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Bluefields, Nicaragua

This workshop is held in conjunction with blueEnergy, a Nicaraguan NGO that provides sustainable solutions to the energy needs of marginalized communities on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua through the construction, installation and maintenance of hybrid wind and solar electric systems.

The majority of the workshop is held in the city of Bluefields, the oldest coastal city in Nicaragua.  Part of the workshop will be held in a remote rural community on the coast, a couple of hours from Bluefields. Travel to the community is on a small boat (panga) on the open ocean. It is quite an adventure, and is not for the faint-hearted!

Food and Lodging:

Lodging in Bluefields will be at blueEnergy’s headquarters in shared dorm-style rooms. All meals are included and will be at blueEnergy’s headquarters. Please let us know of any dietary restrictions.

The 2 nights of lodging in the rural community will be very rustic with no running water and sleeping arrangements in hammocks or dorm-style rooms with beds.

How to get to Bluefields

Participants must arrive in Bluefields on September 7, and plan on leaving on September 15.

Once in Managua, visitors can get to Bluefields via plane or a combination bus/panga (boat) ride. The SEI instructor will be flying to Bluefields on the 7th, and if you would like to travel to Bluefields with the instructor please contact SEI to find out what time to meet in the airport. There are several flights a day.

Via plane: Most visitors choose to fly to Bluefields for their first visit as you can easily bypass the possible complications associated with the bus/boat combination. This route is especially recommended for those who have less experience with public transportation in Latin American countries. Visitors arriving in Managua by air will be in the international wing of the Managua airport. If arriving sufficiently early, the domestic terminal is located just next to the international one and it will be possible to get a flight the same day. Upon exiting the international terminal, look for La Costeña airline in the neighboring, older building to purchase a flight to Bluefields. This round-trip ticket is roughly US$130 (a single ticket is about US$85), plus an additional airport tax of about US$5. Note: You will not have to specify a date for your return flight from Bluefields. There are several flights a day, every day of the week.   You can make your La Costeña flight reservations here:

https://www.lacostena.com.ni/eng/plancomp/flightplan.aspx

The SEI instructor will be flying on the 2 pm La Costeña flight on September 7.

 Via bus/panga: You must first get to El Rama by bus, and then take a panga (boat) to Bluefields.  There are two bus stations in Managua where busses leave for El Rama.  At the bus station Ivan Montenegro, the busses are express, and leave at 6 am and 9 pm, and take 5 - 6 hours.  At the market Mercado Mayoreo, busses leave several times a day and take 8 hours.  To make the last panga (small motor boat) of the day you will need to get a bus no later than the 7:30am. Ask the day before if there is an expreso, as opposed to the ordinario. This will cut 3 hours off of your trip. Once in El Rama you can buy your panga ticket to Bluefields at the muelle. Total cost is approximately US$17 (Nic$350). These tickets are not reservations (there will be no date on them), so ask to make a specific reservation for your specific travel day (you will need your passport number for this).

For more information visit this website: http://rightsideguide.com/transport-schedules/

Note: Arrive at the bus station at least 1 hour before departure. Upon arriving in El Rama, immediately queue for the reservation for the panga (in the small concrete building with the TV). The earlier you are in the queue, the sooner you'll get on a panga to Bluefields. Once in the queue, your panga number will be written on the ticket. You will have to pay a 4 cordoba tax prior to boarding the panga. Arriving in Bluefields: Once you are in Bluefields, take any taxi to the blueEnergy volunteer house.

Address: Casa de blueEnergy - La Vuelta San Pedro (The house is a two-floor blue house with turbine blades on the balcony)

This taxi ride will cost approximately 15 Cordobas (approximately 75 cents) from the airport entrance.

Necassary Items

Items participants SHOULD bring with them to Bluefields
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Insect repellent (some can be found in Bluefields)
  • UV sun glasses
  • Rubber boots for the mud (if desired) also available for purchase in Bluefields.
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Long sleeved, light-weight shirts for the sun and the mosquitoes
  • Light-weight long pants for the sun and the mosquitoes
  • Summer clothing (cotton recommended)
  • Long pajamas for mosquitoes at night
  • Rain-proof jacket
  • Closed-toed shoes for the workshop (running shoes or boots suffice)
  • Sandals
  • Malaria medication (be sure to start taking pills at least 2 weeks before arriving). There are some cases of malaria in the region, but not many. This is a personal decision to make with your doctor.
  • Personal medicines (especially for diarrhea and dehydration)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, soap and other personal hygiene items. If possible, we highly recommend bringing biodegradable items, since everything that goes down the drain ends up in the rivers/ocean.
  • Women - if you use tampons, they are not available for sale in Bluefields, so bring what you'll need.