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Central America's

Schyy, our little secret gems on the eastern Caribbean coast in Central America

We’we travelled through Central America and experienced all of the countries and most regions of this little slice of earth.


One of the most interesting regions is the islands off  Nicaragua and Panama. Nicaragua's eastern edge forms the long Miskito Coast that borders the Caribbean Sea all the way from Honduras down to the Corn Islands. It is the less traveled part of Nicaragua and one of the remotest parts of Central America. Even today, the nature and people remain relatively unchanged because of its remoteness. Its muddy roads, thick rain forest, many rivers, and lack of infrastructure make Mosquito Coast-travel very difficult. Basically, it’s one big swamp. This part of Nicaragua is mostly inhabited by Miskito Indians, descendants of the Caribs, who were driven away from the Pacific coast by the ancient Nahuas of Pipiles Indians, eventually reaching the Misikito coast where they settled down.

In Panama, the Bocas del Toro archipelago offers splendid island hopping and diving. In the archipelago’s boundaries, there are several communities of the Ngöbe-Buglé indians. These communities are very poor, depending almost exclusively on and survival agriculture and fishing.

Location: Miskito Coast and Corn Islands in Nicaragua and Bocas del Toro archipleago in Panama, during 5 weeks

First, we spent a couple of weeks on the Corn Islands - diving, hiking around both islands, and enjoying the scenery. Also, we traveled a few hundred kilometers along the Miskito Coast from Bluefields and north. During this stretch, we stayed in Laguna Perlas and in primitive local shelters on a number of keys off the Miskito Coast. It was quite expensive to arrange and very primitive but all worth it.


The Corn Islands, or Isla del Maíz, are located in an isolated corner of the Caribbean, 70-85 km off the coast of Bluefields at the southern end of the Miskito Coast. Both islands retain all the charm associated with the Caribbean: Turquoise waters, deserted white-sand beaches, rocky coves fringed with coconut palms, magical sunsets, coral reefs, friendly people, Garífuna cuisine, and an unhurried, peaceful pace of life. Some Miskito Indians still reside on the Corn Islands to this day, although most of the population is either black Garifuna or a mixture of black and Miskito Indian. The former, Garifuna’s, are a mixture of African, Carib and Arawak and they have a distinctive culture, making a living from fishing, primarily lobster and shrimp. 

Next, we did island hopping across Isla Bastimentos, Isla Popa, Isla Solarte, Isla Cristóbal and the Islas Zapatillias in Panama. It was by sheer luck that we stumbled upon this little archipelago off the coast of Panama. We were traveling to Panama and wanted to spend some time diving and visiting Indians, but the choice of where to go was not obvious or anyhow easy. Panama actually has many offshore island groups on the Caribbean and Atlantic sides, both in East and in West. Due to its proximity to mainland Panama and good transport possibilities (at least compared to some of the other islands), we chose to spend our one week in the Archipélago Bocoas del Toro in the north-western corner of the country, visiting almost all the larger islands in the island group.

What a positive surprise. We found here a truly tropical paradise with bounty islands, good diving, rainforests beaches, indigenous Indian villages, local fishers throwing their nets, and backdrop mountain scenery. On each of the islands, we saw in the backdrop the Talamanca mountain range rising from the ocean, sharply penetrating the waters a few kilometers away at mainland. What a place to laze around and absorb the local atmosphere. Very seductive, primitive and unforgettable. The typical homes are build using only wood, over wood stilts, with floors made with the bark of the jira tree, and the roofs made with the leaves of the guagara, a palm that grows in the swamps.

For more island hopping adventures in Central America, check our pages on the Mesoamerican Reef of Belize. Additionally, in LATAM we criss-crossed all countries, and climbing the wild Volcanos of Guatemala. Oh, and the ABC Islands off Venezuela is also quite nearby.


Selected pics from our island hopping adventure:


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