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Visiting an indigenous village in Pearl Lagoon

Department: RAAS

Municipality: Laguna de Perlas (view on map)




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Culturally the municipality of Pearl Lagoon is a very rich area. Four different cultural groups are present throughout the region: Mestizos, Creoles, Miskitos, and Garifunas. The last two groups are the ones that have preserved a more traditional way of living (depending on the area). Villages throughout the municipality are often inhabited by one cultural group, and visiting such a village can be an interesting experience.

In general, the more remotely located the more traditional the way of living. Most of the villages have no electricity, no telephone lines, and no running water. Houses are often made of wood and roofed with palm fronds. Although these communities have clearly been influenced by the other cultures, indigenous aspects can often easily be recognized.

The villages are located throughout the area, and there are several places that can be interesting to visit. Some villages are situated on the shore of the Pearl Lagoon, others can be found further inland along the shores of the Wawashang river for example. Villages that can be visited include Pueblo Nuevo and Orinoco, about 90 minutes away from Pearl Lagoon. A tour that passes by several villages is also possible.

Prices and practical information

There are several other attractions in this area, including the Wawashang agricultural/forestry project and the Wawashang Natural Reserve. These attractions can all be visited during a one day-trip. The price for such a trip consists of a flat fee for the boat rental and a per-person fee for food and other services. The price for a boat that can hold up to ten people is around $220, depending on the gasoline, and the additional fee per person is around $5. These trips can be arranged in Pearl Lagoon at hotels or with fishermen.

Getting There

Getting to: Pearl Lagoon

A lot of the transportation in the area is done by boat, but since 2007 Pearl Lagoon can also be reached over land. There is a dirt road that goes from El Rama to Kukra Hill, which then leads to the town of Pearl Lagoon. This road is in fair condition and the easiest way to get to Pearl Lagoon coming from the main land. This way, it takes seven hours to get here from Managua by car. Public transportation options include an air conditioned bus from the Mayoreo Market in Managua which leaves in the evening, followed by taking a bus that leaves every afternoon at 3PM from El Rama. This bus returns in the morning at 6 AM, and does the El Rama-Pearl Lagoon journey in three hours. An alternative is taking a boat from Bluefields, which is a one hour boat ride. Several boats depart every morning (US$10 one-way trip), and it is a fairly tranquil ride. The boats also pass by other settlements like Kukra Hill along the road.