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Adventures in Nicaragua

Peace is still a recent phenomenon in Nicaragua, as is tourism. Granada on lake Nicaragua has much of the colonial charm of Antigua, Guatemala with fewer tourists. The Caribbean coast is very remote but quite scenic. Miskito towns dot the northern coast. Creole villagers hunt turtles and gather shrimp in the south. Bluefields is a colorful but crude gateway to the Corn Islands. Our documentaries, photos, and travel tips give you all you need to discover Nicaragua by yourself.

Feature Story: Surviving Nicaragua, A Kayaker's Battlefield !

Warning, Shocking Photos!
Photos: Nicaragua
CASKE Expedition
 

La Moskitia, "Mosquito Coast" in English, is one of the wildest and most pristine jungles of Latin America.
Like its Honduran counterpart, this region is home to Garifuna, Pech and Miskito peoples. However, the political situation may be more of a question. Little information and infrastructure is available to tourists and outsiders. Ours was the first North-South kayak crossing of Nicaragua's Caribbean coast.

 
 

Until recently the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua was unknown as a tourist destination. It shares much of the same history, cultural diversity and environment with Honduras.

History of the Mosquito Coast

Highlights

Native People

Travel Information

Places of Interest

 

Adventure Stories from:
Central American Sea Kayak and Jungle Expedition (CASKE 2000)

Journals & Itinerary

Expedition Highlights from Honduras:

Photos

Note: Long stretches of unsettled wilderness forced us to be self-sufficient and on our guard. The challenges we faced in Nicaragua tested our limits. It is hard to imagine how this crossing could have been more difficult. However, we enjoyed meeting interesting people, including the famous turtle hunters of Tasbapounie. Don't miss our paddling stories of Nicaragua: Storms at sea, Armed Robbery, Malaria, Tropical Rain, we experienced it all!


Expedition


Places of Interests

Warning, Shocking Photos!

 

 

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Tasbapounie

This Creole village is located on the Caribbean coast between Bluefields and Puerto Cabezas. It lies on a strip of land between the beach and the inner shores of a large lagoon 75 miles north of Bluefields. We fell in love with it because of the hospitality of its people. Their preparation of sea turtle, a main staple in the spring and summer months, was both morbid and fascinating. Read "Missing out on the Sea Turtle Feast". 

People can visit Tasbapounie by taking a speedboat from Bluefields. The boat only takes four or five hours via interior canals and lagoons. Boats make the trip two or three times a week. There is a modest Hospedaje in Tasbapounie. The family who owns it is very friendly and the food is great (a rarity in La Moskitia). All the villagers, descendents of Jamaican immigrants, speak perfect English, their native Creole patois, and Spanish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bluefields

Bluefields itself did not impress us, but it is a good base from which to start trips to more remote and pristine places. In Bluefields, cheap hotels abound, but conditions are abominable and we cannot recommend any. Spend a little more and stay in Hotel Tia Irene. It has been purchased by the Universidad Uraccan and offers various classes and cultural/natural history tours. The new name is Casa de Uraccan.

We would like to inform people that the Lonely Planet's highly-recommended trip down the river from Rama to Bluefields is overrated. There are many rivers offering much better scenery and cultural/natural points of interest than the Rio Escondido.  If you would like to know about the possibilities around Bluefields we recommend you contact Nydia Taylor from the Casa de Uraccan - Bluefields Bay Guest House and her associate Carol Bidon who owns a small eco-tour farm outside of town (Rio Musilaina Farm). Nydia Taylor: tiairene@ibw.com.ni

Click here for recommended lodgings

 

 

 

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Granada

Granada is a quiet and scenic colonial town that reminds me of Antigua, Guatemala but  with a lot less tourism.  We loved the architecture, tranquil atmosphere, safety and cleanliness of Granada. Many guesthouses are spacious and comfortable and offer good food. Some even offer internet access. Granada is also the best place to take Ferry tours on Lake Nicaragua (the largest in Central America) or to go visit the country's largest market in the neighboring town of Masaya.

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Masaya Market

Outside of Granada on the way to Managua is the biggest market in the country. Mountains of fruits, vegetables, and flowers make the market come alive with color. The parking lot serves as a bus terminal and it's busy all day long. We were unable to see everything in over two hours of non-stop walking. The locals are friendly and will offer you countless free samples to tempt you to buy their wares. You can get a free meal if you walk around long enough. People love cameras; you'll come away with great photos. It's an easy bus ride from Granada or Managua.


Recommendations and Information for Paddlers

We paddled the Atlantic Coast from Honduras to Costa Rica and do not recommend it to anybody. The Sea is very rough, especially at river mouths. During the rainy season, the river mouths churn with silty brown drainage and the current can prevent you from entering. The Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua is more dangerous than the Honduran side. We were stopped by bandits armed with AK 47 assault rifles. People in the towns wondered how we survived that section of coast. The southern coast of Nicaragua is also notorious for bandits and the entire region is heavily infested with Malarial Mosquitoes.

We traveled briefly into the interior of the country and traversed Lake Nicaragua. Numerous islands and safe water, people and surroundings make it an interesting paddling destination. The Corn islands out from Bluefields are relatively undiscovered and quite beautiful, and a safe tourist destination.

If you really have your heart set on paddling the coast, we recommend that you first read the stories "Surviving Nicaragua" and "Malaria Attack". They might change your mind.

Read about: Health and Tropical Diseases and Malaria: Malaria


Lodging & Food

Unlike guidebooks that try to offer a comprehensive list of  establishments, few of which the authors have ever visited, we only mention our favorite, highly-recommended places.

Bluefields:

CASA DE URACCAN
BLUEFIELDS BAY GUEST HOUSE
(Listed in the Lonely Planet previously as Hotel Tia Irene)
Contact Nydia by email at tiairene@ibw.com.ni


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