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We are always impressed when we receive a submission to a destination that we have to Google. Little Corn Island is one of those submissions – until we received this, we had never even heard of it. Little Corn Island is on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. When images of Nicaragua are conjured, it is usually the beaches on the Pacific side of Nicaragua. Christina, of the blog Backpack and a Fork,recently went and here are her practical travel tips.
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I got an awesome deal to Nicaragua so I decided to take a trip to Little Corn Island.
A little bit about Little Corn Island — it is a Creole, English, and Spanish-speaking place, about 1.5 square miles in size. Although small in size, this island is a gem. If you are looking for authenticity and no tourism, Little Corn Island is the best. However, please note that Nicaragua has active cases of the Zika virus.
Getting to and Around Little Corn Island
I flew into Augusto C. Sandino International, located in Managua, Nicaragua. A $32 departure tax is paid at customs upon arrival. Make sure you have enough cash to expedite your time at customs. From there, I took a 10-seater plane to Big Corn Island (there is a $5 departure tax). Las Costena Airlines provides service to/from Corn Island. Check their website for times and bookings. My roundtrip ticket was approximately $200.
From Big Corn Island to Little Corn Island, I had to take a 30-minute panga ride. It was a $1 taxi from the airport to the dock and a $6 ticket for panga to Little Corn Island. Pangas leave at 10am and 4:30pm daily to Little Corn Island; for Big Corn Island, they depart at 6:30am and 1:30pm daily. The panga can be bumpy to Little Corn Island. I suggest positioning yourself in the back of the panga for a smoother ride if you don’t mind possibly getting wet. Keep in mind that pangas could be cancelled when it is too windy. Give yourself enough time to leave Little Corn Island so you won’t lose your mind about missing your flight home all because the pangas couldn’t depart.
Getting around Little Corn Island is really simple. There are two ways to get around Little Corn Island: walking and biking. That’s it! Little Corn Island does not have any motorized vehicles. AT. ALL. The island is extremely accessible. I walked from one side of the island to the other in 20 minutes. The roads are dirt paved, low traffic, and pretty quiet. I followed signs to get where I needed to go. Be prepared to get lost the first day or two. But it is relatively easy to get around once you know the lay of the island.
If you have not made accommodations, don’t fret! Once you get off the panga, there are people advertising accommodations. Accommodations vary from $10- 100 a night. Like I said before, the island is accessible so wherever you choose to stay, everything will be within walking distance. Keep in mind, the roads are dirt paved so some places may offer to cart your belongings in a wheelbarrow while others may not. If not, then be prepared to have dirty luggage wheels.
Although it is a small island, there are quite a few options for where to eat. The island has a ton of culture so when it comes to food, they have an amazing variety to choose from. One of the must-try dishes is róndon, a Caribbean seafood dish made in a coconut stew. Meals on average cost $5-15. Beers are about $2 and other drinks are about $3. Tipping is voluntary. Oh, and fruits! Take time to walk the island and pick up some mangoes or coconuts, while making sure that you don’t trespass.
They collect rainwater so the water is drinkable on the island.
Things to do
One of the big things to do here is diving. I am a certified diver and it was an amazing experience. They have two major dive shops. I went with Dolphin Dive because they provided an accommodation and dive package. Their dives cost about $35 plus gear. They dive daily at 9am, 11am, 3pm, and also offer night dives at 6pm. The dive sites are dependent on how windy it is and will be determined the day of the dive. Other things you can do include catching a baseball game with the locals, snorkeling, getting a massage, walking the entire island, or just relaxing and enjoying a beer or two in a hammock while watching the sunset.
Little Corn Island does not have a party scene. If you are looking to party hard or have a night of turn up, this isn’t the island for you. Expect a peaceful night of good conversations with people over drinks. I call this the quiet turn up.
Good to know
Little Corn Island accepts US Dollars and Córdoba (Nicaragua dollar). If you plan on bringing US dollars, make sure they are clean, intact and readable. Bring enough cash with you because they do not have ATMs on the island. The only ATM they have is an ATM back in Big Corn Island. Only a few restaurants accept credit cards. I would budget probably $20-40 dollars a day.
A little bit about the weather in Little Corn Island – they have a rainy season from October – November. Dry season is March to June. I went during the tail end of June and experienced sunny weather, splashed with a 5-minute monsoon rain here and there, but mostly gorgeous weather. According to the locals, the best time of year to visit is September because the weather is beautiful. Temperatures range from 68°F to 93°F, depending on when you decide to come.
I suggest bringing a flashlight with you. The majority of Little Corn Island roads are unlit and unless you have night vision power, walking in the dark could result in an unforeseen fight with a crab. You don’t want to be that person that has to tell a story about a crab winning a fight — it would not be pleasant. Bring bug repellent; as I stated earlier, Nicaragua has had reports of the Zika virus. Bring sunscreen and a light waterproof jacket for those unexpected rain showers.
Wi-Fi is spotty. I was able to bum Wi-Fi from the restaurants, like Tranquilo Café and Café Desideri, because they had battery packs. They change their Wi-Fi password daily so buy a beer or two. The Wi-fi is also dependent on the power on Big Corn Island because that is where the signal comes from.
The island has limited electricity and they turn off their electricity between 1pm to 6pm daily. What does this mean? That means get out of your hot room, disconnect from Wi-Fi, and explore the island!!!
The island is relatively safe. I traveled alone to Little Corn Island and everyone was very kind and friendly to me. BUT I would suggest to always trust your instincts if a situation does not feel right.
About the Author:
I am a lover of exploring the world while eating my way through it. My best friend once told me, ”No one sees the world like you.” I think he was telling me that I have a third eye or something…who knows?
When I am not traveling, I work in the Washington, D.C. area as a Registered Nurse. During my free time, I enjoy reading, spending time with my friends, and catching up on my DVR.
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