TGL Nicaragua 2018

Volcanoes, lagoons, cobblestone streets, vibrant colors, amazing kids. Nicaragua is one heck of a wild ride from start to finish. It’s also our most affordable trip, and one of our most meaningful trips. By that we mean that you will work hand-in-hand with some amazing young photographers all week long, learning their stories and helping them reach for their dreams. This will be our 6th team to Nicaragua, and if there’s one thing we can promise, it’s that there won’t be a dry eye in the house on the final day. Yup, these kids are that amazing. Our partner NGO is Empowerment International. EI’s end goal is to break the poverty cycle by getting children into school, and inspiring them to stay in school. They do this with home visits to educate the whole family on the benefits of school, through their tutoring centre (where older students tutor the younger students), and through after school programs, such as their incredibly successful photography club! This club is now six years into operation and while they’re always taking on new students as novice photographers, their older and long-term students are becoming masters of photography! Thanks to our partners, Smugmug, EI now has an in-house gallery open to the public – and online! – where purchases of student prints help fund the program. We will explore Granada with the kids, visit the barrios where they’re growing up, and have photo workshops in some excellent locations: the top of a volcano, the edge of a lagoon, deep in a jungle, the bustling markets, or wandering the backstreets of colorful Granada. Sound good? We think so. New for 2018: we will extending this visit a bit and head south to some incredible fishing villages and surfy beach towns, to photograph sunsets, fishermen, surfers, and unwind from a wonderful week in Granada.

The leaders for this trip will be Alicia Fox and Susan Roderick. Both are incredibly talented photographers with huge passion for giving back, NGO work, and making photography really mean something. You are in incredible hands for this trip!

Trip Dates

July 1-8, 2018


$2400 USD

Group Size




This trip is physically easy to moderate. There is lots of walking but mostly it’s flat. The heat can be cumbersome but we try to take afternoons easy, and offer lots of chances for shade and hydration. There will be several hikes to reach viewpoints, but they are fairly novice hikes.
The emotional demands of this trip are moderate to difficult. We will become closely connected to these youths because we will see them nearly every day for a week – on top of this, we will visit where they are living. The barrios are a difficult place for outsiders to not only see, but reconcile to the kids they’ve gotten to know and love. You will have to witness some intense poverty and be able to maintain composure, photograph with caution and etiquette, and be gracious as a guest in this place. However, you will be moved by the experience, which is incredibly unique and a real honor. This experience is a gift.
The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are good to very good.

Accommodation is very nice, clean, comfortable, and safe. You can expect a simple room with two twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, and clean sheets, towels, and blankets. Hot water can be hit and miss, especially if we’re all trying to shower at once.

Meals are of good quality. We will have a mix of home-cooked meals by local mamas, and restaurants. Rice, beans, and a protein are common; pizza and pasta is usually also available when eating out. Breakfasts will be taken at the hotel and will be simple: toast, jams, fruit, coffee or tea. Water, juice, and pop are readily available.

Amenities such as bathrooms and convenience stores are available in most places. Toilets will be western style.

Level of safety in Granada is very good to excellent.

The most common issue for tourist is pickpocketing, but statistics are en par with almost anywhere well touristed in the world. TGL will offer tips and advice for your belongings and cash in team newsletters.

When arriving to the Managua airport, we will provide an immediate transfer to Granada. If staying in Managua for some reason, we do recommend extra caution after dark.

What is Included?

  • All Ground Transportation

    From the moment you arrive to when you depart, we have you covered. Taxis, buses, tours, you name it.

  • All Accommodation and Meals

    Rooms are double rooms with twin beds, paired by gender, and accommodation is always clean, comfortable, and safe. From dinner the arrival day, to breakfast the departure day, we will keep you well fed and hydrated.

  • All Entry Fees and Guides

    Entry fees, shooting permits, guides, passes, etc. If the team is going to shoot there, we’ll get you in. We’ll even be sure to tip any guides on behalf of the whole team.

  • All Photo Instruction

    You’ll have 2 leaders available all day long to field as many questions as you can muster, provide one-on-one help, and offer group topics and instruction as required by the scene at hand.

  • A Donation to the NGO

    While there are a lot of factors involved that determine the exact amount – which we’re happy to be completely transparent about – you can rest assured we make a substantial donation to our NGO partner post-trip.

What’s Not?

  • Flights

    We’re open to people from every corner of the world. This means we cannot possibly offer a flight that would suit everyone. If you can get yourself here, we’ll take care of the rest!

  • Insurance

    We require every participant to have adequate travel insurance, and to carry copies of this insurance at all times.

  • Passport and Visa

    Each participant is required to ensure their passport is valid for the time of travel, and to research, learn, and meet all the requirements of an entry visa specific to their country. If there are fees associated with the entry visa, they’re not included.

  • Alcohol and Souvenirs

    We do not provide alcohol for our participants, so that’s up to you. As well, as much as we really really like you, we can’t buy your gifts for you. Souvenirs are on you!

  • Internet

    Some hotels have wifi, others do not, or sometimes it simply doesn’t work. When wifi is available for purchase, it’s up to you if it’s worthwhile. Some participant opt to purchase a local SIM card and data plan – a great option that we don’t cover.

Behind the Scenes of TGL Nicaragua

The NGO: Empowerment International

Empowerment International has been working in Nicaragua since 2004 and has reached an annual school retention rate of over 96% in both of our communities since 2008. We now have over 300 students participating in our program.

We offer a series of community-based, holistic educational programs to children and their families in two extremely impoverished communities in Nicaragua. This is done through daily home visits where parents are encouraged to send their kids to school and are mentored on how to enhance their children’s education. Also during these visits, counseling and emotional support are provided to help them find solutions to barriers, physical or otherwise, that prevent children from attending school.

This is our sixth time partnering with EI. We love their rock solid vision for the youths of Nicaragua, their emphasis on education, their encouragement of the arts, their mentoring programs, and their focus to hire and sustain local staff. You will see a side of Nicaragua a regular tourist has no access to, and you’ll be guided through the experience by your team leaders and the amazing staff at EI.

TGL Testimonials

Braeden H.

Thailand was my first, but I can’t imagine my last, trip with The Giving Lens. Everything was well taken care of allowing you to have fun, learn lots of great photography skills, and to really soak in every single moment in the wonderful culture around you!

Linda M

As someone who has done four travel photography tours with TGL, you might call me a fan. I think of myself as someone who recognizes the value of priceless experiences in a supportive environment. I can hardly wait for my next trip!

David F.

When I first learned of TGL, I knew right away–in my spirit–that it was something that I had to be a part of. It combined everything that I had been searching for in one package (humanitarian, travel, & photography). The hardest part was trying to decide where I wanted to go first. My dream of many years was finally realized … Read More

David F.