Seeing Nicaragua in color
12/20/2016 12:51PM ● Published by Richard Gaw
During the two years Kennett Square resident Bill Rose spent helping to establish medical facilities in Nicaragua beginning in 2013, there was one thought that never escaped his mind.
It was all about love and appreciation for the Latin American country he was living in, the generosity of its people and the stunning beauty of its landscape.
On one occasion, his good friend Jason Bafile, a photographer, came to visit Rose and his wife Ally in Nicaragua. Together, they roamed beaches that had been nearly devoid of human touch. They explored volcano openings while riding on horseback. They watched the Pacific Ocean tumble over shoreline rocks. They ate fresh, locally sourced food, and “We were up on this mountain near the Christ of Mercy statue, and we thought, 'This is just a pristine area that has not been touched,'” Rose said. “There are so many things happening here. The food is amazing. The people are amazing. How do we put together something that real and authentic, where those who join us here can be connected to local people and receive this incredible experience, so that when they go home, they can look at their own communities a different way?”
“As a photographer, I thought it would be a good experience for people, in the fact that a lot of Nicaragua is untouched,” said Bafile. “I became a landscape photographer, in part, because I love photographing the natural world, so seeing this untouched landscape was awesome. To stand on the precipice of a volcano and look down takes one's breath away. We realized that we just had to share that same experience with other people.”
After nearly two years of planning, See the World in Color: The Nicaragua Experience was launched in February of this year. During that time, Rose, Ally and Bafile have orchestrated three, nine-day trips that have given as many as eight people per trip the journey of a lifetime.
See the World in Color excursions -- supervised by Rose and Bafile -- are intended for those who are looking for more in their vacation than a sedentary experience of lounging around a pool all day. Each excursion includes surfing lessons, exploration of secluded beaches, trips in nearby jungles to look for wild monkeys, beach bonfires, boat rides and horseback riding through jungles and plantations, sunset carriage rides through Colonial Granada, as well as day and night excursions into town for food and fun.
Hotel accommodations include four nights at a luxurious boutique bed and breakfast in San Juan del Sur, and four nights at the famous Mansion de Chocolate in Granada.
While selfies are permitted, there is little need to, because Bafile provides as many as 500 personal photographs for each couple or individual who joins the See the World in Color experience.
“Close to 90 percent of the photos I take on each trip capture couples and individuals in the action of immersing themselves in the journey,” he said. “We encourage everyone to leave their selfie sticks at home, because they're getting professional photos of their entire trip. We want people to experience the moments, while I document the moments. It allows you to connect on a much deeper level.”
As a commitment to the people of Nicaragua, 10 percent of all investments in The Nicaragua Experience are donated to a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping those living in Nicaraguan towns and villages.
These excursions have changed the world views of several people who have embarked on them.
“Not only did I feel connected at the end of my trip, but also from the moment we made our first stop, I truly felt part of the Nicaraguan culture,” wrote one traveler on the company's website. “I wanted to explore, learn and step out of my comfort zone, and See the World in Color was there every step of the way, making sure I did just that!"
At See the World in Color, Ally, Rose and Bafile all bring their own experiences to the company.
“I brought two years living in and knowing the environment and location of Nicaragua, Jason brought his creative flair in terms of documenting and bringing the experience to life, and Ally brought her insight into online business to our travel company,” Rose said.
“When Ally and I lived in Nicaragua, we began to develop friendships with business owners and tour operators, and through that, they began to tell us that we were helping to make their businesses thrive. Consequently, they began to give us opportunities, which allows us to keep our prices at a minimum.”
While See the World in Color exposes the most breathtaking vistas and experiences of Nicaragua to visitors, it's meeting the people of Nicaragua that Rose believes is the most enriching component of the journey.
“We want to break the stereotype of everyone feeling that the safest places in Nicaragua are on a resort,” he said. “We know how amazing and friendly these people are, and how much they want to share their stories with people who are visiting their country. Too many times, our only exposure to locals is through a cab ride or a waiter. In contrast, we're visiting local restaurants and creating daytime and evening scenes that introduce everyone to the fact that Nicaraguans are actually living joyous, happy lives.”
See the World in Color: The Nicaragua Experience is scheduling four excursions in 2017: Feb. 12-20; June 26-July 4; July 10-18; and Nov. 12-20. Nine-day, eight-night excursions are $2,197 per person, based on double occupancy, and $2,497 for single occupancy. Shorter six-day, five-night excursions beginning at $1,697 are currently being planned for the future. Each excursion is limited to no more than 12 guests.
For more information, visit www.seetheworldincolor.com, or visit "See the World in Color" on Facebook.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org .