Mellow, manageable and just a short hop from Bluefields, PEARL LAGOON (Laguna de Perlas) is a slowly growing spot on Nicaragua’s tourist map. It’s connected to El Rama and thence Managua by road, but most visitors arrive on a bouncy but magical boat ride that takes you through tangled mangroves into a vast, shallow lagoon. In its southern corner, the village of Pearl Lagoon has sandy streets, quality seafood and a friendly Creole populace who make their living from fishing and tourism. Once you’ve seen the big gun that looks out over Pearl Lagoon’s small wharf, you’ve seen the sights, but it makes a fine base for fishing trips, longer excursions and sitting happily on your backside, sinking beer and lobster and watching the sun set.
Those who fancy exploring can head out to the remote Pearl Cayes where the water really is crystal clear (for all its charms, Pearl Lagoon is a little more silty), or walk/cycle inland to Awas, a Miskito village about 3km west with a small beach and a decent restaurant. (It’s best to head back before dark.)