Wanna buy an island?

Wanna buy an island?
November 21, 2009 Lainie Liberti

Lake Nicaragua’s Volcanic Islands

Miro and I have been living in Granada coming close to two months and haven’t done a lot of touristy things in the city or country for that matter. Instead, we’ve eased into the groove of life, being a citizen of Granada, partaking in the flow of everyday life. As it got closer to the time we were leaving, Miro and I decided to take advantages of one of the city’s many tours. We booked our “isleta tour” offered in every travel shop in Granada for the morning.

The isletas are an archipelago of small islands in the biggest lake in the country called Lake Nicaragua. Although we had walked down to the shore of Lake Nicaragua many times, we had yet to explore the lake beyond the shore.

The archipelago is made up of numerous volcanic islands (over 350 islands) that have a variety of fauna and flora, a huge diversity of bird life, and native monkeys.

We were picked up a boat at the end of Granada’s lake front road and boarded for our tour along with eight other people. The boat headed through the narrow channels between the splattering of islands, which kept us shaded and cool in the 100 degree heat.

There was great difference between the islands that were public and those that were private.

Some of the larger one closer to the mainland were inhabited by Nicaraguans as the barefoot children ran along the shores to greet the our boats with smiles and waves.

One of the islands we stopped had historical value. It was used as a military base and a look out point during one of Nicaragua’s many conflicts.

The smaller islands located with a little more seclusion, were obviously privately owned. They had luxury homes build on them, ranging in size from a small mansion types to multi-winged, multi-buildings built like a fortresses. Our tour operator continued to point out the which of the privately owned islands belonged to Americans and Europeans, which seemed to be the majority among the lot.

Occasionally, we saw a for sale sign, and the question was raised “Wanna buy an island?”

One of the highlights of our trip was our stop to monkey island where two monkeys boarded our boat on cue, with expectations of rewards. These monkeys were known by name to our guides and as expected, the monkeys were grateful to receive the sweet pre-packaged sugary treats, brought for this reason.  I thought this probably isn’t the healthiest for the monkeys, but they don’t know better. I thought, they don’t find this stuff in their natural habitat, wonder what this does to their normal diet of bananas and leaves. I watched as the routine as it played itself out, monkeys grabbing for food, tourists taking pictures, and guides were satisfied.

All for our entertainment.

Just breathing a little consciousness into these sacred moments, hoping it makes a small difference, somehow.

Afterall, I don’t really wanna buy an island.

[miniflickr photoset_id=”72157622774982593″ ]

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