Little Corn Island.
Car was waiting for us outside Hostel El Momento at exactly 4am. I was shocked. Guess I’ve done a little too much traveling through S.E.A.. Took about an hour to get from Granada to Managua airport. The domestic “terminal” consists of one room with one airline. The room was completely packed by the time the ticketing stand actually opened. The way everyone rushed the line you would think they had oversold the flight. Well, we made it to Big Corn Island. Took a taxi with 2 strangers for C$20 each to the dock. Another line followed for boat tickets to Little Corn. We were in luck because this was the first day the boat was running out of the past 3 days, weather issues. (Also a month previous one of the pangas capsized and 13 passengers died, so they’ve been more cautious about crossing the sea in bad conditions.) We got tickets for the 10:30am panga. You would have thought it was a Titanic lifeboat. Before the boat was even tied to the dock people were literally throwing their bags and themselves on the vessel. It was a pretty overwhelming scene. We made it on, (because my father and I are troopers, obviously). The ride over was pretty exhilarating, the waves bouncing us at the bow of the boat were aggressive; scary actually, but fun, I decided to pretend it was a roller coaster rather than a possibly sinking death ship. I mentally made myself laugh, though truly scared because I was in the situation regardless.
We arrived at Little Corn about 45min later, relatively dry. Men with signs and wheelbarrow met the disembarking survivors. Calling out homestay and hotel names. One of the men was already going to the place we wanted to stay and said he could carry our bags in his wheelbarrow. I agreed. Thank god, because it was on the other side of the island, the windy side. We ended up staying at Elsa’s, in a cute yellow bungalow for $45 a night, just steps up from the water. I could see the ocean from my bed when the door was open.
The island reminds me a lot of the Gilis in Indonesia and Koh Rong in Cambodia. No motor vehicles, dive enthusiasts, dreaded-out peeps finding their creative beat, and restaurants emphasizing free wifi and happy hour, all tied together by one walkway stringing along the coast. Also offers sprinkled secluded beaches where I can self-time photos and read in peace.
The activity list here isn’t that long, which is great. Walking around with a single destination with no rush on time makes you truly feel like you’re on vacation. I ate at some incredible restaurants. On a $20, 2hr snorkel tour, I was lucky enough to see a spotted ray, nurse sharks, and a stingray.
Dream Catchers, the newest restaurant on the island, serves delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the second floor, surrounded by coconut trees, you feel like you’re in the ultimate tropical tree house when served fresh coconut water.The Turned Turtle is the prime restaurant, and they know it, higher prices, but 100% worth it. Located on the windy side, close to Elsa’s. The cutest bar tenders in town work at Tranquillo, the spot everyone goes for happy hour and beach bonfires (Saturdays). Café Desideri has the strongest wifi on the island and the best coconut carrot soup on the planet (my fathers words not mine). A bit of a walk gets you to the nicest hotel and beach on the island, Yamaya,. Their beach bar is iconic; a stretch of dreamy white sand, hammocks, wind in the palms… But pricey drinks, so hit it 1-4pm happy hour and it’s almost reasonable. As good as the scenery and drinks might be, go for the lobster tacos. They are the best lobster tacos I’ve ever had in my life. I ordered 2 more after I was full, just to be sure of this statement.
Stop by the Lighthouse on the journey over to Yamaya. If I were to do-over, I’d take a blanket to sit on and a six-pack to enjoy from the top, the highest and best 360 degree view of Little Corn Island.
My island conclusion.
Its mellow, extremely mellow. I wouldn’t call it a party island. I didn’t ever stay up past 10pm. (Staying on the windy side was a bit discouraging of trying to get to the busy side late night.) I loved the windy side though, having the sunrise and the constant breeze kept the bungalow cool and mosquito free. The plan in general here is to have no plan. The number one thing people sell here are snorkel trips, yet they aren’t pushy about it, which is a nice change compared to other 3rd world countries. I’ll be laying on the beach and someone would ask if I’m interested in snorkeling and if I’d say, “not today”, they’d respond, “Ok, maybe see you tomorrow” and continue walking. I’ve noticed in Nicaragua as a whole people selling things on the streets, to markets, to tours, aren’t pushy; they don’t yell, “best price for you”, or guilt trip you when you walk away. They are considerate and gracious that you listened or stopped by to look at what goods they were selling. Nicaragua is the first country I’ve been to in Central America, and even though this islands name is Little Corn, it has made a big impression and I will be back.