Off topic, but some background on where Iota is slamming:
Nicaragua’s low-lying Atlantic coast makes up more than half the country’s total landmass. It’s mostly composed of impenetrable mangrove swamps and jungle, and as such only a few places in the region attract visitors in any number: Bluefields, a raffish port town, the idyllic Pearl Lagoon just to the north, and the Corn Islands, which boast sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and a distinctly Caribbean atmosphere. Outside these areas, the coast remains an untouristed tangle of waterways and rainforests, and should be approached with caution and negotiated only with the aid of experienced locals and good supplies of food, water and insect repellent. Indeed, there is only one actual town in the northern half of the coast – Puerto Cabezas. Few travellers make the trip (flying is the only real transport option), but the impoverished town has a unique feel and is the best access point for the Miskito-speaking wildernesses of the northeast.
The possibilities for ecotourism in this vast, isolated coastal region are obvious, though a scarcity of resources and a lack of cooperation between central and local government have so far stymied all progress, while the long-discussed highway linking Managua and Bluefields has failed to leave the drawing board.
Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas)
Small and scruffy PUERTO CABEZAS, or BILWI, as it’s been officially named in defiance of central governmental control (the name means “snake leaf” in the Mayangna-Sumo indigenous tongue), is the most important town north of Bluefields and south of La Ceiba in Honduras. Everyone seems to have come to this town of thirty thousand people in order to do some kind of business, whether it be a Miskito fisherman walking the streets with a day’s catch of fish dangling from his hand, a lumber merchant selling planks to foreign mills, or the government surveyors working on the all-season paved road through the jungle that may one day link the town with Managua. The people are mostly welcoming, and more used to foreigners than you might expect, thanks to a relatively heavy NGO presence.
The town’s amenities are all scattered within a few blocks of the Parque Central, a few hundred metres west of the seafront. The water at the small local beach below the hotels can be clear and blue if the wind is blowing from the northeast, although the townspeople usually head to Bocana beach a few kilometres north of town; taxis can take you here. The river water is not safe to bathe in and you need to watch your belongings as there are often a few dodgy characters around.