3 Beautiful Communities To Visit In Nicaragua

There might be fewer people living on the Caribbean Coast than in Managua, but there is no shortage of culture and customs. If you are looking for some ideas of places to visit on the east coast of Nicaragua, try Orinoco, Pearl Lagoon, or Awas as starting points!

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PHOTO MAURA LEWANDOWSKI

If you find yourself planning a trip to Central America, be sure to make time to explore Nicaragua. While the Pacific side of the country has a lot of tourist destinations and some beautiful sights to offer, you should also try to make a trip to the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. After a recent trip to the RAAS (Autonomous Region of the Southern Atlantic, in English), I recommend these three communities so that you can experience the different cultures that the Caribbean Coast has to offer.

Orinoco:

Orinoco is a small community that is a forty-minute panga boat ride from Bluefields (the capital of RAAS). The community is very welcoming, and everyone will offer you some sort of greeting as you pass through. I would recommend staying at Miss Rebecca’s Guesthouse (Ara Guesthouse). Be sure to eat some of your meals at Miss Rebecca’s and try the pan de coco (coconut bread). Orinoco is currently working on the cultural revitalization of their Garifuna customs and traditions. Try to see a performance by one of the many Garifuna dance groups in the community, and see if you can move your hips in the punta dance as well as they can!

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PHOTO MAURA LEWANDOWSKI

Laguna de las Perlas:

Pearl Lagoon is a Creole community that also serves as the capital of the Municipality of Pearl Lagoon, which includes both Orinoco and Awas. Pearl Lagoon is the largest community on this list and therefore, makes a great home base for your Nicaraguan Caribbean adventure. Pearl Lagoon is fairly easy to navigate and just about every person I passed stopped to chat with me. Be sure to take a look the Pearl Lagoon Academy of Excellence during your visit.   PLACE is a primary and secondary school that is funded by HORIZONT300, an Austrian non-governmental organization. PLACE is very different from the Nicaraguan public schools in that the school day is longer and the students take more classes. These include vocational classes, science labs and computer classes. PLACE is committed to changing the way education is viewed by Nicaraguan society and wants to prepare the Pearl Lagoon students for university and practical employment options. I really encourage you to visit Pearl Lagoon and be sure to talk with all of the passersby!

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PHOTO MAURA LEWANDOWSKI

Awas:

Awas is a great little community that sits on the edge of the lagoon  about a twenty-minute walk from Pearl Lagoon. Most of the people living in Awas are of the Miskito ethnic group.  During Semana Santa, when all Nicaraguans head to the beach, Awas is packed full of visitors who want to soak up the sun and enjoy the breeze that always seems to be blowing. I really relished my time in Awas because I was able to learn some words in Miskito and experience a new culture. If you have some free time during your stay in Pearl Lagoon, the walk to Awas is definitely worth it!

Maura Lewandowski

Maura is from Pittsburgh, PA and loved visiting Lisbon. When it comes to traveling, she's a planner. She does research before she arrives at the destination and makes sure she can fit in as much as possible.

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