Bluefields is a bustling city of about 50,000 people, half of which it seems are walking around on the streets during the day. While there isn’t any one big draw to the town, there are lots of little things to keep you occupied. When you first arrive, the best way to see the city is by taxi. Hop in a cab that looks filled and enjoy the ride across town as the taxista drops off his other customers. If it is a clear day, have him take you to La Loma restaurant where you can get a cold beer and a bird’s-eye view of the town. During the season, no visit to Bluefields is complete without catching a baseball game in the stadium. If you are walking around downtown during the day, pop in to visit the CIDCA museum of the coast and browse the old photos and artifacts that make up the local history. Pass by the central park in the evening to watch the local breakdancers practice in the gazebo, and maybe you will be lucky enough to see the carnival dancers and drummers practice as well (usually around dusk on random days between Jan – April). Usually in April-May and October-November there is a fair in the park where you can lose money on silly gambling tables designed for children (they start em young), browse vendors from Managua selling Nica souvenirs and ride what may be the world’s dodgiest ferris wheel (it hasn’t broken loose and gone rolling down the street…yet). Speaking of gambling, if you want a good laugh and have a few cordobas to lose, visit the Oasis casino. Try your luck figuring out which mislabeled button does what on the video poker and drink cheap shots of rum from the bar. Warning: cigarette smoke is thick! Visit the chill little art museum at Roots Cafe in the Santa Rosa neighborhood. In the Mercado Municipal you can browse a limited selection of bush medicine for sale. Located in the first stall from the street in the middle aisle, you can find various sticks, roots and dried leaves that is said can cure whatever ails you (stall owner only speaks Spanish). For a more in-depth discovery of Bluefields and the area, check out the day trips offered by Atlantic Tour.
Walpa Tarra is a cool little swimming hole tucked way back in the bush behind the town. It is a shallow pool with a refreshing 2-meter waterfall during the wet season. The best way to get there is to find a local kid and offer him twenty cords to take you. Don’t be surprised to see other kids there doing insane kamikaze jumps from the cliff into its 4-foot depth.
El Pool is another swimming hole just the other side of the municipal dump. Usually you will find local women there doing their laundry with their kids playing in the water.
Los Torres are the big radio towers in the distance. Ask some kids to take you up there to enjoy the best view of the region, from the Rio Escondido to Rama Cay!
Green Hills is a little ecofarm retreat a few minutes south by panga but feels like it is a world away. Good for day trips and better for overnight visits. Get there with Atlantic Tour. Special: Day trips only C$70 through the end of April. Best travel deal in town!
El Bluff is where the locals go to play on the beach. It’s a long stretch of beach that fills up on the weekends and is usually empty during the week. Take a commercial panga to get there.
Cock fighting isn’t as big here as in other regions of Nicaragua, but it happens two or three times a week in the evenings behind a house in Fatima neighborhood. Pay a small entrance fee and place bets with the bookie who walks around before the fight. Ask a taxi driver to take you.
Fishing Guides are few and far between, though two come to mind. Atlantic Tour offers fishing trips around the vicinity of Bluefields and Rumble in the Jungle fishing lodge offers trips all the way up to the northern end of Pearl Lagoon basin.
There is always a party down here…take a look at the calendar to see if you happen to be here when Bluefields is celebrating something special.
Fascinating and addictive are a couple of choice words to describe the nightlife in Bluefields. Going out is an experience not to be missed. Ignore the guys on the street calling you, they just want money. Don’t ignore the action on the dancefloor, the locals shake it hot!
In Cima club (on the left-hand side, second floor of the building, no cover, beer C$25) you can sit back against the balcony bar and watch the bustle of the nightlife on the street as well as the show on the dance floor. There is always an interesting mix of people and the party usually ramps up from 10pm to 1am. The music is mostly hip-shaking socca but also bump-n-grind dancehall and some bachata and country music thrown in for good measure. Don’t laugh when everybody clears the dance floor after each song.
Cima Karaoke (on the right-hand side, third floor of the building, C$20 Fridays, C$50 Saturdays, beer C$20) draws a more fashionable clientèle. Expect to hear the latest Caribbean hits as well as salsa, merengue and a dash of electronic dance. Usually maintains a good crowd (though with a bit more attitude).
4brothers (C$10 Saturdays, beer C$20) is the Nicaraguan-famous creole dance hall on the coast. Also known as the Ranch, 4brothers is usually good from 11pm and packs em in after about 1:30am when people start leaving Cima. You can hear a nice mix of music but the DJ is usually playing dancehall reggae, slow reggae soul or country. It seems dark, dirty and dangerous and, well, don’t let anyone make you think otherwise! That being said, a night dancing with locals in 4brothers is a night you won’t forget.
Lala’s (aka Midnight Dream, beer C$20) plays the widest variety of (loud) music but tends to favor the reggae. Located right on the water, Lala’s is a good place to kick off your night. On a clear night grab a table all the way in the back under the moonlight and the server will take your order.
Stragos is another sports bar, much more intimate than the aforementioned, and a little more upscale. They have a cool little balcony which is the first place most people head as well as a few tables inside. Located in the center only a half block from Cima.
Anything I missed or changes to be made? Let me know!