Muelle Viejo

Caribbean Coast

Take a stroll along the wooden boards of the historic Muelle Viejo (Old Pier), where both Sandino and the Contras received arms smuggled in from abroad, the former with the assistance of the town's prostitutes. But the 420m-long pier's biggest moment in the spotlight was in 1961, when Somoza lent the facility to US-funded Cuban exiles to launch the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion.

Today it's a hive of activity, especially in lobster season, when gallant divers line up outside with their wooden paddles, waiting their turn to get onto deep sea boats – mother ships from which they'll launch their small wooden canoes before diving down in search of the crustaceans.

There is a security gate halfway down the pier, but if you ask permission it's possible to walk all the way to the end. As you walk back, check out the panga graveyard in front of the military base on your right, where large fiberglass skiffs seized from narcotics traffickers lie half-buried in the sand – a testament to the not-so-legal shipping lanes that pass in front of the town.

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