Hacienda Mérida is an accessible hotel.
We have made the commitment and investment to allow everyone to enjoy the beauties of Ometepe and to participate in our mission for sustainable and responsible living. The restaurant/sitting area has ramped access as do the rooms on the second floor (even if you are not staying up here, the view of the lake is beautiful and it's a great place to read). For the day visitor or dorm user, there is a communal bathroom, shower, and sink designed for easy wheelchair use.
Want to work with kids in the shadow of a volcano on the largest island-in-a-lake in the world? Want to create opportunities for rural Nicaraguans in an increasingly global world? Come to Ometepe Bilingual School! Here the contributions of volunteers are vital in delivering a bilingual curriculum to our students.
Volunteers work approximately 30 hours per week in some combination of the following classes:
OBS Kindergarten, first, second and third grade students! Fourth grade coming in 2017!
As a volunteer, responsibilities will include assisting the classroom teacher in implementing activities and supporting student learning; leading the class in English language activities; and planning activities (for execution in Spanish or English) at the direction of the classroom teacher.
Depending on the needs of the school, other opportunities may exist. These include coming as a guest to adult English classes being taught by long-term volunteers; working on school-related administrative projects; assisting with non-school related projects (related to the Hacienda, recycling efforts, conservation education, fundraising, publicity and social media etc.).
Whatever your work assignment, you can look forward to a fun, rewarding experience at Ometepe Bilingual School. Furthermore, Ometepe is a beautiful place and you will find many great opportunities for recreation in your free time.
Ometepe Bilingual School is a project of Hacienda Merida.
At Ometepe Bilingual School we believe that education is of utmost importance for a more prosperous and brighter future. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders and our goal is to provide them with the education and language skills needed to expand their future opportunities.
At our school, bilingual education is provided by pairing Spanish-language instruction by local teachers with English-language instruction using the skills of international volunteers. We believe a foundation for long-term, sustainable eco-tourism development on Ometepe and in Nicaragua can be created by educating and empowering the local population.
Ometepe Bilingual School
Welcome to Ometepe Bilingual School!
Our current flagship project is the elementary school program at the Ometepe Bilingual School. Our elementary program is the first free-of-charge bilingual school in Central America and one of only a few bilingual schools in Nicaragua.
In 2013 we opened our first eco- friendly classroom, built from plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash called Eco-bricks. Today, the bilingual school has founded an elementary school program and has its own buildings located on the grounds of the hotel. We have Kindergarten through 3rd grade classes and will open a 4th grade classroom in 2017.
The Ometepe Bilingual School functions similarly to a charter school in the US. OBS follows the Ministry of Education curriculum and there is no tuition. Class size is limited, but enrollment is open to all parents who are interested and willing to commit to their child’s education, to supporting their child at home, and to keeping their child in the program throughout primary school. In addition to the OBS, Mérida is served by a public grade school (Kindergarten through 6th grade) and a public secondary school (with 5 grade levels). Our bilingual curriculum relies almost completely on native English speaking volunteers. We are always to happy to have volunteers for any amount of time they can stay. To learn more please visit the volunteer section of this website.
By 2020 we plan to have a total of 7 classrooms for grades K-6. We will transform an empty field by the lakeshore into a fully-functioning bilingual school for 84 students (12 per grade, grade K-6).
For vidoes please visit our founder’s youtube channel:
To learn more or apply to Volunteer please visit:
Articles about our initiative:
Average Daily Cost: $21.42
We offer volunteers a subsidized room and board package for $150 per week. This includes shared housing and 3 meals per day. You must pay separately for any extra menu items (e.g. smoothies, beers, snacks). Please see the accommodation description for more information. Our minimum volunteer commitment is 4 weeks. However, people who wish to volunteer for shorter amounts of time, or get involved in some way can do so by reading to children, playing with them or bringing materials for our class rooms, but are not offered the volunteer discount package.
For long-term volunteers (3+ months), we offer additionally discounted room and board packages.
If you require a private room, we offer a 20% discount on the current room rates (depending on availability) with a 30% discount on menu items.
Please reserve a room for the duration over your stay through the link below, either a dorm included in the 150$/week or a private room at an additional cost:
We can also arrange homestay housing with a local family.
The weekly fee ($150) includes a bed in the shared dorm, 3 meals per day, purified water, and wifi Internet access. Volunteers are housed in the dorms at Hacienda Merida. Any additional food items, such as smoothies, coffee and beer are not included. You will have a bunk bed in a shared room with a fan, a locker for your valuables, and a short walk outside to toilets and showers. Our menu is healthy and varied with many vegetarian and vegan options. Depending on demand, buffets are offered for breakfast and dinner. You can upgrade to a private room with bathroom for additional cost. We can also arrange homestay housing and meals with a local family, if you choose prefer.
Our closest international airport is in Managua, Nicaragua. Use ground transportation to reach Rivas/San Jorge. Flying into Liberia, Costa Rica is also an option. Once landing there, there are public buses that run from Liberia to the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua and then another bus runs from the border to Rivas/San Jorge.
From San Jorge, we recommend two options.
Option 1: Ferry from San Jorge to San Jose del Sur. Ferries depart daily at 9:30AM and 5:00PM. Once on the island, transfer to Merida via taxi (1h, approx. $30 US)
Option 2: Ferry from San Jorge to Moyogalpa. Ferries depart hourly from 7:00AM to 5:45PM. Then, taxi (1h30, approx. $35 US) or public bus (2h30, approx. $1.25). The public buses serving Merida depart Moyogalpa at 8:30AM, 2:30PM, and 4:30PM.