December 16, 2014
Mike likes to stay in a place long enough to pick up the local vibe.
Like he did last year, when he spent three months living on a beautiful tropical island.
Just look at how he spent his time there...
Managing Editor, Fund Your Life Overseas
P.S. Mike has hit on a money-saving travel secret that means he can stay longer than the tourists. He can live in paradise for a fraction of what you think it might cost. We'll be revealing the secret tomorrow. Watch out for the email: Revealed: The Most Powerful Money-Saving Travel Secret Of All Time
Escape to Nicaragua's "Castaway Island"
By Mike Hopkins
The sun reflects off the calm Caribbean Sea as its warming rays evaporate the early morning dew. Listening to the gentle waves caress the untouched golden beach sands of your front yard, you sit up in bed, stretch, and prepare for a beautiful day.
Welcome, to Big Corn Island Nicaragua. This is the place I called "home" for three months last year. It was long enough for me to quit being a tourist and live like a local instead. Big Corn Island is 4 square miles and populated with about 6,000 bilingual (English and Spanish) warm and welcoming people.
Each morning I walked on deserted beaches, cycled around the island before it got too hot, chatted with locals, and picked up supplies. On Fridays, I'd go early to get fresh vegetables from the mainland.
Best of all, thanks to a savvy travel strategy, I had been invited to stay here.
Located about 45 miles east of the mainland in the Caribbean Sea, Big Corn Island is a rustic paradise. Walking, cycling, or taxi are the primary means of transportation—no traffic lights are needed. There are sidewalks in town, horses roam the rural streets, and schoolchildren walk on the landing strip of the local airport.
Before starting any expedition around the island I enjoyed a typical Nicaraguan breakfast. I could smell coffee brewing, bread baking in an oven, or hear children as they gather eggs; knowing the fruits of their labor will soon be mine.
I spent most afternoons lounging in the shade of palm trees, reading a book, or taking a relaxing swim in the sea. Being on an island, of course you can always try your luck at fishing, or enjoy scuba diving or snorkeling.
I've seen the sunrise, lived like a local during the heat of the day, and headed west to enjoy the sunset at one of the beachfront restaurants. A couple of drinks and an ample meal here will cost you between $15 and $20 per person.
If cooking is your forte, and fresh lobster is your craving, tell an islander a day or two before and they'll catch some for you; the cost is around $7 per pound.
The most celebrated local method of cooking seafood is in a "rundown." Most families have their own, unique, unwritten recipe for preparing a rundown with the main ingredients consistently being seafood, coconut water, and vegetables.
If you want this dish at a restaurant, it's best to order it the day before; this ensures they have the fresh seafood. Now that's something a tourist might not know.
I like being able to spend a few months in a place and get to know it. I've found a method of doing this that has also taken me to Costa Rica, Panama, and Puerto Rico. Who knows where I'll go next?