Sunken Nazi U-Boat & Nicaraguan Freighter Bluefields found Off North Carolina Coast

Written by PZ RACS on . Posted in International

Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries found two vessels off the North Carolina coast: a sunken Nazi U-boat and a Nicaraguan freighter.

Both ships were lost for more than 70 years before they were rediscovered 30 miles off the coast.

Bluefields sonar image.


NOAA researchers say on July 15, 1942, a group of 19 merchant ships escorted by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard was en route to Key West, Florida, from Norfolk, Virginia, to deliver cargo to aid the war effort.  The convoy was attacked off Cape Hatteras. The U-576 sank Bluefields and severely damaged two other ships. In response, U.S. Navy Kingfisher aircraft bombed U-576, while the merchant ship Unicoi attacked it with its deck gun.

U-576 sonar image.

Both wrecks are protected under international law. No crew members died on the Nicaraguan ship, but four Allied soldiers died during the battle.

The NOAA says that the sunken U-boat is now considered a maritime grave for all 45 deceased crew members.

Sources: The Weather Channel | WCTI12


A Laid-Back New Nirvana In Nicaragua: Yemaya Island Hideaway On Little Corn Island

Written by PZ RACS on . Posted in International

By: Ann Abel

There’s something irresistible about a hotel where no one dresses up for dinner but everyone kicks off their shoes in the dining pavilion. The new eco-chic Yemaya Island Hideaway is that kind of place.

It’s laid-back but quietly luxurious, flash-free but flawlessly executed, and the first stylish place to stay on the remote, tiny Little Corn Island, a speck in the Caribbean about 43 miles from Nicaragua’s east coast. The 16 cabanas are spacious, with decks overlooking the sea, big comfortable beds, hot stone-walled showers with locally made coconut-oil bath products, and plenty of room to spread out. They’re simply but attractively decorated, with brightly embroidered throws strewn across the simple white beds, and direct access to the beach.

The hotel’s most beautiful space is either the covered yoga platform, where daily classes (soon twice-daily classes) are held amid the jungle greenery, or the dining pavilion overlooking the sea. It has the calm, almost reverent feeling of a yoga space too (hence the removal of shoes, or maybe it’s just because everyone’s usually sandy), and the guests are more likely to be sipping detox fruit smoothies at lunch than the local Toña beer.

The island itself is blissfully untouched, home to about 1,200 people, a rotating crew of backpackers and scuba divers, and no automobiles or paved roads. None of the beaches have furniture, just hammocks. Bathing suits are acceptable attire. To get from Yemaya to “town” entails a 30-minute hike through the jungle. (The path is well-maintained, but if you go for sunset cocktails, a headlamp for the walk home is a good idea.)

The comparisons to Costa Rica (or, rather, Costa Rica 20 years ago) are obvious, both from Nicaragua’s geography and Yemaya’s wellness focus. But when I arrived—after an insanely early 90-minute flight from Managua to Corn Island, a 20-minute ferry ride to the dock on Little Corn, and a second boat trip to Yemaya’s side of the island—my first impression was that I’d somehow wound up in Tulum. But Tulum back before the Mexican yoga-retreat town got as scene-y as it can be now. Barefoot guests, mostly in their 30s and glowing with relaxed good health, were finishing breakfast as I checked in and was served a fresh coconut with the top cut off and a straw stuck in, and young staffers were writing out the chalkboard menus.

The peace and simplicity were profound, but a high style quotient was clearly lurking in the background. It didn’t come as a surprise to learn that the owner also has three hotels in Tulum, and the managers previously worked at one of them. (Nor did it come as a shock to see that the A-list yoga chain Exhale held its New Year’s retreat here and is about to hold a teacher training.)

Source and Full Article


Nicaragua’s Caribbean secret: The Corn Islands

Written by PZ RACS on . Posted in International

Image via

The Corn Islands, made up of Little Corn Island and Big Corn Island, have long been known to surfers and backpackers and were once a refuge for pirates. Recent developments – including new hotels and activities – are putting the Corn Islands at the forefront as the next Caribbean destination piquing travelers’ interest. The two islands, located 43 miles off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, are a tropical paradise offering travelers the opportunity to get off the beaten path and explore the relaxed island lifestyle that includes turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, palm trees, stunning reefs and marine life. Not only for relaxing, visitors can also undertake adventurous activities that Nicaragua is known for including snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and fishing.

Getting to the Corn Islands lets travelers truly feel as though they’re discovering an unknown paradise. Travelers can take an hour flight provided by local airline La Costeña from Managua to Big Corn Island. For a little more adventure, Big Corn Island can be reached by taking the ferry that departs once a week from El Rama, making a short stop in Bluefields along the way; the total time of the trip from El Rama to Corn Island is around nine hours. Once on Big Corn Island, Little Corn Island is reached by a 30- to 40-minute boat ride. Travelers should note that limited flights and boat departures are available each day.

With a surface of around six square miles, Big Corn Island is three times larger than Little Corn Island. On Big Corn Island, long stretches of sandy beaches and a selection of charming lodging options can be found. Small neighborhoods and homes are scattered over the island while some parts of the island remain uninhabited. Stunning beaches include North End and Sally Peaches, while South End and Long Bay offer stretches of white-sand beaches.

Little Corn Island is a charming island that is only about 1.5 square miles in size. Filled with scenic ocean views unobstructed by cruise ships, its white-sand beaches, coral reefs, cabanas and local restaurants make Little Corn Island feel extra special. Locals get around on foot with no motorized vehicles available on the island. Little Corn Island is home to a population of approximately less than 1,200 individuals who mainly speak Creole English. Travelers will find a relaxed atmosphere and a way of life that embraces the surrounding nature.



10 Places to Go While They Are Still Cheap: 2014 Edition (Extract)

Written by PZ RACS on . Posted in International


Every few years, a new Central American country gets crowned "the next Costa Rica" -- meaning it's relatively safe and bursting with natural beauty, but it's not yet expensive and overrun with tourists. This year, Nicaragua is working hard to earn the title. Volcanoes, rainforests, rivers, and Caribbean beaches lure travelers looking for off-the-beaten-path adventure on the cheap. But as the term "the next Costa Rica" implies, if Nicaragua becomes more popular in the years to come, it will likely become more expensive as well. Until then, expect to be able to spend as little as $20 per day, or live the high life for not a whole lot more. Note that many see the recent constitutional amendment that removes term limits on the presidency as a potential threat to democracy, but it seems unlikely that there will be any immediate effect on travelers.

By: Christine Sarkis

Source: HuffPost Travel (Full Article)


My 15 Favorite Things to Do in Nicaragua (Extract)

Written by PZ RACS on . Posted in International

By Nomadic Matt

Escape to the Corn Islands

Located off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, the Corn Islands are a gorgeous place for a vacation retreat. Most people come to the islands to snorkel, scuba dive, fish, soak up the sun, and relax with a good book. There are two islands: Little Corn and Big Corn. Little Corn is the quieter, more backpacker-oriented island with cheaper guesthouses and fewer resorts. You can fly or take a ferry to Big Corn and then a smaller boat to Little Corn. Big Corn is more developed with larger resorts, restaurants, and is more expensive.

Source: My 15 Favorite Things to Do in Nicaragua (Full Article)