Laguna de Perlas is the name of the longest coastal lagoon in Nicaragua, located in the Autonomous Region of the South Atlantic (RAAS). The most important city in the area has the same name as the municipality, Laguna de Perlas, and is located around 40 kilometers north of Bluefields. The region still remains unexplored by most tourists, however, it offers countless cultural and natural attractions. Away from the coast are Caribbean islands and fishing areas. On the other hand, near the lagoon there are beautiful rivers and impressive natural reserves. Likewise, indigenous groups that live in the area have their own communities and can be visited.
The town of Laguna de Perlas: Heart of the Region
The town known as Pearl Lagoon is located on the shores of the lagoon that bears the same name. Economically and politically it forms the most important area of the region. In addition, hotels and restaurants make it a strategic place to mobilize and meet other attractions in the region.
Laguna de Perlas is a small and quiet town, inhabited mostly by Creoles, although Miskitos and other ethnic groups can be observed. Like other towns in the area, the transportation service is mostly aquatic. The town has concrete sidewalks that allow for a more pleasant walk around the area.
The characteristic economic activity of the area is fishing, which makes it an excellent option to taste fish, lobsters or shrimp (depending on the season). Similarly, due to ethnic diversity, it is possible to try traditional cuisine.
The Pearl Keys: Jewels of the Caribbean
The Pearl Keys are a group of approximately 14 small islands located 35 km from Pearl Lagoon. These islands have all the common characteristics of the Caribbean: white sand, turquoise water and palm trees. For this reason, they are an excellent place to visit for a day from Laguna de Perlas.
In these desert islands or in the surroundings you can perform various activities. The warm Caribbean waters will allow you to swim and snorkel. It is also possible to fish and have a fresh lunch or relax watching the landscape. You can also find points where you can tan or read a book under the shade of palm trees.
The Pearl Keys are also a significant nesting site for hawksbill turtles, which are in danger of extinction. Most of the time they nest during the night and are difficult to find. However, other marine animals are more visible: during the boat ride to the islands you can see dolphins.
Awas: Spa and Landscapes
Awas is a small town near Laguna de Perlas and recently occupied by Miskite populations. The town is located near the coast of the lagoon and has easy access to shallow areas. This feature makes it a popular place among the population during Holy Week celebrations. It should be noted that Awas is a quiet place in which a variety of activities can be carried out.
In addition to swimming, visitors can explore the beautiful savanna terrain behind the town. The unique grass and palm vegetation combined with the streams and wet plains form a perfect space for many birds that can be observed during sunrise. Likewise, the area offers the opportunity to go canoeing, horse riding or hiking.
Awas is only a 30-minute walk from Pearl Lagoon. Herons and other birds can be seen in the swampy area adjacent to the sidewalk. Also, small vans are available that work as a bus between both towns.
In the Territory: Rivers, Reserves and Traditional Communities
Taking a boat and exploring the different hidden areas of Pearl Lagoon can become a great experience. You can get to know one of the rivers that feeds the great lagoon and enjoy impeccable scenery with forests along the river, as well as cultural visits during the day.
Four different ethnic groups inhabit the area: Mestizos, Creoles, Miskitos and Garífunas. Generally, a particular ethnic group is present in different places. When visiting one of the traditional communities, tourists can get a glimpse into the culture of Garífunas or Miskitos, which are the most traditional indigenous groups.
Not far from Wawashang is a small town called New Town. A nature reserve that is part of the great Wawashang Nature Reserve, is located behind the community and turns out to be another great area to visit. Before arriving at the reserve, the lovers of the walks will have to cross a rural area where they are carried out, in minimum scale, agricultural activities. It should be noted that this area, like much of the reserve, was hit hard by Hurricane Beta at the end of 2005 and traces of the natural disaster are still visible. It is very common to observe fallen trees and especially near rivers. Around the area there are opportunities for sport fishing. The different rivers, as well as some lagoons such as Top Lock Lagoon, have shadles or other larger fish.