Had it all with after a couple tough weeks of hiking, climbing, city tripping and horse riding in Nicaragua? Holiday time it is! And the East coast is where you want to go. You will find beautiful white sandy beaches, waving palm trees, azul blue sea and on top of that a taste of the extremely relaxed Caribbean vibe.
Sounds good, right? We thought so. Looking for a place to restore and completely reload? Head to Isla de Maïz Pequeña: Little Corn Island.
There is only a tiny hiccup: the journey to this bounty island is quite challenging.
No worries: I summed it all up for you. If you take the easy road, you’ll get there in a couple hours. Otherwise, in 2 days.
GET TO LITTLE CORN ISLAND BY PLANE AND BOAT
Since we were in Las Peñitas, all the way at the West coast, we calculated that it would take us about 35 hours to reach Little Corn Island by choosing for the budget journey. Even though we could save $200, we decided that we wanted to travel in ease, and so chose for the flight to Big Corn Island after which you take a small boat to Little Corn Island.
We wanted to rest and relax after all, and didn’t feel like recovering from an intense journey for the first couple days. Of course, if you are on a tight budget, feel free to take the alternative transportation option from Managua: by bus, panga (boat) and ferry.
Note! Don’t forget to get cash at the ATM on the airport. Little Corn Island doesn’t have an ATM. There is an ATM on Big Corn and you will cross the bank when you head to the harbor, so it’s possible to get your money over there as well.
The only airline flying from Managua to Big Corn Island is La Costeña.
After an interesting check-in (don’t bother throwing away your water, hand over your enormous plastic boarding passes and walk to the plane besides/beside your luggage) we arrived at Big Corn in the afternoon.
You can feel the Carribean vibe as soon as you get out of the plane.
People approach you in English, there’s reggae everywhere and you should “relax mon”.
We got on the boat to Little Corn and as soon as you see the small, green, rocky island appearing, you know you are heading to a little paradise.
WHAT TO DO ON LITTLE CORN ISLAND?
So what should you do when you arrived at Little Corn? Let’s start with the relaxing part.
There are plenty of beautiful bounty beaches to go to. During our visit in June we experienced low season, which gives you the feeling you’re alone on the island.
Both beaches in the East as in the North where most of the time deserted.
I can strongly recommend walking north. Pass the baseball field and at the intersection that follows choose Yemaya (left).
Enjoy a drink at the beach bar or walk a little to the left to see muscled men loading up tiny boats with lobster crates in order to commute them to the fishing buts just of the shore.
If you are into some exercise, just walk to the right. There are several beautiful bays to cross, all the way to the East part of the island. The wind is a little stronger on this side, so the water is less clear.
It’s always a good idea to carry on your snorkeling set when you travel, especially when you’re heading to the Caribbean.
You can snorkel from the coast of the Northern part of Little Corn Island, just swim up towards the waves you’ll see ahead of you. It’s the ocean that hits the coral over there. The water is a little rough, but there are plenty of fish to see.
I can also recommend you snorkling near the rocks at any of the bays. A lot of fish over there as well.
However, it gets even better when you go on one of the organized snorkeling trips. You’ll find plenty of men on the island who want to take you. A tour costs about $15 and you will visit 2 snorkeling spots.
Be prepared for barracudas, lobsters, hundreds sorts of fish and sharks!
If you take the sunset tour, you probably might bump into turtles as well!
Could it get even better? Yes, it does. You will hear the men in the harbor talking about Beach Parties. These are not the ones with fluorescent paint, fire spitting and thousands of drunk teenagers. It means a full day of fishing, snorkeling (3 spots) and enjoying your freshly caught fish from the barbecue! Add a nice drink and you understand why they call it a party.
I definitely recommend you to spend some extra dollars on this experience. You can get the party for $30-35 dollars.
We didn’t try it, however, friends of us did and they really enjoyed diving near the island. We spotted at least 2 dive shops in the harbor, they both looked professional to us.
It’s $35 per dive spot and there are over 20 spots to choose from. You’ll probably see about the same as when you go snorkeling, however, of course it’s possible to get near the fish.
Where to sleep?
Since there’s no motorized transportation you will have to walk your way around the island.
You can choose to settle in the harbor. The benefit of sleeping near the harbor, is that you are close to the couple restaurants and shops. You will have to accept that you don’t have a brilliant beach view and will have to walk at least 15 minutes to the nicest beaches.
The Green House has crowded, but cozy dorms and a kitchen.
A little further up the road is hostel The Three Brothers, they have 28 (!) rooms. We stayed here for a couple days since we like to cook ourselves (at this time of the year, you will have the hall and the shared bathroom to yourself).
However, if you want to get the bounty island feeling, get your backpack and move to the North or the East side of the island. About 15 to 30 minutes walking.
We headed to the East side, since there are a lot of “cabañas” (beach cabins) that face the sea. The cabins cost about $15-$20 a night.
Our red cabin was at Carlitos place: only 13 steps from the sea.
Graces Cool Spot, left to Carlitos place with dotted yellow cabins, offers a lot of cabins as well and has a cute little restaurant.
If you’re in for a treat, try Yemaya. We spotted some cabins with a jaccuzi! On top of that, the views are amazing.
WHERE TO EAT?
Since supplies have to go from the mainland via Big Corn to Little Corn Island, food is quite expensive over here. There is a boat with supplies that arrives on the island every Thursday, after which you can find vegetables and some fruit as well.
Furthermore, there are some pulperias that sell about everything you need.
We also found a nice “bakery” in the North-West part of town. Best coconut bread of the island, only need to ignore the burping woman who sells it.
Most of the places on the beach have their own tiny restaurant with good, basic food and cold drinks. If you want a good breakfast, walk up to Rosa’s. We recommend the fruit bowl (it’s enormous), the tortilla’s or the cheese omelet. No need for lunch after that. The breakfast is 100 cordobas ($3,30) and includes a drink.
Rosa’s neighbor, El Bosque, offers great dinners. When you visit the island you will have to try Rondon, a slow cooked coconut-based fish soup. Usually they add lobster to it, when it’s not the season you’ll find chicken, fish and shrimps. We ordered Rondon at El Bosque and believe us, 1 bowl for 2 people is enough. Order a side dish or dessert if you’re still hungry. (Can’t imagine that, however, the chocolate cake is really nice.)
The hippest bar/restaurant on the island is Tranquilo. A nice place to enjoy happy hours (Mango Colada!). They have a good party on Saturday and Tuesday is pubquiz night.
The other cool spot is Desideri, just a couple restaurants up. The atmosphere is great, the food is good (nice french fries on the side!), however, it’s really pricey (about $10 for a main dish).
In total we spent 5 days on the island, that was enough to enjoy all the beaches and snorkel a couple times. The island might feel expensive, however, you can work your way around by making decisions on what to eat or where to sleep. And you can always bargain of course.
On average, we spent $50 dollars a day for the 2 of us, including snorkeling tours. Believe me, it’s worth it. You get back completely relaxed and reborn.