Central America

Frontier

After several bus rides and a boat trip we arrived on the island of Omotepe. We stayed in the Hostel Magdalena which had beautiful views over the volcano and Lake Nicaragua. Whilst on Omotepe we visited the picturesque fresh water beach where we chilled out in the sun and went for a swim in the clear blue waters. We had lunch in a cosy beach side café and lazed around in hammocks for the rest of the day, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. Our journey continued to the colonial town of Granada which had a bustling central square full of street sellers selling colourful jewellery and ornaments. We stayed in Hospedaje Central which had large comfortable dorms. Whilst in Granada we enjoyed a guided Kayak tour on the Laguna Apoyo, sightseeing round the town and enjoyed the traditional Nicaraguan dances and local music in the nearby bars. We then continued to Leon on the local ‘chicken bus’. We stayed in a fantastic hostel, called Bigfoot, which had a really relaxed atmosphere. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to go volcano boarding, after a long and tiring trek to the top of the volcano dragging our boards up with us we were rewarded by breathtaking views. We all boarded down the volcano, which was very scary but exhilarating. Some of us were better at it than others and one or two of us had a couple of tumbles but it was all good fun.

The night life in Leon is fantastic with there being numerous bars to enjoy the party atmosphere in. We all danced the night away to lots of Spanish tunes before crawling back into our comfy beds at Bigfoot.

We then headed up into the hills of Miraflor for our conservation project. Over the next three weeks we visited three different locations - Centro de Gestion, Finca Esmeralda and Orro Verde. During this time, we did daily birding sessions for an hour every morning and evening. Amongst others, we sighted many grackles, hummingbirds, toucans, flycatchers and vultures. We also performed daily butterfly catching sessions to compare their relative abundance and distribution between the three different areas. Also, whilst in Miraflor, we enjoyed a day of horse ridding with a local guide. The trip was very enjoyable and we were each given a delightful placid horse and spent six hours in the saddle. We trekked through the dense picturesque Nicaraguan forest and splashed through rivers - we had a lovely day, although we ached a bit afterwards! In Miraflor we were lucky enough to be able to bathe in the beautiful crystal clear waterfalls. After the boiling hot trek to the waterfall it was so refreshing to cool off in the icy cold waters. At the last location, Orro Verde, we went on a guided tour of the communities organic coffee plantations, which was very interesting and gave us an insight into how the coffee plants are grown, whilst in the cloud forest, local families cooked for us. We enjoyed a combination of rice, potatoes, beans, eggs, plantain and tortillas for breakfast and tea. We were also taught by the local women how to make tortillas which was great fun although quite a long process. After recharging our batteries in Leon we travelled to Utila, which is one of the bay islands on the Caribbean.

Frontier voluntiers training for PADI Open Water certificationWhilst in Utila, we all decided to work for our PADI Open Water certificate. Obtaining the PADI qualification involved taking a written exam and completing lots of practical work under the water. Scuba diving was one of the best experiences ever and the feeling of being under water is like being in a whole different world. We were meters away from colourful fish, breathtaking coral and enormous sea turtles. We would all recommend the experience to everyone. The nightlife on Utila was almost as exciting as the diving and there was one particularly impressive bar called Treetanic which was built around a tree and had mosaic design inside it. It was beautiful!

We then travelled to the tranquil town of Copan where the cobbled streets and beautiful countryside made for a very relaxing couple of days. We also visited the Copan ruins and had a guided tour, which gave us an interesting insight into the Mayan culture and history. After our relaxing stay in Copan we headed for the bustling town of Antigua. We spent all day looking around the exciting street stalls and buying unique gifts for friends and family. We than caught a boat across Lago Atitlan to San Pedro. We spent a cool three days there chilling out (or hotting up!) in thermal pools, kayaking on the beautiful lake and relaxing in the hippy hangouts. We then travelled through Coban to Semuc Champey. We visited the natural pools which were amazing - they were all connected by waterfalls and we spent hours relaxing in the sun by the clear waters. Finally, we went tubing, which was very exhilarating but got us soaking wet!

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 20, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

My 6 weeks on the frontier trail were amazing. It's my first trip to central america and having just finished university i wanted to go on a group trip and preferably one with some volunteering involved. The adventure travel part was fun and we took part in lots of activities in Mexico and Guatemala including diving, other water sports and various cultural experiences. The volunteering part was teaching primary age children in a school in honduras. i really enjoyed it and would have happily spent another week or two there.
Some of my fellow trail people are now heading off to costa rica to do the wildlife conservation and i kind of wish i was going to, but all in all it's been a great 6 weeks.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 20, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Just reached Costa Rica with the trail, and looking forward to a month at the rainforest conservation camp. It's been a blast so far, visiting three different Mayan sites, in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. We've been diving, volcano boarding, trekking, tubing and lots more. I'm loving my group and the trail leader and wish it wouldn't end!

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 11, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

The project is excellently managed and when participating you can see the reasons for all the surveys you do. The staff work tirelessly to ensure you get the most out of the project.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 10, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I thoroughly enjoyed the Ethical Adventure Trail and am therefore pleased overall with my experience. The countries we visited, activities we did and the people we met were brilliant.

I could not fault the trail leader from start to finish. Her travelling experience and Spanish were indispensable. She was also friendly, fun and compassionate which I found to be essential when I was unwell. The trail would not have been the same without her!

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 10, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Best aspects of the project:
-location of base camp, beautiful and lots of potential to become an enjoyable place to live.
-access to preservation zone of the reef, incredible to be able to see relatively unspoilt marine life
-being able to come to the south island and meet locals
-flexibility in the project and being able to have a say in what we did during the week/made for dinner etc.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Central America
Posted: Oct 10, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I was extremely dissatisfied with the service I have received from frontier, THEY ARE CRIMINALS AND THE EXPEDITION IS A SCAM!

Below i have summarised my issues with Frontier:

Firstly, the website is very poorly laid out and caused many stresses when areas I needed to complete and things I needed to apply for kept on appearing with no warning - Ie the medical forms. (hidden by the bottom of a page titled something completely different)

Also the 'support' was pathetic, essentially we were just pointed in directions, told they could not answer our questions and told to pay ever more money.

My partner (upon arriving back in the UK was diagnosed as having salmonella) was extremely ill for weeks on the trip and Frontiers 'medical assistance' was nowhere to be seen when some days he was too weak to get out of bed.

Secondly, our trip was all but ruined by our tour guide for the following reasons:

Our leader was essentially socially inept, and made it VERY difficult to enjoy ourselves, this got to the extent that when people realised we were travelling with him they would actually actively apologise.

Our leader chosen by frontier acted very unprofessionally by firstly getting a tattoo in a hostel in our first few days in Mexico.

He would start drinking some days by 11AM - when neither I nor Kipp are really drinkers so felt uncomfortable when he kept pressuring us to join him.

He was smoking weed midday in a hostel which forbade drugs (in a county where drugs are socially hated, and are plauged by drug related crimes and gang culture/violence) whilst my partner and I were very ill and needed some support (food poisoning).

He further behaved inappropriately by taking the numbers of school girls in La Ceiba and bragging about them 'fancying him', just to clarify, these are underage girls, who were put in his care in a school. Trust which he instantly abused.

Making one girl in particular who was barely 16 very uncomfortable to the extent she had to simply ignore him, when he told her she "could be a model" and made several other statements about her appearance and body, and then ccntinued to buy her alcohol against her mothers wishes. (and specific wishes not to do so).

Constantly borrowing money from us and conveniently forgetting to pay us back. Not to mention this 'group' expedition was just myself and my partner trapped 24/7 with such an insufferable individual.

I have been absolutely revolted by all of this behaviour in a county where drugs are such an issue, and to behave in such a way that it made myself, my partner,and others so uncomfortable.

I paid nearly 2000 pounds to frontier towards this trip, that is nearly 257 hours work for me and Im absolutely REVOLTED that the whole trip cost me more than £4000.00 in costs including flights and Visas, and spending money. Yet all I received in return was two measly meals a day, accommodation worth nothing, to be led around by an insufferable individual and to be shipped around on buses. I totalled that it can't have cost more than 500 pounds to keep me out there, and that's a profit of around 1200 pounds. It was an ABSOLUTE SCAM and if I could go back and cancel it I would.

I understand that profit has to be made, of course I under they are a business. But to so grossly take such a huge amount of money from people who worked so hard to achieve the funds to go on this trip.

I don't want to have a responce from Frontier claiming all the humanitarian and ecological work my money is supporting. I went and volunteered in the school, there I saw them hit a child with a broom, and put a baby In a bin bag (blocking all breathing, and laughing as they watched) and neglect these children. If Frontier are using my money to support this then they are equally as criminal.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Central America
Posted: Sep 16, 2017
Overall:
2
Support:
1
Value:
2

Spanish Abroad

Learn Spanish with dedicated tutors through Skype. https://nativemonks.com/spanish-classes

Program: TEFL
Location: Central America
Posted: Mar 22, 2017
Overall:
7
Support:
8
Value:
9

Frontier

I recently took part in the six week Central America trail and I'm now spending 4 weeks in a Frontier animal conservation camp in the Costa Rican jungle. The trail itself was probably the best traveling experience I have ever had! In terms of the amount of activities, sites and traveling we did- you never had a moment to be bored. Everyday was different and we were always looking forward to the next thing. I think that was probably what made it so enjoyable for me, the fact that we did such a wide range of things; including, cave exploring with candles, volcano boarding, boat to urs, kayaking, river rafting, surfing, volcano climbing and so much more! One of our most incredible ventures was visiting the Tikal Mayan temples before dawn, in time to watch the sunrise from the top of a temple! I think all of us are yet to still get over the immensity of the moment! It was also so much fun becoming part of such a close knit group and sharing the once in a life time experiences, including our trail leader we made a group of six and got to know each other so well.. The good and the bad! Definitely made friends for life that I would never of met otherwise, that also have a love for traveling! All in all I have no regrets and can only fully recommend going traveling with Frontier, as you will not be disappointed. Not just that, but if you have the chance I truly recommend you volunteer on one of Frontiers camps, as not only is it an amazing additional experience, but it's also humbling to see where your money is going and what you are helping Frontier to achieve. I hope this helps anyone that is undecided in joining frontier to explore the world!

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Feb 25, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
8

Frontier

I took part in the 10 week Central America Trail where I traveled from Mexico City through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and ended in Costa Rica for the forest project. I enjoyed the trail the places we visited were varied ranging from colonial towns to eco lodges in national parks. I got on well with the group that was on the trail and we were all of a similar age. Moving from country to country and town to town was hassle free due to the excellent organisation of our trail leader Henry. I also felt safe throughout the whole trip and was happy with the information given about different activities and sight seeing in each place we visited.

Down sides, although I would recommend the trail overall there were a few things about it that let it down for me the value for money was not great the standards of the hostels were very good and most of the transport was good too but It was difficult to see where most of the money I had paid for the trip was going as Frontier is a 'none profit' organisation. The way 2 meals a day were included for 5 days a week was strange and I think this should be scrapped completely. The only other negative from me was the lack of flexibility with regards to how long I could stay in each place but this was to be expected with it being a tour.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Central America
Posted: Jun 8, 2015
Overall:
7
Support:
10
Value:
6

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