We expected a degree of immersion but we could not have foreseen the depth and breadth of PASSION with which the Zuniga Ellis family shared the jewel that is Nicaragua!They truly allowed us to begin to unlock and experience its culture, land and customs.On a regular basis we danced, ate, swam, surfed, played, laughed, cried, absorbed & released! And on special moments we released baby turtles into the sea under moonlight! 🌙
As we found our rhythm as a community, we occasionally needed to regroup to reestablish ground rules & the right code of conduct within community. This was inevitable for a group of this size, spending nearly every waking moment together, most of which were sometimes very stimulated and exhausted children, never wanting to miss a moment of action! However we appreciated the open & compassionate approach to problem-solving and overall for every challenge met, we faced MANY-a-triumph.
The intimacy in community extended to our environment. Within the canvas walls of our tree house cabana, the sound of thunder, torrential rain, monkeys or birds were ever present. We truly experienced jungle life. We found the key was adaptation & finding deeper gratitude for the things which, particularly in the western world, we can take for granted. Along with developing Spanish skills and a deeper understanding of Nicaraguan culture, we have taken away friends for life! Friends with which we have shared time, meals, sunsets, compassion, stories & created long lasting memories! We grew through the challenges and relished in the triumphs, leaving with the sweet taste of experience and a great curiosity for WHAT NEXT?! Thank you Nica World School!”
The Perry Family
“Nica world school was an amazing experience in so many ways. My 3 children and I joined the Nica World school family for a month in June 2020. Britton was incredibly helpful, patiently answering my million questions and setting up transportation from the airport, across the border, and right to the school. Upon arrival Britton and her family were warm and welcoming. We clicked right in and felt like part of the family. I loved how classes were structured so when my kids were learning Spanish and art, I was able to step away and do yoga and take a moment for myself. The excursions were excellent. We were able to do see and do much more then if we had come to Nicaragua on our own. Britton & Alex share the best experiences, know the all the hot spots, and it’s all organized with a free flowing vibe. If we see monkeys, we stop and all get out of the car to observe. I really loved that we could close the beaches down, stay for incredible sunsets and not have to worry about figuring out what to do for dinner. Having meals prepared was a game changer! It allowed me the time to click into my children and play with them rather then trying to figure what’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner. The food was prepared beautifully and with pride.
There were a few challenges that come with living in a developing world country, but they usually resulted in something magical. My most memorable night involved a shortage of water, which meant no showers. We had a dance party and in the the middle the sky opened up and buckets of water fell. The dance party moved right outside and there we are, having a fresh clean invigorating natural shower. It was so good. The few challenges we faced all came with a learning opportunity that I was grateful to experience with my kids. It was the best month, living together in community, building lifelong friendships, and exploring an incredible country with the best host ever. I look forward to coming back! “
Orcas Island, Washington
“I think that Nica world school was amazing. There were lots of games, a pool, and it just felt so free. You also make a lot of new friends. We had a sleepover cabana that we took turns sleeping in, boys one night, girls the other night. Sleepovers with friends are the best! My favorite times were when we were on adventures. The best adventure was when we released the little baby sea turtles. We got to pick them up from the basket and put them on a line so they could have a big enough chance to get to safety. We also walked with them just so they would be safe. There were heavy guards watching us to make sure the turtles were safe. There were vultures and big birds that wanted to eat them so we sticked around and waited until they were safely in the water. It was amazing. Everything there was so awesome and everybody was so nice. I love Nica world school”
Corah Donna Pechacek 9yrs
(a child’s perspective)
“Nica world school was such an epic adventure! One of the best things we have ever done. It gave us the opportunity to connect so deeply to the food, culture, language and people of Nicaragua, to each other as a family, and to other likeminded travelers from all over the world. It’s really unlike any other program, it’s so immersive and intense and well, epic. Zero regrets, so glad we went, would do it again in an instant, my kids (and husband) beg to go back!”
“Britton and her family put their heart and soul into sharing their love of Nicaragua with others. The Nica World School environment was very enriching; from learning about local foods and customs to visiting pristine beaches. Come to Nica World School prepared to be both challenged by life in a different culture and spoiled by the daily offerings. At minimum you will come away enlightened and having formed community with others who are stepping out of their comfort zones to immerse in the world.”
from Dominican Republic
“We lived the Nica World School dream and there is no other place we would rather be!!! Thank you Britton and family for allowing us to join you on this incredible adventure. Thank you for the amazing traditional cuisine, for allowing us to take in each nights sunset (which as it turns out is always spectacular), for teaching us Nica ways and providing an experience that my children will cherish their entire life!! People, there is no filter on the posted photos: the vegetation is spectacular, the colors are vivid and the smiles on these children’s faces are pure. Being part of the grand opening was wonderful and throughout it all you have been responsive and gracious. Our true character really shows when faced with adversity and you lead this community humbly and with so much love! We love you and your fabulous family and we love Nica World School!!!! I would highly recommend to anyone who truly embraces the fundamentals of world schooling (appreciating and embracing the beautiful diversity of this world and its cultures and nonjudgmentally learning and adapting in new environments and expressing kindness to all people through respect and service) to come on over to Nica! You’ll share company with some pretty awesome people. “
“Last Summer, we decided to join a group of worldschoolers in San Juan del Sur,Nicaragua to attend our 1st World School. It provided us an opportunity to begin living our vision of worldschooling. The experience of living at an eco lodge in a cabaña- treehouse while learning Spanish, practicing yoga, surfing, doing art, cooking, cleaning up, swimming at the pool everyday with friends, interacting with animals, living in a community with different families from around the globe, and participating in community projects like beach clean ups, was inspiring and one of the most beautiful experiences I have shared with my children. My goal was to introduce my children to my home country and our beautiful language, but we were gifted so much more than that! At Nica World School we got to learn along other World Schooling families, come together as a community, learn about my home country, culture and language, enjoy the beautiful beaches, surf and have a really great time living a wild-schooling life filled with incredible moments.
Nica World School will always have a special place in my heart as my children and I did tons of bonding, dancing, living, loving and learning together about Nicaragua, its people, and each other! I was in awe every single day that I was blessed enough to wake up in the jungle surrounded by beautiful tropical plants, listening to the call of exotic birds and monkeys! We saw cool bugs, snakes and even had a scorpion join us in our bed (yikes). I will have to say, this experience is best suited for adventurers with an open mind and open heart. We especially loved experiencing our very own National Geographic moments watching Olive Ridley sea turtles lay their eggs and releasing their tiny hatchlings at La Flor Turtle Preserve.
My intentions for Worldschool were more than met. We made amazing memories and friendships that I know will help shape my children’s minds and hearts, in what will forever be a significant moment in time in their childhood. For us to have had that connection with nature, each other, the community and the jungle, was a priceless experience I could never thank or repay Britton and her family enough for. If you have ever had a vision of World Schooling your family, Britton’s Nica World School is the place to do it. Nica World School has so much to offer and learn from and you will soon learn, that the world is the BEST classroom!”
US & Nicaragua
“We spent a month at Nica World School this past summer. I was a bit nervous traveling as a single mom with three kids. I quickly realized I had nothing to worry about. We had such a great experience. We got to experience so many places, were fed incredible food, and met families we instantly connected with. Britton and her family are amazing embasadors to Nicaragua. They taught us so much about the culture, nature, and what it takes to live in community which is not alway easy. We came from different walks of life and different countries but the friendships we made there will last a lifetime.”
“Attending Nica World School was an amazing experience! We went as a family of 5 and loved it. One of our favorite parts was the everyday experiences. Building relationships with other families, getting to know some of the locals, walking around town, and learning everyday. Britton and her family shared local knowledge with us all the time. We enjoyed learning Spanish and have continued with that since leaving. Nica World School created life long friends from all over.”
“Our time at Nica World School was our first “world schooling” experience as a family of 6. (Our kids were 4,6,8,11) Nicaragua was a beautiful country, from the people we encountered, to the landscape, the food, the beaches, the accommodations. (Especially the food!!!)
We went into this experience with low expectations—the price seemed “too good to be true” in our opinion for all that was offered. We lucked out and had overall great weather—a few rainy days where electricity went out—we lost water a few times too—yes, an inconvenience, but this is a developing country. We are roll with the punches kinda people and made the best out of it. That would be my #1 prerequisite: that you are positive, see the educational opportunity in everything, and are open to experiences that may not be what you expected. Our main goal was to be culturally immersed as a family and for our kids to make friends—both of which we accomplished!
The food is insanely good!! I went with very low expectations (like I thought I may lose weight and my kids may eat PBJ every day 😂) and I’m pretty sure I gained 10 pounds and my kids devoured pretty much everything! The chef Scarlet is so kind—my 4 yr old devoured her fresh banana bread daily and so she invited her in the kitchen to make it with her—one of my favorite memories! ❤️ There’s no language barrier in the kitchen!
You’re expected to pick up after yourself and participate as a community in cleaning, etc—this is not difficult. We work together to keep it nice. We loved our Spanish teacher Christian—his family also owns the laundrymat. Bring like 7 bathing suits 😂😂 and tshirts and shorts or maxi dresses and you’ll be set!
We wanted to maximize our experiences while in Nica, so every weekend we ventured out as a family alone to different parts. We went to Ometepe + Granada Highly, highly recommend this! We hiked a waterfall, volcano, stayed in a tree house, kayaked, went to monkey island, rode a very slow and sketchy ferry 🤣, made chocolate, participated in a horse festival, and more! Amazing!
I was so proud of our family for doing so much that was off the beaten path! We literally crossed a border of two developing countries on our own!! I feel like we can do anything now, lol! I’m a planner by nature so it came naturally to me but take the steps to research places and Google and find stuff for yourself! We booked our own transportation using the WhatsApp (you cannot function in Nica without WhatsApp—it’s how everyone communicates). Bring enough cash for transportation (renting cars or hiring drivers for weekend trips).
Britton & Alex were amazing hosts. We went into this thinking, ok, these people may be crazy and if so we will just leave 🙃 but ended up making lifelong friends and having family experiences we will never forget! So many people at home said we were crazy, but are now jealous we actually did it! 🙌🏻”
“Initially, Nica World School was only hosting families for one month sessions, but when a few two week sessions opened up, it became one of the biggest blessings of our lives.
We are world travelers (or so we thought). My husband has been to over 80 different countries, our sons have been to around 30, and I’ve been to about 40, but we’ve never been able to really have the time or opportunity to dig deep and truly live like the locals before. Of course, we try to teach our boys about everywhere we visit with a mix of fun tourist attractions and tours given by local people. We learned very quickly that Nicaraguans have the best sense of community that we’ve seen.
We had a lot of concerns leading into this trip (many that were new to us). How the border crossing going to be (we flew into Costa Rica), how we going to get along with everyone, Covid concerns, will we like the food, just how bad are the bugs, will we be able to handle the heat, safety, and what will we do when it’s unscheduled time (logistics)? My husband is much more comfortable with handling unplanned things and new people than I am. He really had to “sell” me on this trip, but after we spoke to Britton via Zoom, I knew that everything was going to be great! She, Alex, all 3 of their kids are among the nicest people we’ve ever met.
Fast forward to our arrival date. Our flight went as scheduled, the drivers were there as promised, and they helped us understand and led us through the border crossing with zero issues. We arrived to the Nica World School mid-afternoon, and within 5 minutes our boys were in the pool playing with the other kids and Kevin and I were getting settled in our room. A little later we went on our first excursion to the town square for a festival.
Our safety concerns melted away instantly! We ended the night going out to dinner at a local place right on the San Juan beach. We had 3 plates divided among the 4 of us (the portions were big), and sodas for around $20 total! The food is amazing. In fact, we visited the same restaurant a couple times on our own.
Each day consisted of breakfast, Yoga, Spanish lessons, art class, lunch, and excursion ranging from going to a local farm, visiting a variety of beaches, relaxing at a resort while the kids enjoyed using their water slides, getting to release baby turtles, and everything in between). After the excursion, we’d often come back to an expertly prepared dinner. The food is excellent, fresh, and made with love. They are able to even meet a wide variety of dietary needs, but you’ll need to make advance arrangements. We had several vegetarians and gluten free needs in our group.
The bugs weren’t bad for us, but if you’re sensitive in other parts of the world you’ll need to bring good bug spray. Mosquitos normally love me, but I had maybe 5-10 bites in our 17 days. We stayed in screened open-air cabanas with some very minor critter encounters, but it ends up being a wonderful learning experience if you keep an open mind. Just be smart. Simple things like checking your shoes and clothes before putting them on. We actually miss going to sleep to the sounds of Howler Monkeys.
Nica World School is not the traditional definition of 5-star luxury, but if you look at it from a slightly different perspective, what could be much more luxurious than waking up to nature sounds, great coffee already made for you, having a private yoga instructor in a beautifully natural setting, eating fresh healthy meals that you don’t have to cook, private Spanish lessons, an afternoon excursion set up to a gorgeous beach with virtually no one else in sight, and all activities, meals, and transportation set up for you by the most gracious and considerate family with immense local knowledge and connections? That’s true luxury!
Nicaragua is of course a developing country, and if you come looking for things to complain about, you’ll probably find plenty, but if you come with an open mind and flexible personality eager to enjoy nature, wonderful people, and seeing the world from a fresh perspective, you’ll find plenty of incredible experiences as well! Overall, we had an amazing experience escaping the complexities of normal life in the US, teaching our children (and ourselves) about other cultures, and being able to really bond as a family, and we came away with life-long friends we now consider family. We can’t wait to return!”
“Nica World School was our first experience in a world schooling environment. As veteran travelers, I was concerned that it would be a cruise ship kind of experience – not getting a real feel for Nicaragua. It was the exact opposite. Britton and Alex created so many authentic experiences, things that we were have never been able to experience on our own. It was more like having good friends show you their favorite places. We were a part of saving sea turtles with local conservationists, learned all about sustainable farming efforts, toured nature preserves with local experts, and, of course, we also just hung out on amazing beaches, savoring the sunsets while our children played with one another, surfing, building sand castles or finding treasures in nature. On top of this, mom was able to actually relax knowing that everything was taken care of – no meals to plan, no playdates to arrange, nothing! I was able to enjoy yoga every morning, eat delicious local food, brush up on my Spanish skills. For a busy mom, especially with a large family, it was heaven! Even though we are still traveling, my kids consistently mention this experience as their favorite of our past two years. The friends and the memories that we created will last a lifetime”