The Corn Islands and the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua
Life is less complicated in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua : RAAS (Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur) and RAAN (Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte). Both autonomous regions offer lovely tropical getaway places to go, though facilities are yet to be more developed.
RAAS in South Atlantic is flatter than most of mountainous Nicaragua, but it presents stunning lagoons like Laguna de Perlas and Bluefields. Aside from those, the Corn Islands (Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island) reflect the tropical dream holiday you see in glossy magazine pictures : long-stretched white sandy beaches, big coconut trees, crystal clear sea, and great biodiversity of marine life.
RAAN, the North Atlantic part, is almost as flat as RAAS, except on the south border, Isabelia Mountain is sitting proudly at 1,600 meter above the sea level. Having Puerto Cabezas as its capital, RAAN offers knowledge of indigenous tribes and different ethnics and cultures. The multicultural, multilingual region surely entices visitors with the harmonious blend they have among themselves.
The Corn Islands : Perfectly Tranquil
The Corn Islands, 70 kilometers off the Caribbean coast, fits every condition for getting the perfect getaway vacation. Both Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island offer a combination of absolute tranquility, adventurous water sports and superb nature views of the Caribbean.
With a constant warm temperature of about 30°C all year long, the Corn Islands make a perfect dream come true for a tropical tourist destination. Although development is still at a small scale, the islands are accessible via air and water transportation. However, electricity -though existent- is still scarce and unreliable, especially on the Little Corn Island.
Both islands are encased with reef, making them possible to dive and snorkel around. They also offer great visibility from 20 to 30 meters underwater, and occasionally it is still possible to see at the depth of 50 meters. These water sports only take about 10 minutes by boat from the islands. Some great underwater sites to check out are shipwrecks and the remains of a Spanish galleon around the Big Corn Island. Little Corn Island, on the other hand, features amazing underwater caves home to various marine creatures.
Inland, a wide stretch of white sandy beaches in contrast with the turquoise water and towering palm trees are just a perfect vista whenever we want to lie down and enjoy the peacefulness. Swimming is great and refreshing, too, but horse riding gives a different perspective of a tropical holiday.
The Big Corn Island has some higher grounds covered with forest. Hiking at these hills - the biggest one being Mount Pleasant - is a great way to get a good viewpoint spot of the island and its surroundings.
The Little Corn Island, situated 15 kilometers from the Big Corn Island, measures only 2.9 square kilometers. Though road infrastructure, cars and TVs are limited (not to say non-existent), it boasts a nice calmness and can aid those who need a stress remedy.
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Bluefields : Colorful and different
The oldest city on Nicaraguan Caribbean coast is Bluefields, once a safe haven for pirates and English traders for break and refuel. Located on the western shore of a coastal bay in front of the Caribbean Sea, Bluefields is the administrative capital of Region Autonoma del Atlantic Sur (RAAS), making it the most important municipality on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua.
Bluefields never experienced the Spanish colonization, due to the thick forests surrounding it at the time. When the English dropped by in 1633, they were not interested in taking it over officially, either. The latter did, however, want to make it as their base operations of their ships and therefore they became ally with the native tribes. That led to Bluefields being a part of La Mosquitia Empire together with the Caribbean coasts of Honduras and Costa Rica. In 1894 during the independence movements, Bluefields became a part of Nicaragua. It has stood out and featured different characters from the rest of the country, in a good sense.
At present time, Bluefields is home to approximately 49,000 multiethnic and multicultural people, consisting mostly mestizos and those of African descents. Although Spanish is the official language, English and Creole are the most often spoken language in daily life.
The most highlighted moment in Bluefields is the "Palo de Mayo" festival, which is celebrated in one whole month starting in the beginning of May as a symbol of welcoming spring time. The festival features the combination of Creole and English traditions that are presented in music and dance and other happy doings. The third week of May is the peak of this festival, so if you happen to plan to make a trip to Bluefields, go around this time.
Bluefields can be reached by taking a one-hour flight from Managua. Overland journey is also possible but it takes much more time and effort.
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Laguna de Perlas
Nicaragua's largest lagoon is called Pearl Lagoon or Laguna de Perlas, located north of Bluefields in the Southern Autonomous Atlantic Region (RAAS). The town is also called Pearl Lagoon and set about 40 kilometers away from Bluefields. The area features mostly natural and cultural attractions, such as the unspoiled Caribbean islands, the nice fishing ground, the lovely rivers and spectacular natural reserves. Cultures are preserved by the indigenous tribes, which welcome visitors from different cultural backgrounds to learn about theirs.
Some 11,000 inhabitants in Pearl Lagoon include mostly Creoles with some Miskitos and other ethnic groups. Although there are shortcomings in terms of modern facility (like the absence of electricity between 1 AM and 9 AM), it is slowly making its way to it.
Pearl Lagoon can be accessed by boat. Once there, you must not miss the mouthwatering local seafood delicacies (it's a fishing village, so fresh sea products are harvested daily), and you can explore the place by hiking in the forests, visiting the indigenous villages and untouched areas. If you like it, you can even do a sport fishing here.
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Recently named Bilwi (in Miskito language), Puerto Cabezas is a municipality in the North Atlantic Coast department of Nicaragua (RAAN). Comprising of only indigenous land, the people in Puerto Cabezas speak mostly Spanish, the official language, although the use of other languages like Miskito, Creole, English and Sumo are also in practice.
The majority of the inhabitants are of Miskito descents and the culture adapts very much those of the Caribbean's. The Miskitos are friendly and open to visitors from other areas.
One of the interesting things to do in Puerto Cabezas is shopping at the two local markets, San Jeronimo (Masaya Market) and Mercado Municipal (Miskito Market). The latter one is famous as a trading place that sells the freshest vegetables and sea products.
A culinary exploration may also surprise your senses. The delicious local food made with coconut, rice, beans and fish is definitely one thing that one cannot miss in Puerto Cabezas.
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