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Corinto

Population: 17,499

Altitude: 2.44 meters

 

As the country’s deep water port, Corinto is a city whose fortunes ebb and flow on the tide. Cruise ships and freighters bring seasonal traffic, but only irregularly; between the October to May cruise season, about one ship stops a month.

Old wooden houses and crate-filled docks can make Corinto feel industrial and a bit shabby, but the city has the benefit of being surrounded by natural jewels: emerald estuaries, surfing breaks, rocky points and a series of islands so stunning that they once inspired Rubén Darío’s poetry.

City officials have recognized the value of Corinto‚Äôs location and are currently working on a series of projects to promote the area, such a pamphlet of local attractions and boat tours. Fishermen offer sightseeing tours of the major islands; Casta√Īones, El Cord√≥n, Aserradores, Guerrero and Encantada that range in price from C$500 to USD$45 per hour. Local guides such as Kenneth Altanirano (505-8-417-5060; tours in English and Spanish) can arrange trips and hire boats, with at least a day‚Äôs advance notice.

After El Cord√≥n, the island where Dar√≠o wrote ‚ÄúA Margarita Debayle,‚ÄĚ was declared a national monument, city officials developed a plan to reconstruct the house where the poet once stayed. So far, the island remains house-less, but now has a large sculpture of Rub√©n Dar√≠o. Boat tours can take you to visit the island. The sculpture, beside the island‚Äôs lighthouse, is also visible from Corinto‚Äôs rocky espigon.

Corinto celebrates a fiesta patronal in honor of Santa Cruz, but is better known for the annual Feria Gastronómica del Mar, a culinary celebration of seafood dishes in all their variety, that takes place during the first weekend in May. The celebration ends with a fishing contest.

Corinto was not always Nicaragua‚Äôs main waterway ‚Äď the peninsula inherited the job from the pirate-ravaged El Realajo, whose marauding visitors (men such as Edgard Davis, Pirate Towby, Swan Knite and William Damper) meant that the former deep water port was neglected and filled with silt.

In 1858, the Nicaraguan government decided enough was enough and moved the Maritime Customs office to the tiny Punta Icaco, whose name was changed three years later to the more official Corinto.

A railway was constructed in 1881, so trains could carry shipments of sugar, cotton, coffee and other goods from Chinandega to Corinto’s Spain-bound ships. You can find one of the old train engines off to one side of the former train station.

The station itself has long since been converted into the bright blue Alfonso Cortes-Corinto History Museum, Library and Auditorium. The small museum has glass cases of train era artifacts and a model of the city, but is only open during the high tourist season (or if you can find someone with the keys). The library is open from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and from 2 to 3 p.m. daily.

Across from the old train station is Corinto’s Parque Los Fundadores and the catholic church, rebuilt in 1967 as Iglesia Santo Tomas Apóstal. But it’s Corinto’s central park that wins the award for strange monuments. The parks various concrete sculptures include: a pink centennial clock tower from 1958; a sculpture of Padre José Schendel with an expression that says he’s about to deliver a stern lecture to naughty children; and what looks like a fountain but is actually the living quarters of a monster alligator and his turtle friends.

 

 

 

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Other places nearby Corinto: Potosi, Chichigalpa, Padre Ramos Estuary & Nature Reserve, Playa Aserradores, El Viejo, Jiquilillo, Playa Jiquilillo and Puerto Morazan.







By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
20 May 2009

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