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RAAS

Multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural. The South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) is a diverse and interesting department constituted by a large plain that goes from the 'serranías' of the Central and Southern area of Nicaragua and ends in the Caribbean Coast. There are several beaches, swamps, deltas and wetlands in the area, as well as many well- known natural and cultural attractions and others yet to be discovered, waiting for adventurers and nature lovers.

Like its Northern neighbor, RAAS differs from the rest of the country due to the presence of ethnic groups. Despite the fact that there is a strong presence of inhabitants from the Pacific area in RAAS, these groups still preserve many of their traditions and languages. The major local group are the Creoles, whose origin is African and speak a 'Creole Caribbean English'. The Ramas and Garifunas are next, and represent two important native groups that still preserve their own culture and language. Also, there are Miskitos and Mayangnas in RAAS.

The most popular local attraction - and one of the most important ones in the national Caribbean - turns out the be the Corn Islands. This two islands are located in open sea, near the city of Bluefields, and constitute a Caribbean paradise due to its many white sandy beaches, coral reefs and traditional culture. The 'Great' Corn Island is inhabited by a local community and features several hotels, restaurants, bars and fun activities. The smaller one preserves its wildlife state and has tourist businesses.

Pearl Lagoon and the Pearl Keys are another two interesting destinations. This large coastal lagoon preserves its natural state. In addition, there are many picturesque ethnic communities on its coast, which also feature hotels and restaurants. In the Northern area one can find the Wawashang Natural Reserve, and the Pearl Keys, a small Caribbean paradise with white sand, crystal turquoise water, and home to a great marine life.

Bluefields is the administrative center of the region. This city has its own Caribbean cultural charm, in addition to attractions like the Victorian architecture of the historic center, museums, hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs. Moreover, an intense season takes place during May, which is when its inhabitants celebrate the May Pole festivities. A colorful and joyful parade tours the main streets of the city with an energetic native rhythm (May Pole).

There are many other interesting places in this department, which is the second largest in the country. It comprises 12 municipalities. The towns of Nueva Guinea, Muelle de los Buelles and El Ayote are also part of it, and have a livestock culture. Also, the small town of El Rama has hotels and various attractions. The Indio-Maiz Biosphere Reserve is also part of the region, and it's shared with Rio San Juan, including the Cerro Silva and Punta Gorda natural reserves.