El Jardin de la Vida is an educational center focused on helping people learn to live a more sustainable life. We are passionate about natural building, gardening, and slow food. If you are interested in learning more about how you can slow down in your life, work more with your hands and find time to appreciate all you have, come visit us. We are happy to welcome you as a guest, as a student or as a volunteer. 

Located on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua we provide an authentic experience in a remote tropical location. Experience the magic of twin volcanoes rising from Central America’s largest lake. Our project is located 2.5 km outside of Balgue in a community called Punta Gorda. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature and rural living, this is the place for you. We have a beautiful garden that attracts thousands of butterflies and young fruit trees spread along throughout the property, as well as a privileged lake access just across the road, which makes for a beach during the dry season. Use our kayaks or Stand Up Paddleboard and ride through the calm clear waters of Lake Nicaragua, or just dive in and refresh yourself after a day of work. 

Join us to experience the satisfaction you can find living a slow life.

To find out more please go to www.eljardinometepe.com

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Private: Workshops

We offer workshops in Natural Building, Solar Energy, and Slow Living Retreats. We also conduct a number of Community Development Projects focused on small but meaningful building projects in the homes of neighbors and workers. Ranging from three days to ten days, our workshops provide a solid introduction to sustainability and off-grid living.  

Workshop prices include food, lodging, instruction and course materials. Standard accommodation is provide in our dormitory. For upgrades to our private rooms or home-stay options please contact us directly at eljardinometepe@gmail.com

Solar Energy Workshop 

Are you thinking about making the switch to solar but don’t know where to start? Are you overwhelmed by the choices available for solar panels, batteries,  or inverters? We offer a three day introductory course outlining the basic components that make up a home system. You will learn about the current products available and trends in the solar industry. At the end of the three days you will have all the information you need to design your own system based on your personal energy consumption and budget so you can make an informed buying decision.  

Natural Building Workshop

We offer a ten day workshop covering a variety of natural building techniques with a focus on building out of earth. We provide an introduction to multiple approaches to natural building. In the hands on portion of this workshop we will be working with cob, wattle and daub, finishing plasters and paints, and adobe floors. We have a number of projects in differing stages of completion on the property that enable the students to explore many different aspects of earthen construction.

Community Development Projects

We believe in giving back to our community. During these projects we focus our energy on small projects that can provide big improvements in the lives of our neighbors. Examples of what this may involve are building a clean burning stove from cob for a local family or improving sanitation by constructing  better bathroom facilities for a home. By keeping the scope of theses projects small, it provides an opportunity for you to make a real impact in a short amount of time.

Slow Living Retreat

Are you looking for a way to escape the hustle and bustle of your life? Do you want to connect with other people who are interested in slowing down? Come join us for our slow living retreat and learn more about how you can find a way to have balance in your life and a greater appreciation for what you have. During this retreat we will discuss how embracing ideas like slow food, minimalism and mindfulness can help you bring gratitude back to your daily life. We also provide an introduction to off grid living, permaculture and natural building. But remember, this is about slowing down so there will be plenty of time to relax in a hammock, kayak on the lake and just appreciate the slow pace of life that Ometepe offers. 

Private: Volunteer opportunities

Building the cob oven

Adventurous souls, come live the dream and help us maintain our remote sustainable eco-retreat. Immerse yourself in nature, permaculture community, and the magic of Ometepe- Isla de Paz.

We are Trevor and Rachael, two Americans who arrived on Ometepe 7 years ago and fell in love with the beauty and tranquility of this island of peace. Since then we have laughed and cried, played and worked with friends from all over the world as we struggled through the adventure of finding land and developing it, leaving the island and returning with our daughter Aurora to realize our dream of raising our family in this magical place.

Two years ago we successfully opened a small eco-hostel that enabled us to generate additional resources for continued investment in our dream of living our life off our land. Unfortunately, because of the current political climate, Nicaraguan tourism has fallen to virtually nothing. However, through out this situation Ometepe has remained calm and we are determined to weather this crisis and help support our Nicaraguan neighbors who welcomed us so warmly into the community. The hostel remains open to all guest who choose to join us, though we are running with a skeleton staff and limited services.

We are looking for hard working, adventurous souls to come and join us to keep the faith alive. As resources are slim, we need help with all aspects of our day to day operations. Currently, we are nearing completion of our cob house, working harder than ever to maximize the production of our gardens and hoping the tourists return. Whether you have a just a short time or are looking to invest your time in something greater we can find something for you to do here.

We’ll offer you free accommodation, access to our kitchen and access to our kayaks and SUPs in exchange for 4 hours a day of labor 5 days a week. While you are with us you have the opportunity to learn about cob construction, earthen and lime plasters, natural paints, cooking with fresh, local, tropical ingredients, bread and pasta making, fermentation and food preservation, permaculture and other forms of organic gardening, animal husbandry, groundscaping, water management, solar energy and general off the grid living. Our remote location immerses you in nature and allows you to interact with the local community to experience true rural Ometepe life.  Ometepe continues to remain an oasis of calm in these troubled times.

Most people wake up with sun and enjoy a cup of delicious island grown coffee that we roast on site. We motivate early to complete our tasks before the heat of the day. Lunch is around noon leaving you with plenty of free time in the afternoon. We have heaps of hammocks to lounge in and you are welcome to read one of the many books in our extensive library. The lake is right across the street and the water is the perfect temperature to cool off after a hot day’s work. Swim out to our floating dock or go for a paddle with the kayaks or SUPs. In the evenings people congregate in common area to enjoy cold drinks and communal meals. Our wide selection of games and international crowd creates dynamic energy that you can be part of. But make sure you remember to take time to appreciate the incredible star gazing and fireflies by the lake. For essentials, we have a small shop next door offering basic snacks and dry goods.  Balgue, our closest town, is 2.5 km away easily accessible by bus, bike or foot. In Balgue you will find the trail head to climb Volcan Maderas, as well as a number of small shops and restaurants. On your days off you are free to explore all Ometepe has to offer and we are happy to help you arrange anything while you are with us.

Local transportation is operating at 100% on the island. All busses here are running normally. Ferries run all day to bring you to and from the island.  The ferry schedules are changing weekly so be sure to confirm the most updated schedule and plan to arrive early. We are happy to help you arrange any aspect of your journey and can help you organize a private shuttle to provide safe reliable transportation if you prefer.

If you have an adventurous spirit and an inquisitive soul come and be a part of this community and learn for yourself the allure of the Isla de Paz, beautiful Ometepe Island.

What a great bunch!

Phone: +505 8492-6990 Claro Whatsapp                   +505 2520 4160 Claro

Email: eljardinometepe@gmail.com

Where we are located