Difference between revisions of "Little Corn Island"
Revision as of 19:54, 20 January 2013
Little Corn Island is off the coast of Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea.
The island was originally colonized by the British, and most native islanders have more in common culturally with other English-speaking Caribbean islands than they do with the mainland of Nicaragua. Many have English surnames.
Tourism on the island is still in its infancy, and what is there is small, basic and, thus far, fairly eco-friendly. Some of the places to stay rely on solar and wind power for their electricity, and many have their own wells which draw drinkable water and/or collect rain water. The people are typically friendly, laid back and genuine.
Almost everyone on the island speaks both passable Spanish and English, the latter being the first language of most who are native to the island. The English spoken, however, is heavily Caribbean, and real communication can be far from effortless. There are many inhabitants who have come over from mainland Nicaragua and consequently speak Spanish as a first language, and others who speak Miskito and other Caribbean languages or dialects.
When you come to the Corn Islands, remember this statement: Since you have to fly in to Big Corn, and many people assume that both islands are similar, they tend to stay on the "Big" island for several days, and save the last day or 2 for Little Corn. The most overheard statement on Little Corn is "Wow, this is so much better (more beautiful, cleaner, more natural, nicer, better amenities, diving, hotels, etc), I should have come here sooner!" And anyone who doesn't have a stockholders meeting or a graduation to get back to, almost invariably finds a way to stay longer than they had planned. It's not at all uncommon for someone to come for a few days, only to stay for a month or more. Many calls are made to change flights. So the point is, if you plan your stay for longer, or to just go direct to Little Corn on the panga right after your flight arrives, you'll have listened to the best advice there is about a trip there.
Almost everyone reaches the island via the twice-daily panga (ferry), which leaves Big Corn Island at 10AM and 4:30PM, and leaves Little Corn at 6:30AM and 1:30PM. The price of the panga is 130 Cordobas (US$6). The ride takes between 30 and 45 minutes and can sometimes get pretty rough. The back of the boat is less rough, while the front is less wet. Sitting on your life vest will help ease the pain in your ass on the rough days. As much as some people love the breakneck speed the drivers used to cross at, they have become more considerate of the more fragile on board in recent years.
You'll need to reconfirm your flight from Big Corn Island back to the mainland 24 hours before; if you're patronizing one of the dive shops they'll do it for you, or the Dolphin Hotels (Los Dolphines) internet cafe, or Farm Peace and Love's internet cafe if you stay on the North end of the island. If you are staying on the East Side of the island (Cocal Beach), Casa Iguana offers an internet cafe and/or Little Corn Beach and Bungalow offer satellite WiFi with your own device. Tranquilo Cafe will also let you use their cell phone to confirm, or their WiFi for a Skype or Google Voice call. They also have a house laptop if you don't have Wi-Fi ready device.
Schedules change, routes shift and transportation can be unpredictable. For the latest updated information on how to get from Managua to Little Corn Island by plane, bus and boat, view the graphic: Managua to Little Corn Island 
The island is walkable, and in fact you have no choice... there´s not a single motorized vehicle on the island, and no roads on which to drive anyhow. There´s a paved sidewalk along the west coast near the pier, and beyond that you´re hiking through narrow dirt paths through the jungle-like interior of the island. You could walk the length of the island in less than an hour, though the paths get muddy and slippery very quickly during the rain. You can walk most of the east side of the island along the beach, with a couple of tricky spots at high tide.
There are bicycles on the island, though take care on the rough dirt paths. Ask at your guesthouse if interested. If you (rightfully) choose to run around barefoot, keep an eye out for broken glass. Walking bare foot is never advised(decide for yourself), unless youre walking on the beach. The "City" walkways are often too dirty for bare feet, so wear flip flops at least, but walking is only easy to those are in good physical shape, it is a remote island after all. Great place for morning and evening jogging around the island. Water shoes are also recommended as there is plenty of coral around the island that can cut your feet or legs while swimming.
There's not a whole lot to see on the island, per se, other than the deep blue sea. There are a couple of tiny and uninteresting churches, and a couple of sunken boats to gaze at offshore.
A run down "lighthouse" lies on the northwestern-ish part of the island, next to the giant cell phone tower that dwarfs it. It´s climbable and offers an awesome view of the whole island, but take care on the ladder, and think twice if you´re afraid of heights.
There is a football (soccer) field in the center of the island which might see an impromtu match a couple times a year, and a newly renovated baseball field further north from the lighthouse. When there's a local series going, you can see the equivalent of the best of old fashioned small town baseball, with a great mix of local islanders, ex-pats, and tourists in the bleachers.
Firefly Yoga and Massage Studio located at Little Corn Beach and Bungalow (LCBB) offers daily yoga classes (mats provided) and Swedish and Rolfing type massage by appointment. The comfortable environment is enveloped by jungle with jungle sounds and the sound of the sea in the background. The Studio is open to all island visitors and residents. Little Corn Beach and Bungalow owners provide free yoga classes for their employees on Thursdays. Contact Firefly Studio at firstname.lastname@example.org or call LCBB at 011 505 8 333 0956.
Fishing out of Little Corn is casual and often productive. No license required, just rods in PVC rod holders while trolling ballyhoo baits from an open 20 ft panga. Elvis and Alfonso can be contacted by asking in the village. Elvis charges $35 per person for a 3 hr trip. King mackerel, barracuda, and mahi mahi (dorado) are surprisingly abundant. They offer locally guided trips.
Fly Fishing Little Corn: A guy named Brandon offers a full service fly fishing charter on Little Corn Island. Try your hand at catching the elusive Bonefish, Tarpon or Permit. Or go for all three for a "Grand Slam". Along with these on shore fish, you can to go for big game fish off shore. He offers lessons in fly fishing and casting, he'll have you casting and catching fish in no time. No equipment? No problem. Fly Fishing Little Corn has a selection of rods, reels, and lines available to be booked with our charters. Prices start at $50/person. Check out the website for more information: www.flyfishinglittlecorn.com
Little Corn Fishing Charters Sport fishing tours are run from "Grendel," an open 26-foot center console super panga with two fighting chairs and bimini top to provide much needed shade. It's equipped with GPS, VHS, down rigger and high-speed planer. Generally, trolling in Little Corn is with rigged ballyhoo. Near the island coast (about 5 miles out and closer), anglers chase after kingfish, sailfish, amberjacks, barracuda, African pompano, snapper and mackerel. The mahi mahi and yellow tail average around 30 pounds. The saifish is more common a catch than one would suspect. $50/person for 3 hours; min. 2 people; $10/person thereafter; 2 trips daily. Ask for Chris at Dive Little Corn or Casa Iguana. No reservations required. Visa and MC accepted.
Beer is available at most guesthouses and restaurants around the island, as is the usual Flor de Caña rum.
Tranquilo Cafe. Front side. Lots of Happy Hour Specials from 5-7pm, and the best place on the island to be "seen", share travel stories, and enjoy the view and sunset. Besides beer (including Guinness), it has the largest cocktail menu on the island. Also fresh brewed hot and iced Nicaraguan coffees, local fruit juice "frescos", smoothies. Famous for their twice weekly Bonfire Parties and DJ nights. Also features free WiFi until 10pm for those who can put down that iPhone while chilling. Until late, depending on the crowd.
There are few hotels near the port, while the more rustic places are scattered around the island. Note that the island has an almost constant easterly breeze, keeping the eastern and northern sides cool, while the western side near the port swelters in the sun most of the day. The wind also helps to keep the mosquitoes and sandflies to a minimum, which you may want to consider in choosing your accommodation.
Near the port
Further south, there are 3 places all next to each other, which have the cheapest huts on the island, beachfront restaurants in the sand serving whatever is available that day, and little to distinguish them from each other. While some have an official name, most are known by their owners name. From top to bottom:
The island is relatively safe and few travelers encounter problems, but you should definitely take the normal precautions and not let the peacefulness get your guard down. Violent incidents are rare, but have happened in the past.
Carry a flashlight (torch) if you won´t be back before dark, getting lost in the jungle wouldn´t be fun for most people.
There are a lot of dogs running around the island, and while usually friendly, keep your eye on them.