Separated from the majority of the population in Nicaragua by an expanse of jungle and forests the Caribbean side of the country is harder to get to but certainly offers a rewarding experience for those that do make the journey. There are no roads that fully connect the Caribbean side of Nicaragua with the Pacific side so for those looking to make the trek over land, you will find yourself on a series of buses and river boats until reaching the coast. Since I was limited on time, I took the easy route and booked a flight from Managua through Bluefield and into Big Corn Island.
Arriving in Big Corn you catch a taxi to the port to wait for the next panga ferry across to Little Corn. This ferry is little more than a large skiff with seats built into it and a space below to keep luggage dry. The hour long ride was fairly calm when I crossed but I’m told that most of the year this boat ride can be a harrowing experience with large waves, wind, and rain (we experienced the rain on the return journey).
So with a challenging journey, why would you go to Little Corn Island? If you’ve been following along, you can probably guess why I went to the Corn Islands….the diving of course! Little Corn offers pristine diving conditions with lots of untouched coral, large sea life, and an abundance of dive sites to select from. For those less into the diving scene, Little Corn is a great way to really unplug and get off the grid. The island only offers electricity from 2pm to 5am (except where private generators are in use) and wifi access is spotty at best. This means that you’ll have little choice but to kick back and enjoy the beaches.
Flips on the Trip
Little Corn certainly didn’t disappoint on the diving. The island has the most untouched reefs I’ve seen with huge coral, large sea life, and tons of fish. Since not many travelers make their way to the Corn Islands the reefs here are in great condition. In one dive at Blowing Rock (known as the best dive site in the area) we saw multiple reef sharks, turtles, barracuda, puffer fish, and too many other fish to name. The local dive shop, Dolphin Dive, had friendly and knowledgeable dive masters. I’ll definitely be back to dive Little Corn again one day!
Finished two books in my balcony hammock spot
I found a great hammock spot outside of the Hotel Delphines (the second place I stayed on the island) and most afternoons settled in to read and enjoy the sea breeze. I finished two really great books: The Book Thief and The Kite Runner. The Book Thief is the story of a little girl and her family as they live through World War II in Nazi Germany. The Kite Runner is an eye opening tale of two boys in growing up in Kabul as the various regimes fight and change throughout the years. It’s a great book to understand more about the culture and conflicts in Afghanistan.
Flops on the Trip
RAIN!!! Flooded out of our room
Me and my travel mate began the week on the north side of the island. This area is far from the main village but offers the best beaches on the island. Since it’s a bit out of the way, the accommodations are rustic to say the least. We stayed in an ocean front cabin made of mostly plywood. The only way to lock the room was with the pad locks we brought with us though anyone who exerted only a little effort could have gotten in.
While I’d been traveling in the ‘rainy season’ for most of the trip, this is the first time I really experienced it. We woke up on our first day to pouring rain. By the afternoon our cabin was taking on water through the front door and eventually leaking from various points in the roof. We attempted to keep our things dry but eventually moved to another cabin. It was not a great start to the week.
Drunken Locals gave me a scare
After settling into our new cabin, we went into the village to have drinks with some locals and another traveler. Everything started out fine and we were all having a good time but by the time we made the 15 minute dark walk through the forest back to our hostel, the locals were starting to get a bit too friendly.
When we arrived back at our hostel, there was another group of travelers and one expat local having drinks (really they’d already had enough). We joined the group under a palapa about 10 paces from the front door of our cabin. The locals advances continued to escalate and one seemed to be getting upset that we were continually turning him down. In addition the expat started getting irate and throwing racial slurs at the locals.
I began to realize that we probably weren’t in the best situation. We were two women hanging out with 6 very drunk guys 2 of which were becoming uncomfortably physical with me and another that was on the verge of starting a fight. We were only steps from our cabin so it would provide little escape with its plywood walls and no ability to lock the door from the inside. I’ve often been asked if there’s ever been a time where I was concerned about my safety. Well, so far this is the only time and luckily my fears didn’t play out. We ended the night by pushing the locals off and barricading into our cabin while we listed to the drunken expat, now with his pants around his ankles and sporting tighty-whities, yelling for help with God knows what.
Would you visit Little Corn Island?
Here’s a site that will get you started with where to stay, places to eat, and getting around.