/ Adventure Travel
adventure — By Vawn on March 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm
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Chill out in a forgotten corner of the Caribbean

Feeling the winter blues, or looking for a last-minute March break getaway? If you want to avoid resorts and crowded beaches, but are longing for white-sand beaches and that turquoise Caribbean water, look no further than Nicaragua.

In a forgotten corner of the Caribbean, far from more popular tourist destinations, Nicaragua’s Corn Islands offer up stunning white-sand beaches and a laid-back Caribbean vibe – and they’re still pretty empty, though this is changing as more tourists “discover” this destination.

Of the two, Big Corn is more developed (say, if you want electricity). It’s also more expensive, relatively speaking – you won’t find $5-a-night thatch bungalows here like you will in Southeast Asia. And it’s spread out; you can catch a local bus, rent a motorbike or cab it around the island (particularly at night if you’ve gotten into the rum). Little Corn is less developed, so if you’re looking to kick back in a hammock, head here.

On either island, diving, snorkeling and deep sea fishing are on offer, and you can buy rum by the bottle in most restaurants. With a history of pirates and drug smugglers, the islands also have plenty of shipwrecks to explore.

And don’t forget to try a “rundown,” a seafood stew with breadfruit, cassava, coconut, plantains, banana and sweet potato cooked in coconut milk. You’ll almost forget you’re technically in a Latin American country – once you step onto the islands, you’ll catch the Caribbean vibe.

To get here, catch a domestic flight from Managua (in Nicaragua) to Big Corn. At the airport in Managua, head over to the regional terminal – a flight with La Costena Airlines costs about US$165 (round trip) and takes one-and-a-half hours, with a stop in Bluefields along the Atlantic coast. From Big Corn, you can hop on a boat to get to Little Corn.

Or, if you’re on a budget, catch an express bus or local chicken bus from Managua to the Rama wharf, then catch a river taxi to get to Bluefields. From there, you can catch the government-operated Bluefields Express to Big Corn, which departs from Bluefields with a stop in Bluff, which takes about five hours. Schedules can change on a dime, so always check ahead of time.

Photo Copyright @ 2010 VH Media

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