Nica Eco – “Trip Eve” – night before we leave for a month to Leon, Nicaragua


Let me introduce myself. My name is Chad Hart, I am the founder of – what I feel is

The very first Spanish immersion program for study abroad to Central America that includes not only a nice, eco-tourism edge – it also combines volunteering in Nicaragua.


No, I didn’t fall out of bed and decide to start offer Spanish study abroad as a program. Our “flagship” is the largest provider of US college spring break trips in the United States to South Padre Island, Texas.


We have been “at it” with student travel as a tour operator (not a travel agency that sells a tour operators product but a real honest-to-goodness tour operator for 17 years. Personally, I studied abroad at the Tec de Monterrey in Cuernavaca, Mexico in the late 1990’s for a summer semester program. Now, that’s unthinkable as Mexico is too unsafe.


So, why Nicaragua? Well:


  • It’s tropical with awesome beaches
  • It’s half the cost of Mexico once you arrive
  • It has the lowest crime rate in central America (yep, WAY lower than Costa Rica)
  • It’s not all commercialized nor overrun with Californians pretending to be the next Dylan Graves on a surfboard
  • They speak Spanish (duh! J  )
  • Continental & Delta fly in daily
  • YOU WILL receive college credits by the way!


Finally – the “contra” war or civil war my friends has been over for longer than any college student has been alive (most anyway as it’s been over almost 25 years). Yes, it’s safe.


Also, since I have a MBA (Master in Business Administration) I’m interested in promoting tourism to Nicaragua (for one) and (for two) bringing in sharp US Americans that will spread the word this is a cool place, untouched, and tourism will spark their economy to give them a much better way of life.


NicaEco also will be the first Spanish program in Nicaragua that is INTUR certified by the Government. INTUR is more or less a laundry list of criteria you need to operate in Nicaragua. For a so called “third world country” it’s really impressive. Things like a required capital investment, full time employee, a physical office, a vehicle, etc in my mind all lend a lot of credibility to anyone that is INTUR certified.


I also believe NicaEco is the first of its kind study abroad program in that is put together by a tour operator rather than a language school, a university, some college professor (or worse some college kid that just thought central America was cool) nor by some huge online consortium that is offering ever single possible destination to study in. (jack of all trades, master of none)


Here’s the thing: we don’t want to travel all college students that want to study Spanish abroad. We just want to travel the ones that are considering Nicaragua. Put us on your radar.




So, back to this blog – the “eve of the trip” for a month in central America. I woke up at 6 a.m. and have been going non stop. It’s now almost midnight. I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to get my son Miller ready (yep, our 14 month is coming too) and my wife Julie.


Julie speaks practically no Spanish. This makes her more brave than I, as I am fairly proficient. It also shows her loyalty to my entrepreneurial spirit that I love dearly about her. I believe she will/would follow me to all ends of the earth to pursue my idiotic travel goals.


So, what’s the weirdest thing I packed you asked? I book on the Great Depression. I’ll tell you if it sucks before I list the title, ok?


Tomorrow, we arrive in Nicaragua to be greeted by our ground handler Phillip Southan with Big Foot Hostel & Green Pathways. Phillip is a super cool dude from Barbados I met somehow the very first time I went to Nicaragua in 2006. This guy knows a ton about Leon, Nicaragua where we are going to operate.


Anymore, more on Leon, and our adventure that is about to begin tomorrow from our house Casa Leones about 4 blocks from the square in Leon. How odd you can go to bed the same day and in 12 hours you are sitting almost at the equator in your second home?


Chad “Chadillac” Hart


About nicaeco chadillac

My name is Chad Hart, the Principal & Founder of, the largest college spring break tour company for US trips in the USA. We also have a division for study abroad to Nicaragua called which focus on eco-travel to Nicaragua studying spanish & volunteering for local foundations. I LOVE Nicaragua, surfing, exploring new places & more. I am married to my wonderful wife Julie, and we have a 1 year old son named Miller Hart.

Posted on July 6, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi my son,Chad,Julie & My PRECIOUS Grandson,Miller ,
    It is 2:30 a.m. I can’t sleep so reading my son blog- I love it its very interesting especially because I had NO idea Chad was going ON THIS GREAT ADVENTURE OF THIS NEW ENTERPRIZE. I miss you alrealy & its only been 10 days since I heard from you all.. HUGS & LOVE MOM & DAVID

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