Monday, December 16, 2013

A trip to the beautiful Pearl Cays

One of the Pearl Cays - Nicaragua
When tourists come to Pearl Lagoon one day trip on their agenda is a visit to the Pearl Cays. What are the Pearl Cays?  Vianica describes them this way:  ‘The group of islands called the Pearl Cays is located in the Caribbean Sea, about 35 kilometers from the town of Pearl Lagoon. The secluded islands offer a great place for a relaxing day-trip’

 Unfortunately, for us, we haven't been able to get out to them, but some friends of ours had a wonderful day trip and shared their day with us.

This is what they wrote:

We were meant to leave about 7:30 am but it was raining. Never mind, we were assured that the rain would soon pass and we would have a gorgeous day for our trip. An hour later the rain had eased and we were set to head off. It was a little rainy still and we got soaked, but hey, we were planning to get wet anyway!   It was a little choppy and we were riding against the waves, sometimes it felt like we had liftoff.

First stop was by some local fisherman who were shrimping. Our guides picked up a bucket load of shrimp they had just caught for lunch – and you can’t get fresher than that!

Fishermen at work

Fresh shrimp for lunch
After dropping us off on this tiny island with no name, our tour guides took off in the panga leaving us deserted!! The thought did briefly run through my mind that we could play ‘Survivor’ (wish I had practiced my fire starting skills) but everyone was too nice and I wouldn't know who to vote off the island.

Beach combing - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua

Anyhoo…a while later they came back after having caught us some fish for lunch. While they were preparing lunch we made good use of our time doing a little bit of this…
Jean enjoying the Pearl Cays
Amy - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua

Hayley - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua
Unfortunately, this time of year the visibility under water isn't that great. Never mind though, just means we will have to come back in the dry season – what a shame! Here are some of the underwater pics that turned out well…
Starfish - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua

Underwater - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua

Before lunch, we travelled to a larger island where they had the facilities to cook. Lunch was rondon, it was very… fresh. ‘Run-down’ is seafood and ‘bread-like’ vegetables cooked in a coconut broth – what can we say – not quite sure why it’s considered a delicacy!!!

Fresh fish - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua
Rondon - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua
We made up our own table centre piece from the beautiful things we had collected on the beach that day…
Being in such a beautiful place we had to make the most of photo opportunities. It’s amazing how some people fit in so well in island surroundings…

Our table centre piece - Pearl Cays, Nicaragua
Our faces say it all, so relaxed and happy. It was a fantastic day. Before heading home we went by the island where they filmed season 21 of Survivor. It looked very beautiful and lush – I reckon I could live there for 39 days.

Happy faces after a day at the Pearl Cays - Nicaragua

The ride back was a little better than the ride there because we were going in the same direction as the waves. There were a couple of times though, when we overtook a wave and the boat would slam down. Riding in the front, I could see it coming! Was a little rough but good fun. As we travelled home on the open water, the sun was setting and clouds were gathering, the sky looked awesome.

Pearl Cays, Nicaragua

Pearl Cays, Nicaragua

Pearl Cays, Nicaragua

Pearl Cays, Nicaragua
Do you want to travel to the Pearl Cays? It's easy to book your trip once you arrive in Pearl Lagoon through many of the hotels. The trip to the Pearl Cays can be expensive due to the price of gas. When we looked into the price we were told that the cost for the boat would be $200 US - the cost for the food may be additional. Check with a few places and then book with who you feel most comfortable with. Is one day not long enough? It is possible to stay on a Cay overnight - just ask your tour operator.  Please note: There is a Military Checkpoint when you leave Pearl Lagoon - bring your passport!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Crazy Parents writes another Postcard for International Living Magazine

Another one of our articles was featured as a postcard for International Living:

A New Life of Adventure on the Caribbean Coast
By Debbie Polden
Have you found the saying, "life doesn't always turn out the way you expect" to be true? My husband and I have definitely found that to be the case. We've also realized that when life takes you down different paths it isn't necessarily a bad thing!
After years of working and living in Canada, raising a family and caring for elderly loved ones we realized that our "retirement years" were fast approaching. As we contemplated the future we found that we had an undiscovered sense of adventure. Rather than looking to a "normal" retirement in Canada, we investigated the possibility of living abroad where our money would stretch further.
With planning and preparation we moved to Nicaragua in February of 2012 where we found a cute little house in León to rent. We quickly settled into daily life in this bustling university town. In Canada we had always loved exploring small communities and here in Nicaragua, living on the Pacific Coast, we found it allowed us to easily travel and see different parts of the country.
We visited Casares, a working fishing village, and stayed in a small hotel overlooking the beach—a great vantage point to watch the local fishermen and their families at work. We loved Las Peñitas, just a 45-minute bus ride away from León, where we could spend the day at a local restaurant eating, drinking and playing in the waves. We were really enjoying our life in León and weren't looking to make any major changes.
But in early 2013 we went on another road a small community on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua called Pearl Lagoon. Pearl Lagoon is a small, tranquil town with few roads and even fewer cars. There are no grocery stores here and no bank or ATM either. It's so remote that you have to travel an hour by panga (small boat) to get to the closest "big" town of Bluefields to access these amenities.
English is predominantly spoken in Pearl Lagoon but you will also hear Spanish, Miskito and Creole. We were surprised at how this little community captured our hearts and awakened in us a sense of adventure. By the end of our trip we were hooked and decided to move here.
We've now been living in Pearl Lagoon for over six months and the charm of living in this small community hasn't worn off. Because Pearl Lagoon is remote and far from the big cities, there can be inconveniences occasionally—electricity and water can go out without notice and for extended periods of time, for example—but we've surprised ourselves at how well we've dealt with our change in lifestyle. We've found that preparation and adaptability are the key!
Life isn't all sacrifice though. Pearl Lagoon has a couple of good restaurants where a group of four can enjoy a delicious fish dinner with beer or wine for only $35—complete with a beautiful view of the lagoon. Or, if you head to the local bakery, you can pick up a delightful rum cake for only a dollar. Fresh fruit and veggies are brought in from local farms so you know you are supporting the local communities. And, our three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is only $250 a month with our electricity and municipal water expenses at an additional $27—very affordable living indeed!
At our doorstep is a lush jungle where, with a local guide, we can take a nature walk and perhaps spot howler monkeys. Or, we can take a half-hour stroll to Awas, an indigenous Miskito community, and find a one-treed island all to ourselves where we can relax and read a book or take a refreshing dip in the lagoon.
Granted, a community like Pearl Lagoon isn't for everyone. In fact, when we were researching moving to Nicaragua we didn't think it was for us either. However, life has a way of taking you in directions you weren't expecting... We're happy our sense of adventure brought us to this laid-back, friendly community.