Top Ten Nicaragua Adventures

Dive on the Corn Islands
By Joshua Berman & Randy Wood
Tiger grouper
Even the reef's ugliest burghers are worth a look (Corel)

There are only two existing dive shops currently operating in Nicaragua, one on each of the Corn Islands. They share a combined 12 kilometers of reef. The shop on Little Corn has newer equipment, and the reef there was less affected by recent hurricanes. Both islands' reef systems feature a stunning diversity of wildlife, including rays, eels, angels, groupers, sharks, and enormous pools of African pompano. Both shops offer PADI certifications for about $250, plus a range of packages for all skill levels. Although the diving off the Corn Islands is impressive, the most spectacular and undoubtedly world-class site is found nearly 25 kilometers farther out to sea around a sea mount called Blowing Rock.

Nicaragua's Pacific side offers excellent diving as well, particularly in the south near San Juan del Sur, but there are no standard dive shops and conditions are predictably unpredictable (visibility can change from 1 to 20 meters from day to day). Equipment and guides can be found through one of several tour operators, including Eco Expedition Tours. There are rock reefs here (no coral formations) inhabited by large fish, including colorful wrasses, parrotfish, snappers, and huge surgeonfish. Once abundant, sharks have been overfished and their populations have thinned severely. The best Pacific diving in Nicaragua is between December and April during periods of clear, cold water upwelling associated with the strong offshore winds. Visibility is significantly poorer during the rainy season (June to November) due to sediment from the rivers enriching coastal water and provoking algal blooms.

More: Dive Little Corn

Text © 2003 by Joshua Berman and Randy Wood. Used by permission of Moon Handbooks. All rights reserved. Book is available through local bookstores and online booksellers.


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