After our adventure at Rio San Juan and El Castillo, we continued our journey to the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, to Pearl Lagoon, Bluefields and Corn Island, which is indeed completely different from the rest of Nicaragua. It´s an autonomous area, called RAAS (Región Autónomo Atlántico Sur) and you can really feel the different culture and lifestyle of the people here. People are mostly black, because they are descendants of former slaves, they speak their own Creole english-language and the culture is close to Jamaica. Even their religion is different.
Caribbean side of Nicaragua on a glance:
- Capital is Bluefields
- Buses from Managua or San Carlos to El Rama and from there by speed boat to Bluefields or by bus to Pearl lagoon
- Accommodation in Pearl lagoon: Green lodge (350 C$, ca. 14 $ per room)
- From Bluefields it is possible to take a ferry or cargo ship to Big Corn Island
- There are speedboats from Big to Little Corn Island
- There are also ships from El Bluff to Big Corn Island
- Frequent speedboats between Bluefields and Pearl Lagoon
We started from San Carlos and took a bus to El Rama for about 7 $. The journey took around 7 hours. Afterwards we took directly another bus from there to Pearl Lagoon, which took us another 5 hours through dense jungle and along palm plantations (YES, for palm oil! ) on a dirt road. It was already dark when we arrived to Pearl Lagoon and we were really done. A woman in the bus recommended us the Green Lodge and we went there. The owner (Wesley Williams) was really kind and he had a luckily a free room for us, for 350 C$ per room.
When we got up the next morning, we saw Pearl Lagoon for the first time during daylight. And we were not sure, if we were even still in Nicaragua. Everything looks and feels so different! Pearl Lagoon is a tiny village and everybody knows everybody. The people are really friendly, animals are just walking along the streets and everything is so colourful and peaceful. People like to speak their English, with a funny Jamaican accent. But they can also speak Spanish, though.
But many things are not to do here – it´s rather about relaxing, walking, observing the lifestyle and the people, eating, etc. We spoke a bit with the owner of our hostel and got to know a bit about him and the life here.
Later we took a speedboat and drove about 1 hour with some locals to Bluefields. Since there are no roads to Bluefields, people always have to take the speedboat for transportation. And since this is very fast and powerful, the price is not that low. It´s about 10 $ per person, which is a lot of money for the people here.
The drive along the river, some settlements and mangrove forests was a real adventure!
Then we arrived to Bluefields we did not like it so much. There are very strange people and the flair is totally different, than in Pearl Lagoon for example. It´s louder, more hectic and dirty and we wanted to leave this city soon. If you are planning to continue to Corn Island, it´s not possible to skip Bluefields.
So we continued with the next speedboat to El Bluff, a small cargo island with a village on it, directly in front of Bluefields, because we have heard, that on the next morning a cargo ship will arrive to the harbour, which goes to Corn Island. Our target was Corn Island and we wanted to get there as soon as possible! Unfortunately it was Friday and the two available ferries just drive on Wednesday and Thursday. So we hoped that we can get fast to Corn Island by cargo ship.
On El Bluff were no tourists at all and I think there is only one hostel. We went there by Tuk-Tuk, but it´s also possible to walk. The owner of this hostel, Daniel, was a very warm and friendly guy. He had a room for us (250 C$ per room, ca. 10 $) and confirmed the rumour, that a cargo ship is arriving on the next day in the morning.
So on our remaining day on El Bluff, we were exploring the area a bit.
So on the next day, we got up very early, at around 5 a.m. because the people told us, that the ship will arrive at around 7 a.m. But really sure was nobody!
So we went to the harbour at around 6 a.m., full of excitement and hope, and the people there on the dock told us, that the ship already left earlier. You can imagine, how disappointed we were in this moment. Nobody could tell us, when the next ship will leave.
So we went back to the hostel and Daniel asked us, what happened?? He was also very surprised, that the ship arrived and started again earlier. So we did not have too much hope, that another cargo ship will leave soon and decided to first eat something, because we were very hungry after this excitement. We asked Daniel if there are some restaurants, but since it was sunday, they were not open. But he offered us, to cook something for us. We accepted this offer gladly and waited for our food, which was indeed very delicious!
Shortly after we finished, Daniel called us excitedly and told us, that there is another ship coming soon and we can take maybe this one. So we hurried up, took our backpacks and run again to the dock. The ship was luckily still there and we asked the captain, if he could take us to Corn Island. Everything worked and we were boarding happily – after climbing over 10 other parking ships – not knowing what will await us 😉
I did not expect that the waves can be so high on the Caribbean Sea, even though the weather was calm and nice and there was no single sign for a storm. But still, it was a rough up and down for the next 9 hours. Even if you usually do not have problems with sea sickness, you will get them! Take a travel pill before, if you have the opportunity.
The adventure started!
I costed us around 10 $ per person and took around 9 hours. The captain was very nice and arranged for us a sleeping opportunity with a family that he knows in Big Corn Island, because it was already dark and we did not have booked something in advance. The family was very nice and lived in a cute house, under palm trees and directly on a beach.
Here we payed 10 $ for the room and on the next day, they gave us some mangoes and avocados from their garden
The next day we continued our journey to Little Corn Island.
The water here was already really clear and blue!
The last step before we reached paradise with another speedboat over the rough waters of the Caribbean was another adventure. But when we reached Little Corn Island, were really eased and just wanted to relax and to don´t do anything exhausting 😉 Just enjoy the island!
We went to the eastern side of the island and found a little hut directly at the beach for 10 $ per person/night. Nothing special but perfect for us and our backpacking lifestyle!
There are no motorised vehicles here and this really gives the island a laid-back and relaxed touch, that you just can enjoy.
The ocean here is very special. It´s called “Ocean of 7 colours”.
We really enjoyed our time here and directly after our arrival, we wanted to grab a Toña and delicious food.
On the next morning, we went to the café and restaurant “Rosa´s” and ate a delicious breakfast. They cook here a lot with coconut, and the traditional bread is coconut bread (which you can also see on the photo). Also a very famous dish here is “Rundown”, a soup with a lot of fish and seafood!
Later and the next days we explored the island a bit and found hidden beaches with pure Robinson Crusoe feeling, a big swamp and a magic flora and fauna.
In the village of Little Corn Island is everything you need: restaurants, cafés and bars (some with wifi), “Pulperias” little kiosks where you can find many things, including fresh “Pan de Coco” (coconutbread), a little supermarked, dive and snorkeling-shops, etc.
We enjoyed our time here in this little paradise and some day, I´ll come back!
Thanks for reading!
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! Tip for a good book about Nicaragua: Nicaragua – Experiment Paradies