, local fruit, nuts etc. Sometimes we have bread and jam or chocolate spread. Some of us prefer to eat the leftover from last night. It’s really up to you!
For lunch: Most of the time we make a big salad with fresh vegetables from the market and bread or tortilla sandwiches with eggs and/or cheese and/or avocado (depending on the season).
For dinner: We take the time to cook a feast! It can be vegetable pasta with tomato or pesto sauce, a good vegetable curry on top of local rice with roasted almond and/or cashews, a potato chowder with vegetables and rosemary, bean burritos, or a vegetarian burger etc. Sky is the limit!
What does a typical day looks like?
The day start around 6:30 when the founder grabs a guitar and wakes you up singing the happiest songs he knows.
From 6:30-7:30 Meditation/time to get ready
At 7:30 am we start to learn/work
Around 11:30am we go for a group dip in the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
Around 12:00pm we cook lunch and eat together.
The afternoon is free for everyone. Some of us have a nap, others practise an instrument, others make art projects, visit the island, go to town, learn Spanish, read a book, practice their social skills, listen to music in an hammock, practise yoga or acro-yoga, horseback riding, slack line, surf or just sunbathe. It’s up to you!
Around 4:00pm it’s time for the beach volleyball tournament while some of us start to cook diner.
After the sunset we eat together. After some of us have a walk on the beach and look up the stars or stay at the ecolodge to make a little jam around the fire.
Then we all go to sleep to be in shape for another day in paradise!
Where is the project located?
The project is located on an Island/peninsula called Isla Los Brasiles In Nicaragua. It is close to the village of Poneloya, 20 Minutes away from The Beautiful Colonial city of Leòn.
To get there you can take the public transportation or we can arrange a taxi service to pick you up anywhere in Nicaragua. From Leòn it will cost you $12 and from Managua’s airport or town, it will cost you $65. The prices are per Taxi.
By public transportation; From Managua’s airport, you need to take a shared taxi to get to the bus station (+/- $5 to $6/person. If they ask for too much walk a few meters to the street and it will be cheaper). From the bus Station, ask for a microbus to get to Leòn (fixed price of +/- $4 and takes around 1.5 hours).
From Leòn take a taxi to get to the Mercadito for around 60 cents (it is not the main bus station). From there you take the bus to Poneloya/Las Penitas. You go down on the last stop in Poneloya (when the bus makes a U turn and you can see the river). You walk up the hill and turn left before getting to the last restaurant/bar called Chepe’s bar.
From everybody take the boat to get to the Island ($1/person). You can ask the boat driver to call the ecolodge so Paolo can come and pick you up with the horses ($2/person) or you can walk to the project. (+/- 2km, follow the signs for the Surfing Turtle Lodge and keep walking a kilometre more you will see a CDEP sign on your left. There we are!
Don’t worry - it seems harder than it is! We tried to give you as much information as we can!
What about Leòn?
Leòn is a beautiful colonial city with the biggest cathedral in Central America. You can find there all the services: Hospitals, dentist, Grocery stores, market, cinema, bar, discos, good restaurant, coffee shops, French bakery (my favorite) public pools and so much more! It is a really nice town to have close by.
How much notice should I give you before my arrival/departure?
In order to calculate the right amount of food we need, we ask for a 3 days notice or recall before your arrive or leave. Volunteers can leave and come back at any time as long as they let us know before. Weekends trips are really fun and allow volunteers to visit the country without carrying all of their stuff.
What should I bring ?
Apart from your personal items, you should bring camping equipement or an hammock. If you don’t have a mattress, a pillow, bed sheets you can buy it in Leòn for aroud $25-$30 (all together). If you don’t have a tent, you can buy one for around $30 or a moskito net for $10. To make it easy for the volunteers, The CDEP will buy a bunch of camping gear and rent it to you for $2/night for single or $3/night for double (tent, mattress, bedsheet and pillow). Quantities are limited!
A headlamp if always useful.
You need nothing for the construction.
Is there other types of accommodation?
We do have dormitory for $7/night, $35/week, or $120/month
Or Cabanas for $25/night, $140/week or $450/month
send us an email with your dates and type of accommodation to make a reservation
Do you have access to electricity and Wi-fi?
No, we don’t. But there is a hotel on the island that grants the *costumers access to electricity and Wi-fi.
*person who drinks, eat or sleep there
Last year some of the volunteers brought little solar panels to charge their phones and cameras. It was very useful.
How does the money work?
If you come by plane, we suggest you bring a bit of USD to pay the immigration ($15).
To avoid paying twice the change rate, we would suggest you get the rest of your money directly from a cash machine in Nicaragua. To avoid any problems, let your bank know where you are going before you leave.
Do not bring Euros or Canadian $, the change rate is really bad here.
The local device is the Cordoba. 1 USD is worth more or less 29 Cordobas.
All of the prices mentioned earlier are in USD.
For the food, you can pay us in USD or Cordobas with the change rate of the moment.
For a trip in Nicaragua we would suggest you a budget of $30/day. For the project $10/day (as a medium term volunteer) is sufficient to eat 3 meals/day and enjoy a cold beer at night time.
Do not hesitate to contact us for more details.
We are looking forward to meet you and share with you this amazing experience!