We thought we’d never make it here!
Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast is quite remote and very different from the rest of the country. Originally occupied by indigenous peoples it remained free of foreign influence for longer than Spanish Nicaragua. Pirates of various nationalities came first then a British protectorate was declared in the 1700’s. That lasted until 1860 and about 30 years later the area was united with the rest of (Spanish) Nicaragua.
Indigenous Miskito communities continue alongside the Garifuna people who have African ancestry, origins and culture similar to residents of other parts of the Caribbean. English, Spanish and local languages are all spoken. English is the first language taught in school. English names are commonplace – we’ve met George Fox and James Woods.
Bluefields is the main town and port, not easy to reach from the rest of the country unless, like us, you arrive by plane. Alternative routes by road and river are time consuming and uncomfortable.
Bluefields Bay Hotel had been booked ahead; our friend Paulette stayed a few weeks ago. So why hadn’t the taxi drivers heard of it, nor anyone living in the street, nor people working on the building site that turned out to be the place? It seems nearly everyone knows it as Tia Irene, the restaurant still operating on the same site. It remains a mystery how our booking was accepted by a hotel undergoing renovations and with no roof! The water supply was turned off so we paid $20 for the night and two large buckets of water were installed in the en suite bathroom for our overnight needs.
Bluefields is a small working port town said to have been charming until most of the old timber buildings were destroyed by a hurricane in the 1980’s and replaced by uninspiring concrete. We didn’t find the Museum but we saw the huge Moravian Church which, having been destroyed, was rebuilt to the original design.
This coast is a series of lagoons with scattered communities all mainly accessible by boat.
Pearl Lagoon is one of these and gives its name to the main town on it. We were told 4,000 people live in the wider area of Pearl Lagoon. We stayed at Queen Lobster in a cabin right over the water. It’s walking distance from the dock, just like everything else in town.
In some ways our 3 days here were uneventful and yet we learned so much that there will have to be another post about it!
The canon in the final picture is said to have been left behind by the British!