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A few years ago a European NGO decided to build Bluefields a badly-needed road connection to the outside world. But when they called a meeting with the city's elders to discuss the project's implementation, they were surprised at what they heard. The elders informed them that they did not want the road, out of fears that it would dilute their traditional way of life.

As a result, Bluefields has remained largely in isolation. With the town's rich culture, colorful Palo Mayo celebrations, and proximity to spectacular sights like the Corn Islands and Laguna de Perlas, it should be cashing in on Nicaragua's tourism boom. Instead, the town remains as it was twenty years ago. Their traditional way of life has indeed remained intact, along with the poverty that accompanied it.

If you do decide to visit, Viva wholeheartedly recommends that you spring for the plane ticket. Otherwise be prepared for a wet, uncomfortable and difficult ride. Read through the Getting There and Away section very carefully, and make sure your trip is timed appropriately.

Other than the Palo Mayo celebrations and a thumping nightlife, Bluefields itself does not offer a whole lot to visitors. There are some excellent restaurants, and the Garifuna culture is something to explore, but if you're heading to the Corn Islands you'll find both of these in far richer abundance, with gorgeous beaches and excellent hotels to boot. The vast bulk of visitors just use Bluefields as a base for exploring the area. Recently, there's been talk that Bluefields' intended road will instead be built to Laguna de Perlas, connecting that city to Rama and the main road network. There's talk on the islands that once this road is completed ferries should be rerouted to Laguna de Perlas as well. If this happens, expect Bluefields to disappear from travelers' itineraries for good.


Other places nearby Bluefields: Waspám and Río Coco, Corn Island, Puerto Cabezas, Laguna de Perlas, El Rama and Kakabila.

By Mike Karanicolas

Michael Karanicolas is awesome.

17 Jun 2008

Things to do in Bluefields

Caribbean Coast Dance

124912Nicaraguans are a people of dance. The Pacific Coast is salsa territory; in the center of the country and to the north you'll find cowboy-style quebraditas. But it's along the Caribbean coast where ...
Bluefields, Nicaragua

Rama Key

Rama Key is a small island about two hours from Bluefields that's populated by small fishing villages of the indigenous Rama tribe. Some visitors are charmed by the simple lifestyle and traditions of ...
Other Activity
Bluefields, Nicaragua

Moravian Church

This handsome, stately church was rebuilt in 1992 after Hurricane Juana flattened the original, 19th century building. It seems to be closed more than it's open, and despite several visits Viva's ...
Historical Building
Bluefields, Nicaragua

Parque Reyes

Bluefields' main park is called Parque Reyes, three blocks west of the sea. This is the center of the action during Palo Mayo celebrations, but it doesn't have a whole lot to offer at other times. It ...
City Park
Bluefields, Nicaragua
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