Laguna de Perlas

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End May 02, 2010

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Flag of Nicaragua  , Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur,
Saturday, February 13, 2010

Trip to Bluefields went smoothly despite boat leaving late & my bag being overweight (nothing was said on way out) - had to shift stuff to hand luggage. Stopped at the airport hotel for what I hoped would be a decent attempt at breakfast - not! Crappy instant coffee (not even Nescafe!) and rock hard eggs despite my request for runny.

Things deteriorated at the port, a complete shambles - no-one available to sign up with, boats all full, the noon departure to pearl lagoon cancelled and lots of lies, lies, lies!

Having already been waiting a couple of hours, was not keen to wait until the next scheduled departure to Pearl Lagoon at 4pm - maybe that would end up being cancelled too?

Ended up on the midday boat to Kukra Hill, from where I was promised a bus at 1pm that would wait until the boat arrived and from there it was only 1/2 hour to Pearl Lagoon - all lies - no 1pm bus, no bus waiting for the boats and more than an hour to PL on the next bus at 3pm.

Not best pleased when eventually got to PL - no decent accommodation options & no decent beer.

Ended up finally at the place next to the Evangelical church because it had private bathrooms & was close to the pier - assumed being next door to a church wouldn't be too noisy - wrong! Not content just to scream & shout continuosly in one massive stream of preaching, they had to do it with the aid of a PA turned to maximum volume. There was barely a break all day from the first service at 6.45am!

Of course, the hotel had to try & drown out the noise with their stereo at top volume, playing one soppy droning country lament after another. The earplugs only managed to deaden slightly the cacophany and I finally retreated to a waterfront bar, the only place in town playing music at a reasonable volume, with the added bonus that they were also the only place selling Victoria beer.

Did take a stroll to what I thought was Awas, the Miskito village on another part of the Laguna, 30 mins away on foot. Sadly was accosted immediately by a tour guide who was pushy & didn't like the fact I didn't want to pay for a tour. I settled for a coconut water for which he attempted to overcharge me so he could buy "rice for his family". Apparently he & Orlando, the other guide, take it in turns to offer their services to visiting tourists, though it was a bit more pushy than that!

Had heard there was a restaurant on the lagoon there but no evidence of it - Wilson said his family would cook for me, but not keen on this option - had hoped to try some Miskito cooking but all he was offering was fried fish. Still, having heard they eat turtles & manatees, not so sure after all. Did explain they were endangered species but seemed to fall on deaf ears.

After a quick wander solo, headed back to PL as about to rain & still hungry. Would have liked to go fishing with a local fisherman in his dugout but did not want a trip with this pushy greedy cocky young guy.

Filled up on the local speciality of soda cake, a sort of spicy gingery cake before having a pleasant crab dinner later.

Managed finally to get a couple of hours of internet before the power went down & saw the weather forecast of rain for the next 5 days - my plan to go to Orinoco was abandoned. The attraction of these small indigenous villages is to go out & about with the locals, which is no fun in the rain, plus was put off by the unfriendliness of folks in both PL & the Miskito village.

Hopped on the 11am bus back to Kukra but only on the assurance it would connect with the one to El Rama. It did connect and, once on the green goddess type lorry with no suspension, so did every bump on the road for the next 4 hours!! By the time I'd arrived I'd been copiously soaked through the leaking roof, been packed in with diesel, huge crates of cuajada cheese, empty beer bottles, a motorbike & numerous families, including one pregnant lady - I hope she still was after the trip! The rain dried up halfway through so the huge clouds of dust were then able to stick nicely all over me.

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