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Overview

The Atlantic Coast region is so isolated from the rest of Nicaragua as to feel almost like a different country. The vast expanse of mangrove swamps and lagoons known as the “Mosquito Coast” was settled by pirates, and was in the British sphere of influence until 1894. Even today the locals, a mix of African-American Creoles and indigenous Rama, Miskito, Sumo and Garifuna people, tend to refer to the Mestizos in faraway Managua as “Spaniards.” There are few roads, and transportation is often by boat. Bluefields, Nicaragua's main Caribbean port, is a rough-and-tumble town of little touristic interest, but it’s the gateway to the many natural ...

The Atlantic Coast region is so isolated from the rest of Nicaragua as to feel almost like a different country. The vast expanse of mangrove swamps and lagoons known as the “Mosquito Coast” was settled by pirates, and was in the British sphere of influence until 1894. Even today the locals, a mix of African-American Creoles and indigenous Rama, Miskito, Sumo and Garifuna people, tend to refer to the Mestizos in faraway Managua as “Spaniards.” There are few roads, and transportation is often by boat. Bluefields, Nicaragua's main Caribbean port, is a rough-and-tumble town of little touristic interest, but it’s the gateway to the many natural attractions in the region, including Cerro Silva nature reserve, Monkey Point, Pearl Lagoon and the Corn Islands. Getting to Bluefields means a flight from Managua, or a six-hour bus trip to El Rama, followed by a trip down the Rio Escondido in a local panga. If you’re looking for sandy beaches, head for the Corn Islands. Little Corn and Big Corn’s colorful coral reefs and crystal clear water make them a splendid locale for snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. Pearl Lagoon is the starting point for kayak adventures among the Pearl Cays, a string of postcard-perfect palm-shaded islands, many uninhabited. Also visit the friendly indigenous communities along the coast, by panga or kayak, including the Miskito villages of Awas and Kahkabila, and the Garifuna enclave of Orinoco. Be sure to sample a bowl of Run Down (or rondón), the local fish stew with coconut milk and vegetables.

Charlie Morris
About the Expert

Charlie Morris is the author of the Open Road guidebooks Best of Honduras, Best of Costa Rica, Best of Belize, and Switzerland Guide.

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Charlie Morris for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    January through April (the dry season)