Keep Giving Thanks

November has been an emotional month.  The recent presidential elections in the United States and Nicaragua have stirred up emotions and feelings of uncertainty about the future of both countries.

One thing is clear, we’re experiencing a season of change. And in times of change, it’s often helpful to name and rededicate ourselves to the causes making a positive impact in our local community.

So this Thanksgiving I’m giving thanks to these grass roots organizations dedicated to educating and empowering locals.

photo credit // Rancho Chilamate

photo credit // Rancho Chilamate

1. Therapeutic riding lessons at Rancho Chilamate.

Rancho Chilamate is now providing therapeutic horseback riding lessons to the students with disabilities at Manos Unidas.  “We believe that horseback riding is a uniquely powerful therapy for individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities”, says Alex Johnson, the head horse trainer at Rancho Chilamate and internationally certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor.  Each month the students visit the ranch, gear up like cowboys and learn about horsemanship.  For these students, it’s love at first sight.

2. The social impact shop at the Garden Cafe in Granada.

Xiomara Diaz, the co-founder of The Garden Café and The Garden Shop, believes that the best way to protect and empower Nicaraguan girls is through the development of life skills, education, mentorship programs and access to a network of role models. The Garden Shop sells handmade products from NGO’s and women’s co-ops around the country.  All product sales contribute to these important projects and campaigns.


3. Accessible higher education at Escuela Adelante.

Jamie Hunter and co-founding director Carrie Valladares continue to bring higher education programs to San Juan del Sur.  Their supplemental “Program Destino” education program at Escuela Adelante is accessible, impactful and attracts more students each year.  The school is committed to supporting the unique needs of each student – whether that means preparing for university or a successful career as an entrepreneur in San Juan del Sur.

4. The Casa Llanta Fund is giving away scholarships.

Under the organization of Comunidad Connect, the Casa Llanta Fund is giving away scholarships to kids in the community of El Carizal.  The program originally started with funds raised from the Pitaya Festival and has managed to sustain itself through private donors. As of January 2016 there were 7 students on scholarship with plans to support more students into 2017.

photo credit // Auric

photo credit // Auric

5. Auric surf apparel improves lives with every purchase.

Auric’s custom designed clothing is inspired by and made in Nicaragua. It’s wildly popular among local surfers and tourists who …wish they could surf. People buy their clothes because their trendy shop offers the perfect outfit for everyday wear in Nicaragua. But what most don’t realize is that with every purchase Auric gives back to local charities.  Employing locals, empowering women and supporting grass-roots NGO’s in the community of San del Sur is the core of their social mission.

At San Juan Live, we are thankful to all the businesses in San Juan del Sur that incorporate social responsibility into their business model and contribute to the sustainable development of Nicaragua. 

Please look out for our upcoming holiday fundraising campaign to support local NGO’s over the holiday season and into 2017.

How about you?

Whether or not Thanksgiving is one of your holiday traditions, we’d love for you to take a minute to tell us what you’re thankful for.


  1. Paula Denmon says:

    Hello Brooke, I am thankful that I found your site today and was able to read the many ways that I can be of service, and enjoy the laid back, peaceful retirement that I am seeking. I will be visiting my friend, Renda Hewitt, who owns Green Acres (Never a Bad Day) bed and breakfast in SJDS. I certainly will read and study everything that you send me, and have many questions when I visit January 16th – 24th. I was planning to work part time here for a couple of more years, but the disappointment and depression caused by the Presidential election is making me think of moving this date up.
    I am a retired real estate agent, 70 years old, reasonably good health and determined to have one more adventure to enjoy and serve.
    I raised, and rode horses for 25 plus years, and have worked with therapeutic riding groups before. I also have a degree in Interior Design/ Architecture and minor in English. Would love to use this to help students. I must learn conversational Spanish, and will be reaching out for advice in that regard.
    I hope that I will be able to speak with during my trip. Perhaps you can even suggest an area to consider to rent. My income is 1500/ mo. with additional funds from Keller Williams profit share in varying amounts. sometimes $10, sometimes $500. I do not want to rent an expensive place because I want to enjoy other things, and be able to help people and animals whenever possible. As I am here working in my PT job, licensed sales of Medicare plans for United Health Care on thanksgiving, I am happy that the job demand is low and I was able to connect with you. Never know what thankful situation will turn up on any day. today it was you. Looking forward to your information.. will also subscribe to your online travel magazine when I can use a credit card. can barely with for January 15.