Bluefields itself has no bathing beaches. Much of the area was destroyed by Hurricane Joan in 1988, after which the port was moved across the bay to El Bluff. You can reach El Bluff, where giant fishing boats and tankers are docked amid fish-packing factories, on boats that run daily across the bay. It's an ugly but interesting harbor scene. Bluefields' most interesting building is the shore-side Moravian Church. Rebuilt after the hurricane, it was first constructed in 1848, and now sports a red roof and neat wooden paneling reminiscent of Caribbean buildings. It is in front of the Municipal Dock and is open for morning and evening services at 8am and 6pm.
Palo de Mayo is the event of the year, when the entire town gets down to some serious Caribbean boogying throughout the month of May. The festival actually has English and Dutch origins, when a maypole was erected in the center of town and the people celebrated the coming of spring by decorating it with ribbons and flowers. The modern version is somewhat racier and erotic, with parades, costumes, and dancing to a soundtrack of tropical calypso music. September 30 is the city's patron saint day, and the locals need little excuse to party, with a repeat festival on October 30 celebrating the region's autonomy. Food, music, and dancing are the order of the day.
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