Port review: Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua

Old Mar 18th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Port review: Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua

This review is for Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua which was the 2nd port of call on our Panama Canal cruise last month. Wow. It seems so long ago already though its only about 4 weks ago. First of all let me say we are not ones to go with ships tours. You can usually do better on your own. Well in this part of the world let me tell you its much harder to find a private tour guide vs. the Caribbean where there are many and contacting them is easy. Not so here. If you recall I posted that in our previous port, Guatemala, the country has a 40% literacy rate and 10% have www access. In Nicaragua these figures are less though I don't recall the exact numbers. Well after looking about I finally found a guy to give us a private tour. His name is Max and he makes most of his $$ from private fishing ventures and some from land tours. And what an interesting guy he is. He looks a bit like papa Hemmingway with a similar beard and face though he is a slimmer version. He has dual British/Canadian citizenship ahd is sort of an adventurous man of the world. Among other things he has done include working in labs testing stealth technology, running restaurants in several European locales, soloing across the Atlantic in his own 30 ft. boat and being boarded by pirates in the Indian Ocean. And he lived to tell about it. He also told us a story about a friend of his, another able seaman who was being pursued by pirates. Well he managed to set out lines and get them entangled in the propellers of the pirate ship and thus he was able to pull her backwards and sink her. Boats lose their seaworthiness when being pulled by the stern. What happened to the pirates? According to Max they did not live to tell about it.
As for Nicaragua lets begin. I saw Max at the dock and we were soon on our way to Leon with Julio as the driver and Max doing the narrating. The vehicle was a large Toyota van with A/C of course and it was in very good condition, no bag of bolts to be sure. The roads were smooth and we were in Leon in just over an hr. We stopped at a restaurant for alocal brew, sort of a tradition of mine to have a local beer wherever we go. Theirs is called Dona and its good though not as good as Gallo in Guatemala IMHO. In this restuarant were portraits of several poets and writers who are honored in Nicaragua for speaking out against the brutality and corruption of the Somoza regime. Across the way is a small park with a monument to them. We were near a church, just across the plaza and as it was Sunday there was a mass going on but thats not all. Right on the church steps was a group banging drums like mad. With them was a someone dressed as a 8 ft. woman in red who sort of looked like a flamingo dancer and she was dancing like a dervish.. Well according to Max this woman represented a spirit who helped get rid of Spanish during colonial times. Anyway it was really loud and we did go into the crurch to view the service. Well there is no A/C there and the doors were open and man oh man it was really loud in the church from all that banging but it did not seem to matter to the locals. It also seemed that the church bells would go off every few minutes so all in all it was quite a different church service from what I've ever seen B4. . But this is why you travel.
Nearby were shops and the local market in which we found a few mangoes and some of the best guava we've ever had. We drove through some neighborhoods and what you notice is bars in the front of residential windows and in some case razor wire on the top of rather hgih walls. Unfortunately it seems the crime rate is rather high.
Max then took us to hill 14. You may ask what the heck is this. Well its actually an abandoned police/military fort. Here you can go into the jails where the Samoza govt. took their political prisoners. The jail doors have been removed. One can only imagine what went on here and Max said the jails were so full that at time there was just enough space to stand. Hill 14 is also the last stand for the Nicaraguan army when they fought and finally surrendered to Daniel Ortegas rebel forces. The walls are full of bullet holes and again one can only imagine what went on then. The interesting thing is Nicaragua is so poor it doesn't have the money to enshrine this as a historical landmark which it surely is. You could say it is like their Alamo. If you were to go there be aware that the ride is rough. You go on a dirt road through the cities garabe dump. For me its worth it to see something of this historical importance as unadorned as it is. You also get a great view of Leon and the several volcanoes that ring this are. The day were were there one of them was spewing steam. You can see all of this in the pics I posted here from the entire cruise.
We then decided to return to the ship but stopped along the way to eat the fruit we had bought at the local market. We stopped by a wonderful stretch of beach, very long and with calm waters. I thought this would be were developers would put up resorts were this Mexico or the Caribbean. However Nicaragua and tourism just don't go together. Isuppose its because its such a poor country they just don't have the means to build the necessary infrastructure to support tourism. I understand that they get significant money from Hugo Chavez, our good buddy in Venezuela. Anyway he's popular here.
We wre dropped off by Max at the dock and as there was a small town nearby I decided to stroll and shop a bit. I saw a nice Che Guevara T-shirt and wanted to buy it for my son. He missed coming with us due to some minor GI bug. Well the lady refused to sell it to me! I was taken aback and tried to no avail to get her to change her mind. Then she pointed to a poster of Che superimposed with Hugo on her wall and smiled as if these guys were her heroes. And it became clear that as a Gringo I was sort of the anti freedom figher. Well I thought if I pushed it the next thing I would see would be revolucionaries wearing camis, berets, smoking cigars and carrying AK 47's so discretion being the better part of valor I smiled and left though I really wanted that T-shirt! Well at the shop up the street I found, guess what, a Che t-shirt! That and another one for me for $5.00 Success! I sort of wanted to show it to the lady at the other shop but hey, why push your luck.
Next port. Costa Rica
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Old Dec 1st, 2009, 12:54 PM
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I will be arriving on a Holland America cruie ship to Corinto on Dec27th and would like to tour the rum factory Flor de Cana.

Does anyone know of a local tour place or contact so I can set that up for when we arrive in port. I couldn't find anything in my internet searches.

Thanks
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Old Dec 5th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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I will post the email for Max when I can get to my home PC. I recommend him highly.
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Old Dec 5th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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[email protected]
Found it thru the magic of google. . If you email him tell him Larry says hello.
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Old Jul 20th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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I will be in Corinto on Oct. 8. How do I contact Max for a tour?
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Old Jul 20th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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Larry, I thought you are not crusiing this summer and planned a trip to India instead ... which Princess ship was it?
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Old Jul 20th, 2010, 04:33 PM
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This is correct. We did a full transit PC cruise in Feb. 2009 from ACA to FLL. It was 10 days on the Island Princess. You have a good memory. We leave for India in Oct. and return in Nov. with a 4 day stop in Hong Kong on the way back. You know I've never ever had Peking duck so it seems having it in Hong Kong would a good place to start. .
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Old Jul 22nd, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Larry, I saw the pictures that you posted on that trip too. Great pics! When I saw the post, I thought it was recent, until I check the original post date.

And don't foget to stop at Macau. All those new hotels are really something. Plus the old town, the walk (or bike) along the shoreline drive.

You have to have Peking Ducks in Peking. Peking Ducks HK style is not the same. If I found a good Peking Duck US style in Chicago, I'll let you know.

We are looking at India next year. I found out my neice had relocated to Mumbai. Her husband works for a top end hotel chain and he was in Cambodia for a couple years. He is now in Mimbai. I better go visit and take advanatge of the cheap hotel rates before he get relocated again.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2010, 04:08 PM
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We do plan to go to Macau and I'm glad you liked the pics. As for the walk or ride yu are speakiong of is it on the Kowloon side or on HK island or does it matter? We will be on HK island at the Harbour Grand.
Hopefully some day we can get to Peking to compare this speciality. Actually Chicago has a pretty well developed China town so I suppose getting it there is our best bet.
As for India go if you get a chance. If you can get a nice rate on a hotel there then by all means do it. Top end Indian hotels are wonderful. In the latest issue of Travel and Leisure mag you will find the results of a readers poll for best hotels, cruises etc. and many Indian hotels rank as the best in Asia.
I would caution you to check w/ the CDC for medical prophylaxis recommendations B4 going. No matter how careful I am I usually get "Delhi belly." However there others afflictions such as malaria and typhoid, the latter of which infected me during our 1982 trip there. Believe me it was rough. My advice to anyone going there is to be very careful about what you eat. Its the usual common sense stuff you have to do like no fruits that can't be peeled first, no local or non bottled water and so on. This time I intend to go vegetarian while there as the handling and storage of meat is not what our bellies are used to.
Be careful about the season you go too. If you want to see Delhi and its a great place to see IMHO don't go in the summer or even the spring. Early May temps there can be up to 110F or more.
If you want get a suit or clothes made. Tailor made clothes for men are very cheap in India, way less than what you would pay in NA. Also its a good place for inexpensive eyeglasses too. If you need them and don't have an insurance paln here India is great for getting very good quality eye wear at relatively low prices.
Namaste
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Old Jul 23rd, 2010, 04:33 PM
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The walk (or bike) I'm talking about is in Macau, it has been a few years since I have been there. I think it is called Panoramica Do Lago Ave. It is along the shoreline. The old town is very Colonial.

If you are in HK island. stop in Stanley. Old fishing village turns totally modern. Can still see the old village building, but they are all restaurants and bars and up scale shops now.

I have to find out more about the hotel in Mumbai, all I knew is the hotel he worked at in Cambodia is very high end and exclusive. I think I should ask about the name of the hotel so I can google. At least I will a have personal tour guide. November 2011 or 2012 is the plan unless DW has other prioritis.
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Old Sep 28th, 2010, 09:41 AM
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Has anybody found a tour guide for Puerto Corinto? We are arriving on October 8, 2010 on the Statendam

Stu and Brenda
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Old Sep 28th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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See the link above.
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Old Sep 28th, 2010, 12:00 PM
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Would love to do another Panama Canal cruise, but nothing planned right now. However, if we're fortunate to do that I would like an itinerary that includes Puerto Corinto. Jacketwatch was a tour of Copan offered by the cruise line? When we visited Guatemala on our PC cruise I had hoped we could tour Tikal, but distance made it impossible. Instead we found a wonderful guide, much as you did, in Antigua and had a very informative walking tour of the city. After the tour, we had lunch at a restaurant he suggested, did some shopping and then caught our bus to return to the ship.

Perhaps we'd be better off to just take a trip starting in Mexico to visit Palenque, and then travel to Copan and Tikal. Would be a three country trip and I'm sure we'd see much more of interest than just the three Mayan sites. Always thinking about someplace to travel to or see! lol
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Old Sep 29th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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Sorry, I really don't know. we usually do things on our own so I didn't llok to see what the ship offered. BTW I was surprised at how many nice restaurants there were in Antigua. We had a nice lunch at one of them.
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