Rio Indio – Costa Rica Nicaragua - Medical & Dental Relief

Rio Indio – Costa Rica Nicaragua

May 23, 2020 - May 31, 2020

Join For As Little As: 3,550*

  • $3,550 - No discounts or rebates

  • See More Info below for full details and additional options for travel

IMR Signature Trip
IMR Signature Trips always have something special!  This Signature Trip includes lodging at a five-star eco-lodge, specially designed evening activities, gourmet food, and the opportunity to care for the indigenous Rama tribe.  You will travel along some of the most beautiful waterways in the world; keep a sharp eye out for birds and a few crocodiles along the way! The location of the Rio Indio Lodge in this region of Costa Rica and Nicaragua is ideal for sport fishing and more than 600 species of birds and 200 species of wild animals, natural springs and much more, and you will provide care for people lacking access to medical and dental care AND have the adventure of a lifetime!

About The Mission Trip

trip_InfoAboutAfter landing in vibrant Costa Rica, you will be transported by boat to Nicaragua's tropical rainforest region. You will be staying in one of the most ecologically diverse environments of the world. The medical team will travel to the Rama Indian tribes and other nearby communities to set up clinics. Each morning the team will venture out on guided boats, traveling on rivers famous for world-class fishing, to reach these nearby large communities as well as the more isolated locations throughout the rainforest. Following the clinic, IMR’s team will return to their accommodation: a state of the art, exclusive lodge, where private cottages are connected via bridged paths that wind through the Amazon rainforest.

Housing a minimum of 44% of the plant species and 35% of vertebrate species on Earth, Nicaragua’s rain forest is considered a biodiversity hotspot of Mesoamerica. Embrace the opportunity to be immersed in this tropical ecosystem, as this area is in danger of being lost, like so many of our natural rainforests.

About Clinic

trip_InfoClinicThe growth in the Bluefields area has expanded beyond the ability of the medical structure to care for their patients. IMR works in town to help offset the overload of patients from the continual growth in this area and travels by boat to see the indigenous groups that rarely receive medical care or any outside visitors. It is an honor to receive the patient's trust and be allowed into this region to provide medical care.

IMR’s focus on health education and acute medical and dental care will serve your patients well: you will see many patients for wound care, respiratory infections, and fungal infections. Rotavirus, giardiasis, ascariasis, and other infectious diseases are common, much of which can be prevented through your team’s focus on preventing disease with education.  You will also see the encroachment of society upon this tribe. In fact, the lodge that we stay at is dedicated to working hand in hand with the Rama to maintain the health of the rainforest and helping to prepare the Rama for the future with skills for the outside world. You will help first hand in making the Rama you see to be healthier - please join us!    

Transportation & Lodging

trip_InfoLodgingThe Río Indio Adventure Lodge is considered a Birding Paradise due to the great variety of species and families in a relatively small area. Resting on the banks of the San Juan River, it is surrounded by 640,000 acres of rainforest at the Rio Maíz National Park, the largest rainforest north of the Amazon Jungle.  

After a successful day in clinic, your team will return to your state-of-the-art, exclusive lodge where private cottages are connected via bridged paths winding through the rainforest. Adventure seekers on your team can take in a nightly stroll to look for crocodiles, search for caimans from the lodge boats, look for the loud yet elusive howler monkeys, hold and hug a sloth, or try paddle boarding and world-class fishing. Others might enjoy reading in a hammock swing, journaling from your spacious private cottage deck rocking chair, swimming in the infinity pool or waterways, or taking nature hikes to spot unique plants, flowers, and creatures such as the beautiful poison dart frog.  Spend some quiet time in your private rainforest cottage, reflecting on the day and watching the sunset. For those in between active and restful, do some birding--toucans, jacanas, ibis, and spectacular owls don’t even begin to name all of the birds seen at the resort.

After this, you will be ready for dinner: local fare is served with a 5-star gourmet touch and with a spectacular assortment of local fruits, local fish, and remarkable desserts which will not disappoint.  Wake up to a lovely breakfast buffet each morning. At clinic the lodge will cater your simple but flavorful lunch; it arrives by boat just as you did.

For those of you flying independently, you can book your flights to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua which is quite close to the resort. For more adventurous travel, book your flights to San Jose, Costa Rica. From there it is approximately 2 hours by bus and 3 -5 hours by boat. You are going on a real adventure on this trip!  

Trip Highlights

trip_InfoHighlightsThe Rama Indians are in a fight for their lives. Known as the “Guardians of the Forest”, they fiercely protect the surrounding rainforest from commercialization and industrialization.  Many of the Rama who come to clinic will have paddled 10 hours against the current of the river to reach your medical team - all in a traditional dugout canoe, hand-carved from a single log.  The Rama, frequently penniless, do not generally have the means to travel extensive distances to seek the limited health care typically offered. If you watch closely, you may see small wooden canoes tied up to a larger barge for a tow against the current. If you look even closer, you may see a sloth or two observing you from the forest!  The highlight of this trip is caring for the Rama. This is IMR’s annual trip to the Rio Indio; the Rama have captured our hearts as we know they will capture yours.  

Extend Your Stay


You’re journeying halfway across the globe, have you considered extending your stay to visit some of Nicaragua’s top spots? Join International Medical Relief on an exclusive trip extension provided by our partner, Worldwide Navigators!

Big Corn Island, a lush, rustic and still mostly unsettled paradise
The endless beaches and neighborhood trails lined with fresh fruit trees on Little Corn Island
A charming bungalow stay on the virgin shorelines of the Corn Islands

Click here to view the itinerary!

Ready for the adventure? Connect with Worldwide Navigators today!

Trip Itinerary

This itinerary is subject to change without notice.

Please note:  Independent flight arrangements should not be made until after the group flight is booked.  You will be notified about the group flight at the Early Bird deadline. If you are planning on flying independently and want to book your flight in advance, please contact Worldwide Navigators at for the most up-to-date trip information before you book your independent flight.

May 23, 2020 - Arrivals

You and the team will fly into the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica on the evening of May 23rd. You will stay the night in San Jose prior to your day of travel up to the Indio Maiz Natural Reserve in Nicaragua! Please be sure to arrive by 8:00 pm in San Jose so you have enough time to get acquainted with your team and attend the required clinic orientation.

Meals: Dinner

May 24, 2020 - Transfer to Rio Indio

Wake up early for breakfast at your hotel in San Jose then meet your bus outside that will transfer you up to the Costa Rica - Nicaragua border. You and the team will be going through customs and passport control again as you enter Nicaragua, so please have your passport accessible. After crossing the border, get read for an adventure as you all board small motor boats that will carry you up the Rio San Juan River. Have your camera handy - you won’t want to miss the colorful bird and iguanas you pass on your way through the lush rainforest in Nicaragua.

Upon arrival to the Rio Indio Lodge, drop off your belongings in your room and explore the grounds with your team. Staying in this eco-friendly lodge will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

May 25 - 29, 2020 - Clinic

Wake up to breakfast provided to you at the lodge, then ride up river each day to work in town to help offset the overload of patients from the continual growth in this area. You will be serving communities in Bluefields, Nicaragua and also indigenous groups that rarely receive medical care or any outside visitors are also a very special highlight for any volunteer. In clinic, you will focus on health education and acute medical and dental care. You will see many patients for wound care, respiratory infections, and fungal infections. Rotavirus, giardiasis, ascariasis, and other infectious diseases are common.

After closing clinic, depart back to the lodge for dinner and wildlife spotting. Keep an eye out for the lodge's’ “pet” crocodile.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

May 30, 2020 - Transfer to San Jose

Enjoy breakfast at the lodge for one more morning and then pack your things to head back to Costa Rica. Upon arrival in San Jose, you and the team will stay in a hotel near the airport for departures the following day. Take advantage of your overnight in San Jose and venture into the city to experience the nightlife in town.

If you are planning to extend your stay on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, you will be free to leave anytime on May 30th. You won’t want to miss the crystal clear water and thriving reefs off the coast.

Contact Worldwide Navigators to Extend your Stay!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

May 31, 2020 - Departures

You and the team will be free to depart from San Jose, Costa Rica anytime on May 31. We hope you enjoy your time in Nicaragua!!

Meals: Breakfast



Trip Donation & Flight Options

Pay 2,225 and complete your application to secure your place as a TEAM MEMBER!

Payments / Requirements & Earlybird Discount

How much do I need to pay?

Cost Per Volunteer: $3,550

Before Feb 14th, 2020: 3,350

  • Pay 2,225 of the total cost by the Early Bird date AND upload/complete all of your required documents and forms receive $200 off the cost of your trip.  
  • Meeting this goal ensures that your space on the team is confirmed
  • You are an EARLY BIRD!  
  • Payment in full is due by May 2nd, 2020

After Feb 14th, 2020: 3,550

  • To confirm your space on the team: Pay 2,225 of the total cost AND upload all of your required documents and forms!  
  • Space on our teams is on a first come/first serve basis.  Your space is not reserved until you have met these requirements.  
  • Payment in full is due by May 2nd, 2020
  • Unfortunately, eligibility for the $200 savings on this trip is no longer available after Feb 14th, 2020.

Flexible Flight Options

Is group airfare available through IMR?

Before Feb 14th, 2020:  YES! IMR will arrange your international flight on a "group" ticket at your request!

  • Domestic and international airfare is NOT included in the published cost of the trip.
  • Pay 2,225 of the total cost AND upload all of your required documents and forms to be eligible to fly on the international group ticket.
  • Submit your flight choice as “economical” or “premier” in your account.
  • Approve the ticket that IMR is going to purchase on your behalf and complete the purchase with IMR's approved travel agency.
  • The cost of airport transfers are included in the cost of your ticket!

After Feb 14th, 2020: You may still be able to join the group flight on a space-available basis only

    • Pay 2,225 of the total cost AND upload all of your required documents and forms by Feb 14th, 2020
    • Contact the office to see if group tickets are still available.
    • Submit your flight choice as “economical” or “premier”, approve the ticket, and complete the purchase with IMR's approved travel agency.  
    • The cost of airport transfers are included in the cost of your ticket!
    • You will need to purchase your domestic roundtrip ticket after your international flight is ticketed and confirmed.
May I purchase my own international flights?

Yes! Purchasing your own international flights provide you with maximum travel flexibility! 

  • Some trips may require an international flight and a domestic flight in country to meet the team.
  • You are required to meet the IMR team at the designated time and location per the trip itinerary
  • Submit your flight choice as “independent”.
  • You have many options for extending your stay including extended stays available through IMR’s preferred travel agency, Worldwide Navigators
  • If you would like to request airport transfers at an additional cost, please click on the link to send an email to the IMR office.

Extended Stays - Trip of a lifetime!!

May I book an extended stay through IMR if I choose the group flight?


Contact Worldwide Navigators to see your options

May I book an extended stay through IMR if I choose to book my own tickets?


Sleeping the way you want to!

What are the sleeping arrangements?
  • Triple or double twin bed rooms are standard on IMR trips. This is part of our safety and security policies.
  • Each volunteer has their own bed (no shared beds outside of couples). 
  • Let  the IMR Office know if you are a family or couple.  We always try to accommodate our volunteer’s needs!  Please use the link to email our office. 
  • IMR does not discriminate in any way – please let us know your rooming needs.  
  • Please understand if we are unable to accommodate your specific needs based on availability at the hotel or lodging on your trip. 
Are single rooms available?


  • Contact the IMR Office to find out if single rooms are available and at what cost
  • Standard IMR sleeping arrangements are double or triple rooms, twin beds

Sleeping the way you want too!!

Travel Assistance

If you would like help booking flights, hotels, extended stays, and more contact Worldwide Navigators at (970) 633-3033.


IMR provides a personal and customizable fundraising page to all registered trip applicants.  We provide a fundraising packet that is full of ideas on how you can raise support or supplies to be utilized on this specific mission.  You may download this information and individual items such as letters requesting support, our 501(c)3 information, and a list of needed supplies from your Volunteer Resources page.  When soliciting donations for any of our trips, your personal story is your most powerful tool.  Why do you want to go? Whom will you help?  How will your donors help you achieve your ultimate goal?  Tell your story to anyone and everyone. Refer your potential or active donors to your IMR personal fundraising page by sharing your unique URL on social media, via email, and through personal contact.  Give your supporters our website and Facebook page so they can see the great things that IMR has accomplished since our founding in 2002.  Did you know we have cared for almost 300,000 patients in the last 16 years?  We need your help and the help of your donors to see 300,000 more patients in the years ahead!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the donation amount include?

The donation amount INCLUDES:

  • Transportation, Accommodations and Meals after joining the IMR team at the designated meeting location in country
  • Cultural activity outlined in itinerary
  • Clinic supplies & medications for patients

You may choose to join an economical or premier group flight, priced at the time the tickets are purchased.  You will receive details regarding the group flight at your trips earlybird deadline.  For more information please contact our preferred travel agency Worldwide Navigators - 

NOT included in the donation amount:

  • Domestic and International Airfare
  • Passport fees, visa fees, and transit fees, including baggage or overnight accommodations/meals while in transit
  • Travel Insurance
  • Malpractice Insurance
What will the team be doing on the trip?

IMR teams provide medical and dental care and community health education to communities that lack access to care. A typical IMR team consists of doctors, dentists, and advanced practice providers, nurses, EMTs, medical/dental/nursing students, pre-med students, and non-medical volunteers.  The team makeup for your trip is not guaranteed to be as described above and is dependent on the individual volunteers who make up your team.  The team usually stays in a central location and travels each day to a different community to set up a mobile medical and dental clinic. In order to promote lasting and sustainable improvements in the health of those communities, IMR conducts an extensive community health education program, teaching about prevention and treatment in small groups and during individual consultations with providers. No matter what your specialty or skill level, there is a job for you on an IMR trip!

Can I fundraise for the trip?

Yes!  Many volunteers fundraise for trips.  You can find information and tips on how to fundraise on your Volunteer Resources page on the IMR website.  You will have access to a personal fundraising page with a unique URL that you can share with family, friends, business associates, and any potential donors via social media.   IMR is a 501(c)3 charity, and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Are there any important dates I need to know?
      • IMR Group Flight: In order to qualify for the IMR Group Flight, you will need to reach 50% of the required donation on or before Feb 14th, 2020.
      • Early Bird Special: A discount of $200 is awarded to team members who raise / pay 50% of the required donation on or before Feb 14th, 2020.
Are there additional costs / expenses for the trip?
  • Domestic and International Airfare
  • Passport fees, visa fees, and transit fees, including baggage or overnight accommodations/meals while in transit
  • Vaccinations and medications common for travel
  • Travel Insurance
  • Malpractice Insurance
  • Spending money for souvenirs and personal purchases
  • Any lodging, meals, and transportation outside of the scheduled team itinerary, payable at the time of service to the local vendor
Can IMR assist me with travel plans and extended stay options?

Yes!  We encourage our volunteers to extend their stay and explore.  Extending your stay also puts money into the economies of these developing countries!

Trip Preparation

A service that we are very proud of at IMR is the preparation that each team and team member receives prior to the trip. This is one of the most important reasons that you should join an IMR team.

All team members have access to the IMR Volunteer Resources page where you may view and download important conference calls, a detailed briefing packet outlining the important elements that make a successful trip, packing lists, a checklist to keep you on track, and much more. You will find detailed information on how clinic operates, the roles on an IMR team, community health education topics, fundraising tips, and all of the materials our licensed providers need including best practices for providing care in short term medical clinics, public health information specific to the country you are traveling too, and a guide to the infectious diseases of that country.  You will also find a comprehensive country briefing packet that provides background information, cultural etiquette, common phrases, and links to additional information from a variety of sources on your volunteer resources page.  Finally, a departure packet that outlines how and where to meet your team will be sent just prior to departure and can be downloaded from the volunteer resources page.

IMR applicants and team members are also able to join in two informational calls: About IMR and How Clinic Operates/Provider Guidelines.   A Q and A call just prior to departure helps to ensure that you have the most important information and are ready to go!  If you can't join our live calls, you can listen at any time via your Volunteer Resources page.  Your team's departure call will be recorded by and sent by email to the team immediately following the call.

All of our volunteers have access to a personal IMR fundraising page with a unique URL that can be emailed and shared with family, friends, business associates, and other potential donors.

Did you know you can earn CME credits on line with IMR? will get you to 6 1 hour courses containing great tips for treating a variety of conditions in the field including wounds, hypertension, dengue fever, and more.

Most importantly, we are always here to answer your questions or help you complete your application. It is our goal that we exceed your expectations for preparation, patient care, and your overall trip. Let us know how we can help and how we did!

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