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Nicaragua

Nicaragua

The Corn Islands, Nicaragua

From Pirates to Paradise! The Corn Islands.. It was once called the Skeleton Islands inhibited by a local tribe of cannibals. The current local people are descendants of British prospectors and freed slaves. (I think Jamaican) These islands were a haven for Pirates in the 1600s. There is an untold number of shipwrecks that scatter the shores of both islands. There was a 99 year lease signed on the islands by the United States in 1914 but the lease was eventually terminated because of lack of interest by the States. (Dummies) Tropical water, tropical sunsets, no cars, no roads and a bungalow on the ocean. The best kept secret in the Caribbean!

I have been hearing stories since I was in Costa Rica about the panga (ferry boat) going from Little Corn Island to Big Corn Island capsizing a few weeks ago and 12 people drowning. I later heard that the coast guard said no boats were aloud to leave but was told the people bribed the driver to take them anyways so they could catch their flight. The engine failed and a wave came from the side and flipped the boat. There weren’t life jackets and many of the people couldn’t swim. (Not sure if that’s all facts) So I have been a bit uneasy about this boat ride for the last month. After the flight arrived to the Big island we went to the docks and boarded a tug boat delivering goods to the little island. We paid them $6 each to tag along. This was the slowest boat ever! This thing was putting over 8-10 foot waves for an hour before we arrived. But in one piece I was!

When we arrived to the docks on the main side of the island. None of the rooms looked to appealing so we walked down the shore and found a trail leading into the jungle. We followed that trail through a couple zig zags to the other side of the island. After a 15 minute walk I started to hear the waves crashing. I turned a corner and saw the most turquoise water ever! I have arrived..

This was the paradise! Tropical waters, nice beaches, a cool ocean breeze and not a person in site. We rented a bungalow with two beds and private bathroom on the ocean at Elsas place for $30 a night. (You can get smaller rooms with no bathroom for less.)

 Photo-bigcornisland.com

Every morning I woke up to a huge breakfast on the jungle at Rosas. A fruit bowl as big as your ass, home made coconut bread toast with jam, home made tea and juice for about $3.50. After breakfast we would take the two mile stroll around the island, sitting on the beaches of Yemaya. (Speaking of food you can find lobster dinners around the island for $8.)

Yemaya though, this place is not for the light pockets. A room starts at $330 a night but that’s the name of the game for a guy like me. I sleep with the poor people and spend my day living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Infinity pools, hammocks on private beaches, beers on penthouse balconies. Those are the things that get me goin wile traveling. And other then the beers, I prefer not to pay for any of it.

During happy hour from 1-4 at Yemaya the beers are $2 and they have lobster tacos for $4! Boom, that’s how you get it done.

Every bar should have swings for bar stools..

Sunsets and nights were usually spent at Tranquilo Cafe. (Buy one get one drinks from 5-7) Listening to the white stripes, eating smoked pulled pork sandwiches, drinking beer and eating homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches!


FTW! Life is good here.

After 6 nights of living the dream we packed up and took the actual little panga boat this time to the big island. 40 people on an oversized canoe. Half way through a storm kicked up some wicked winds and rain started coming down in buckets! There was a huge piece of plastic in the boat we covered up with as I am thinking about how they told me the plastic could have been part to blame for the others drowning. Now my concern was covering my passport and camera.  But after 30 minutes or so we reached solid ground. The boat ride wasn’t so bad I guess.

On to Big Corn island. We took a taxi to LuLu’s Place. Owned by a real nice retired guy from the states. You can get a private room with shared bathroom for $30. It also is next to Big Fish Cafe. One of the best places to eat on the island. There is also a little bakery shack a few doors down that has the best banana bread for .50 cents! We only spent two nights on big corn but did manage to do some snorkeling.

There is a dive shop Dos Tiburones is on the North End of the island very close to LuLu’s that has a $20 snorkel tour a few times a day.

Blue fish as far as you could see!

This was a random Mary statue we wondered across.

These are the anchors and cannons from a Spanish pirate ship from the 1600s. Most of the ships wood rotted away long ago but the heart is still here.

I think there are 6 cannons in this photo.

We snorkeled three spots. The 1600s pirate ship wreck, a reef and Steam Ship that wrecked into the shallows of Big Corn around 1946ish. This is part of the engine compartment above water.

Part of the prop from the steam ship.

The next morning we woke up with the sun to make the 2 hour early check in for our 20 person domestic 8 am flight. (Why) We scheduled a cab to pic is up but at 6am there was no one so we started walking. This was the sunrise on our walk to the airport.

We walked for about 15 minutes and looked down a dirt path and found the runway. Through the a hole in the fence and then we march. Those things are much bigger then they look! But 15 minutes down the runway and we neared the airport. Children on their way to school lined both sides of the runway.



Where to stay-

Little Corn- Elsa’s Place. $25-$45 per night.

Big Corn- LuLu’s. $30 per night.

Getting to and away-

Flight from Managua with no notice- $174 round trip.

Ferry to Little Corn- $6 each way.

Nicaragua

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

The once fishing village and shipping port of San Juan del Sur is now a popular surfing destination. In the 1850’s it was a resting spot for prospectors on their way to and from California during the gold rush. They filmed four different seasons of survivor near here as well. There has been many proposals to build the Nicaragua canal connecting Atlantic it Pacific through San Juan del Sur. One of my favorite spots in Central America so far!

After a couple weeks of Costa Rica prices I had enough! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough and was pleasantly greeted by San Juan del Sur! The land of $1 beers and $1 tacos! Where have you been all my life.

This is another one of those places that can be done on any budget. The hills are lined with 5 star resorts and infinity pools and the town is full of budget hotels and hostels. Lots of really decent food to be had here. The view from the Mirado del Cristo de la Misericordia is pretty amazing!

The hike to get to get to this giant Jesus statue throwing two fingers is pretty much straight up for 15 minutes but definitely worth it. It’s $2 to enter and closes at sunset.


The night life on the weekends is pretty great! The streets are filled with lots of people, late night restaurants and bars. One of the best brick over pizzas I have had in Central America at La Vecchia Signora Pizzaz. Late night bars you can find everything from $1 beers to fancy craft cocktails.

There is also many of really good beaches with great surf that you can get to by shuttle bus if you aren’t laying by the pool hung over every day (because the beer is so cheep) like some real dirt bags I know..

Where to stay-

I stayed for 4 nights at the Hola Ola hostel. It’s a new place on the outskirts of town away from all the crazies. It’s ran by a guy that grew up in Nicaragua and studied in the states for years so English is no problem here. There is no public kitchen or AC here but the 4 person dorms, pool and the view make up for it for $13 a night. (The photo above was taken here)

Getting to or from-

-From the border of Costa Rica you can take a taxi to San Juan Del Sur for $10 per person.

-From the docks of Ometepe. I did the reverse trip from the hostel to the docks in a private cab for $20 with two people.

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