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Please Don’t Go to Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Little Corn Island

 

Little Corn Island fulfills every Caribbean fantasy I could conjure

 

Little Corn Island

 

an untouched paradise

 

Little Corn Island

 

where magical jungle meets crystalline turquoise sea

 

Pangas to Little Corn

 

colorful boats rock gently on a sleepy harbor

 

Little Corn Island Beach

 

the water is warm

 

Little Corn Island Beach

 

the air is breezy

 

Little Corn Island Shack

 

and the smell of fresh coconut bread wafts

 

Little Corn Island Cool Spot

 

from pink, periwinkle, and lemon painted houses

 

Little Corn Island

 

where families sell pillowy loaves for less than a dollar.

 

Little Corn Island Ocean

 

Heaps of lobster come ashore from the salty sea

 

Little Corn Island Lobster

 

swim in coconut curry

 

Little Corn Island

 

and rest in satisfied bellies.

 

Little Corn Island

 

Everyone wanders the island barefoot

 

Little Corn Island

 

no shoes no shirt no problem

 

Little Corn Island

 

and drinks rum from fresh coconuts around a blazing bonfire.

 

Little Corn Island Dolphin Dive

 

Divers spend their days deep underwater

 

Little Corn Island Dolphin Dive

 

making dolphins, sharks, and stingrays their friends.

 

Little Corn Island Farm Peace and Love

 

Yogis wander into the woods to a magical, spiritual space

 

Little Corn Island

 

and flow with a beauty who once called my jungle her home.

 

Little Corn Island Stedman's

 

Travelers sleep in shacks, with no electricity in the day

 

Little Corn Island Casa Iguana

 

grateful for the intermittent internet from gringo cafes.

 

Little Corn Island Island Trader

 

Provisions are precious and come but once a week

 

Little Corn Island

 

reminding privileged travelers you can’t always get what you need.

 

Little Corn Island Fishing

 

Evenings feel as safe as balmy childhood summers

 

Little Corn Island Sunset

 

under a bedazzled sky and a glowing moon

 

Little Corn Island Sunset

 

the path is dark but fireflies will guide you home.

 

Little Corn Island Miss Priscilla

 

Time does not exist

 

Little Corn Island Lighthouse

 

rather the rise and set of the sun

 

Little Corn Island Sunrise

 

the glow and fade of the stars

 

Little Corn Island North Beaches

 

and though each day passes

 

Little Corn Island North Beaches

 

life continues

 

Little Corn Island North Beaches

 

to always stay the same.

 

Little Corn Island North Beaches

 

So please

 

Little Corn Island

 

whatever you do

 

Little Corn Island

 

don’t go to Little Corn.

 

Little Corn Island

 

Let it stay perfect

 

Little Corn Island Sunset Harbor

 

and let it stay mine.

 

But, if you must go…

 

 

Where to Stay on Little Corn Island

 

Little Corn Beach and Bungalows
Starting at $30/night in low season for 2 people, Master Suites for $140 in high season

This is the loveliest, most luxury accommodation on the beach side of the island. The cabins are beautiful, look out onto the ocean, are centrally located and on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. They also have wifi which, while spotty, is pure solid gold on this island. It’s almost unbelievable that cabins start at $30. The inexpensive rooms fill fast, so book in advance. Kayak rentals and snorkels are available to rent and the onsite bar and restaurant is delicious.

 

Casa Iguana
Starting at $35/night for a cabin for 2

These cabins are built up on a bluff and have stunning views of the East side of the island. The onsite restaurant has wifi, free purified water, the best french toast I’ve ever tasted (soaked in coconut cream custard and topped with coconut infused syrup and shredded coconut), and uses organic ingredients from their own farm.

 

Cool Spot aka Grace’s Place
Starting at $15/night for a double with shared bathroom, $50 for a cabin with kitchen

I stayed at Cool Spot for more than a week and for the same price as a dorm bed in Costa Rica I was quite happy for my simply beachfront shack. Sure my feet were sandy all day every day but that’s part of the fun! I met awesome solo travelers here. It does have the most party atmosphere of the beach accommodations, which was annoying at times. They host twice weekly beach barbecues and bonfires.

 

Three Brothers
Starting at $10 per night for a double

If you are a serious budget traveler, this is the only hotel (there are no hostels) on the island with a shared kitchen. Rooms are clean and the kitchen is spacious. It sits on the West side of the island in town, a fifteen minute walk across the jungle to the beach.

 

 

Where to Eat on Little Corn Island

 

Tranquilo Cafe

$3-5 cocktails, $6-8 meals

The entire social scene of the island seems to center around Tranquilo Cafe. Every night they offer happy hour drink specials from 5-7 and have bonfires a few times a week. The ceviche, fish tacos, and burger are delicious and I became obsessed with their raw beet slaw (a valuable commodity on an island with no health food). Do not miss the amazing smoothies with fresh fruit, yogurt, and avocado. Did I mention they have the best internet connection on the island?

 

Café Desideri

$5-8 for lunch, $8-12 for dinner

The tastiest restaurant on the island imho. My first night I enjoyed fresh kingfish fillet smothered in onions and coconut sauce with roasted veggies and green papaya salad. It was amazing. They also offer Italian treats like lobster pasta and lasagna. I’ve heard the breakfast is to die for as well.

 

Turned Turtle

$4-6 for breakfast, $10-15 for four course dinner, $6 for a life changing Pina Colada

The lovely beachfront restaurant of Little Corn Beach and Bungalows. Delicious breakfasts come with toasted local coconut bread topped with cinnamon and sugar. The dinner is by far the best deal on the island with an appetizer (usually a delicious homemade garlic bread), small salad,  entree with starch and vegetable, and dessert. My favorites were the tender filet mignon on a bed of fresh spinach with a buttery, buttery, BUTTERY baked potato and the parmesan crusted snapper in a spicy red pepper cream sauce. Whatever you order be sure to try the Pina Colada. Thick, smooth, and creamy with a big dollop of toasted shredded coconut it blows any Pina Colada… no ANY DRINK I’ve ever had out of the water. It is amazing. Trust me.

 

Colorview

Come here for local rondon (coconut seafood stew) and lobster. The atmosphere leaves something to be desired but if you want delicious, local food, you can’t beat it.

 

“Street Food”

Some of the best and certainly the cheapest food on Little Corn is sold from local homes and on the street. Wander town looking for cardboard signs reading “hay pan de coco” and buy yourself a delicious loaf of local coconut bread. Next to the dock is a woman selling fruit and vegetables and ready to eat slices of watermelon for $.50. Be sure to find the old local man selling coconut cookies and Nicaraguan pati (similar to an empanada) on the street and on the beach.

 

 

What to Do on Little Corn Island

 

Explore the island

It may be called “Little Corn” but there is so much to see on this island. Walk the beach up to the deserted northern coves, explore the hidden beaches behind Casa Iguana, visit the farm on the South side, and climb the lighthouse in the center of the island. Tourist maps are readily available.

 

Dive

Diving is practically a religion on this island and there are plenty of reputable dive shops for you to choose from. If you are looking to get your open water dive certification it is an incredible bargain here for $300. Fun dives cost $35 and a one time experience for those without certification costs $65 for basic skills training and a 1 hour dive. I did my dive with Dolphin Dive and found them to be professional and fun.

 

Snorkel

There are some nice reefs you can swim to from the beach in front of Casa Iguana or you can arrange a snorkel tour for about $20. You can arrange a tour through your hotel or with any of the guys trolling the beach.

 

Trip to the Pearl Keys

$50 for a full day

A few hours from Little Corn lies a stunning island chain said to rival the San Blas islands in Panama. Some are completely deserted, others are privately owned. Arrange a tour to visit these tiny tropical islands, spend a few hours snorkeling and fishing, and eat a big seafood barbecue on the beach. I have heard this tour is phenomenal.

 

Yoga at Firefly Yoga and Massage

$10 for a 1.5 hour yoga class, intro specials available, $40 for a 1 hour massage

When friends from Puerto Viejo heard I would be on Little Corn they urged me to take some classes at Firefly Yoga and Massage. The owner and instructor, Sarah, used to teach at Om, my favorite yoga studio in the world. Her studio on Little Corn might be the loveliest, most intimate, sacred yoga space I have ever entered. Surrounded by screens in the middle of the jungle you hear birds chirping and the waves crashing during your yoga or massage session. Sarah is an incredibly talented instructor, showing me transitions I had never seen before. In the few classes I took I learned how to go deeper into several postures and with greater ease. Her words during meditation are beautiful and she has a soft yet strong presence which keeps her classes grounded.

 

Relax

Lay in a hammock. Soak up the sun. Float in the glowing aqua sea. Sip a cold cerveza. Everything else can wait.

 

 

How to Get to Little Corn Island

 

It is possible to arrive by bus and boat to the Corn Islands, but the stories I have heard are so horrific I’d like to urge you to just fly.

Flights leave twice daily from Managua to Big Corn Island in the morning and afternoon for $160 round trip. It is possible to book an open return ticket, which is dangerous as you might never leave.

From Big Corn Island take a panga for 30 minutes ($6) to Little Corn which leaves an hour after the planes land.

 

 

What to Know About Little Corn Island

 

Stay on the beach

The beach side of the island is breezier and you really can’t beat the views. There is nothing quite like watching the stars before bed and waking up to see the sunrise over the ocean.

 

Bring cash

There is no ATM on Little Corn, only on Big Corn, so bring lots of cash. Some restaurants and hotels accept credit cards and charge a 5% fee.

 

Take the South path to town

Walking between town and the beach across the jungle is inevitable. Take the paved South path at night as I’ve heard there have been robberies on less trodden paths. Bring a flash light.

 

Electricity stops in the daytime

Most places run off of generators, but there is still no electricity between 6am and 3pm. Charge all of your electronics at night and be prepared to wake up when the fans shut off.

 

Fresh produce is difficult to come by

This was my biggest struggle staying on this island. Having a nice big salad for lunch is downright impossible. It’s understandable as food comes in by freight once a week.

 

English is widely spoken

The native tongue is English Creole but locals speak English and Spanish fluently.

 

Lower your service expectations

This is a laid back island with a very different culture. Expect to wait a long time for your food and drinks. Expect your order to occasionally be wrong. Do not expect to be asked if you want another drink, to have your water refilled, your bed changed, or to have anything done in a timely manner. If you want something, ask for it. Relax and it will all be ok.

 

Come during lobster season

Fresh, cheap lobster is a huge bonus, but be sure to come during lobster season which typically runs July through March. The rest of the year lobster is not available or comes from the freezer.

 

Want to plan a life changing trip to Costa Rica? Get my 150 page eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica!

 

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Comments

  1. This sounds lovely. :) Thank you for sharing paradise.

  2. Danielle Says: May 8, 2013 at 9:47 am

    That does sound delightful!!!! Hope you are feeling better : )

  3. Janet Vaught Says: May 8, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Oooooooh. Why you make me so jealous?

  4. Sounds wonderful. Once I win the lottery I’m going to travel for a living. Until then I’m going to make due with a few weeks a year and your stories.

    • Haha, this is definitely a place worth spending time in! And girl, you don’t need to win the lottery 😉

    • I’m unemployed! I have next to no money. It’s so cheap to travel in Central America I save up to go every year for a month. You can survive on 1000$ and if you book your flight months in advance you can get your tickets for 400 round! I’m in Nicaragua right now! Tip: avoid Granada it’s expensive and boring.

      • Hey Jesse! I know your comment is from Jan 2014 but hopefully you’ll see this and have a moment to help a sista out. :-) I’m planning on going to Nicaragua for the first time (in August) and want to be there for 3 months. I have a budget of $1,200 US a month for 3 people. Meaning $1,200 for food, rent, and entertainment. Is this doable? We already found awesome tickets on Spirit but just want to talk to someone who has been there several times and knows the “in’s and out’s”. Gracias! ~Nicole

        • Camille Willemain Says: May 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

          Hey Nicole $1200 in my opinion is far too little for 3 people. I would say if you plan on traveling around $1200 per person per month is more realistic. However, it could be doable if you plan to stay in one spot and rent a house somewhere. Hope this helps! :)

          • Thanks so much, Camille! We were definitely looking at renting a house to keep costs to a minimum. We also only eat fruit and do not drink alcohol so hopefully that will also keep costs minimal if the fruit is locally grown. So excited!

          • Camille Willemain Says: May 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm

            Great! Do keep in mind, it’s tough to buy food on the island because not much grows and there aren’t many shops. It’s definitely a good idea to bring some dry/dehydrated things (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.) from the mainland which will be much cheaper.

      • Hi, You say bring cash. Is that Nicaraguan Cordoba or US dollar? I am planning on checking out the Corn Islands. This will be my first trip to Nicaragua and I leave September 25, 2015!! :)

  5. Ahhhh..for those of use who have scene the wonders of the Osa, and had much difficulty leaving Little Corn, the pictures and memories are much appreciated. I get emotional every time I think about the time I spent in Central America. What kind of camera are you using?

    • Thanks Dusty! I use a point and shoot Canon Powershot A6000. It cost me $80 on Amazon so I’m never heartbroken if it gets covered in sand or stolen on the road. Also, what is this Lazybones Hostel? Is it on Big Corn?

  6. Loved the pics! We went to Little Corn two years ago and stayed at Derek’s in the beach house. Now our future vacations will never measure up (we just came back from Panama)! We stayed at Derek’s for 7 days, two days at Carlito’s, which was great too. I could have stayed forever.

    • Wow, look all of the places you went in Panama! I’ve still only seen Bocas, Panama City, and San Blas. Though I must say San Blas definitely rivals Little Corn as far as amazing beaches go!

  7. You just gave me wanderlust!! Thanks

  8. Such a nice commentary on my favorite place..you really covered all of the wonders of Little Corn. It’s so hard to keep it quiet when it is so special!

  9. Anonymous Says: May 9, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane! I left a piece of my heart on Little Corn Island! I AM going back to get it!

  10. What ’bout BIG CORN?! BEAUtiful Too!!! 😀

  11. Anonymous Says: May 31, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I am travelling to Nicaragua, including Little Corn for a few weeks this summer. I keep reading this post and looking at the pictures, over and over and over…. I can’t wait to sink my feet into the sand and sleep in the beach shack at Casa Iguana. I love your blog! Your “what to bring when beach backpacking” will be very handy…I am looking to order Turkish Towels as we speak :)

  12. Ara Anderson Says: July 25, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I absolutely love this blog! Thank you, gracias mil for posting this.

    Do you know how the weather is in August and September on the Corn Islands?

    I have been reading a lot online about traveling there and it seems that there different people say different things about this time of year. Some say it usually is beautiful and not too wet in August and September, but the weather data shows lots of rain.

    I’m flexible so if I have to I could wait until December and January or even after that, but I would go next month if there is nice weather, and the water is good for snorkeling.

    Thanks for any guidance you can give!

    Ara

    • Hi Ara! Thank you so much, so glad to hear you enjoy my blog. Weather in the Caribbean can be unpredictable, but what I’ve read is that September is one of the best times of year to go. I’m not exactly sure when lobster season is, but if I were you I’d time my visit accordingly. I tried to do some research but only saw that it ends in March and picks up again in July… hopefully that means yes there is lobster in September! It’s an amazing amazing place.

  13. Great post! We are leaving for the corn islands tomorrow (sorry!) Your pictures are gorgeous and made me even more excited! We’re going by bus and boat. Wish us luck!

    • This American Girl Says: September 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Christine, sorry it took me a while to respond to this. How did you like Little Corn? And please please tell us how it went with the bus and boat option!!

  14. Your story is a lot like mine…But your Pictures are WAY better. In 2004 at the ripe old age of 28 I put my house (full furnished) and car and everything I owned on ebay. I started the auction at $1. I then took my other car and drove south. I drove the Panamerican Highway. It was a great adventure. I live in the Central valley. Next time you are here look me up and I’ll buy you dinner as a “thanks” for reminding me why I’m here.

    • This American Girl Says: October 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Wow Dan your story is so inspiring! I’ve always wanted to do a road trip, some of my friends plan to do the Panamerican Highway next year. Any tips? I’m now in Northern Vietnam on Cat Ba Island but I will let you know the next time I’m in Costa Rica :)

  15. I just booked my trip to nicaragua for 13 days in March. I stumbled on to your site researching little corn. It’s exactly what i’m looking for on my vacation. How many days did you end up staying at Little corn. I’m having a hard time trying to figure out if i should go to leon, and ending my trip on the island or going to Ometepe and ending up on the island.

    • This American Girl Says: October 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Awesome Teddy, you will have a great time! I stayed 10 days. I think 5 days is enough time to get a feel for the island, do some diving or sailing, and relax. Though you could easily while away your entire trip here. If you can, spend the day before you fly out in Granada instead of Managua. It’s a really beautiful relaxed colonial town and it takes about 1 hour by shuttle bus to get to Managua. Personally I wasn’t enamored with Leon, but I know some people love it. I definitely prefer Granada to Leon. Ometepe I hear mixed reviews. I’ve never been but definitely plan to go. Keep in mind it’s a very rustic experience and challenging to get around, but the scenery is supposed to be incredible. If I were you I’d spend a week on Little Corn Island, a couple of days in Granada, and a couple of days trekking in volcanoes/mountains near Matagalpa or on Ometepe. Enjoy! No matter where you go it’ll be amazing :)

      • that’s for the reply! Yeah I definitely will be spending time in granada if i go to ometepe. I’m hearing mixed reviews in regards to Leon as well. Very tempting to just spend all 13 days on the island =) Well thanks for your input. I look forward to seeing new post wherever you adventures take you. Take care!

        • In my opinion Leon is better than Granada. I felt more safe in Leon and there is a lot of cheap authentic food to eat, beautiful old 16th century cathedrals to walk by and lots of friendly people. In Granada the gap between the rich and the poor is huge and only a block from the center are the poorest people I have ever seen in Central America. The restaurants are all European inspired, not Latin inspired so your choices are usually pasta and hamburgers (and lots of hotdogs). I finally found someone selling food out of their doorway at the end of the touristy area and bought a quesadilla. Authentic enough. Just because I’m a gringa doesn’t mean I’m made of money and want a private bathroom. I don’t care if your hostel is like “an American hotel” if I wanted an American hotel of go to America! Granada is not worth how expensive it is. Some restaurants have New York prices! And the horses look like they are going to die any minute. I’m in Granada right now and can’t wait to get on my way! The culture here is lost. You could even say it’s gentrified.

          • Camille Willemain Says: January 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm

            Hey Jessi, thanks for your message. People seem to be very polarized in their opinions about Granada and Leon. Personally, I love Granada for its markets and proximity to the lake, laguna, and volcano. I agree about the horses and there are certainly expensive gringo-y restaurants, but I’ve found really cool small local bars and plenty of awesome street food. I stayed in some good hostels for $5 as well.

            http://www.thisamericangirl.com/2013/05/15/granada-nicaragua-is-beautiful/

  16. What a fantastic post. Wonderful pictures and makes me want to visit Central America. Sigh..thanks for sharing!

  17. Precious Princess Says: November 20, 2013 at 8:08 am

    This is so perfect. Doing research right now on a trip. Wasn’t sure about Big Corn Island or Little Corn Island. Ummmm, you may have made up my mind. Excellent. Thanks.

  18. I love your blog. The title was very catchy…it compelled me to read. I just learned that I have a friend living over there. He left D.C. about 3 years ago to open a radio station over there. You might have heard of him Rasta Punch….I can’t wait to touch down over there..Seems like paradise….

    • This American Girl Says: November 28, 2013 at 2:45 am

      Thank you! It really is an amazing amazing place. Certainly one of the top three places I’ve ever been to. Enjoy it and let me know how it is :)

  19. Hi, Camille. Not sure if you recall, but I am Cindy Mc’s friend (English teacher you met in PV). I wrote you while I was in Vietnam as Cindy had told me about you when I was there, saying you were over there, as well. Well, last night, I booked a trip to Little Corn in March and in seeing my FB post, she said, “Camille’s written about that one, too!” Too funny. So here I am reading your info! I was glad to see your review of LCBB and Dolphin Dive, as both of those are on my itinerary right now. Will be there for a week and cannot wait. If you are still in Asia having fun, well, …have fun!! Thanks for the tips!

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks for your message Emily, I do remember you :) I hope you enjoyed your time in Vietnam! I’m now in Lombok. Enjoy your time on Little Corn, it truly is one of the most amazing places on earth! Head to Tranquilo at sunset for happy hour, the most happening spot on the whole island, and tell the owner John I sent you :)

  20. Will do, Camille!!! And you enjoy the rest of your journey! I know you are! Quick question: would you, by chance, recall who might do a $50 boat trip to the Pearl Cays? I am having trouble locating any info on getting there from LC. :( If not, no problem. It’s something I can look into when I arrive. Thanks again!

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 5, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Oh boy when you arrive you will have people practically harassing you trying to sell tours to the Pearl Cayes all down the beach, haha. Enjoy and please report back! 😉

      • Well, that’s good. The few places I’ve read have all quoted about $200 for trip from Bluefields or Pearl Lagoon to Pearl Cays…and the price is because of the gas it takes to get out there. They say gas alone in this area costs them $140-150 for such a trip….I will just see what happens when I get there…but literally, there is NO info online for getting to Pearl Cays from LC. Ugh.

        • Camille Willemain Says: January 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm

          Bluefields is very far from Little Corn so just fly from Managua and as soon as you get to Little Corn everything will fall into place trust me :)

  21. Thanks for the info. I love pv, and wonder if lc would be a little like pv was 25 years ago. How was the boat trip to lc? I get incredibly sea sick. Also, I have a three year old. How safe would it be traveling with him there, do you think? Is safety a concern for solo female travelers? Cheers!

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 30, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Hm, it’s tough to compare LC with PV, to me they are so different. LC is definitely touristy, but there are lots of locals living there and it’s not overly developed. Still lots of beautiful, peaceful places. By the boat I imagine you mean from Big Corn? I didn’t think it was too bad and it’s pretty short. It does get rough but not as a bad as many boat rides I’ve taken. The island is really really safe. I felt comfortable walking by myself there at night, which I can’t say about many places. People there look out for one another and if someone commits a crime they are actually kicked off the island. Best of luck to you Sabrina! :)

      • Different as it’s an island, I’m sure. I remember walking barefoot throughout pv’s “downtown” on soft dirt and sand streets in 1993. :-). Very different now.

        Yes, the boat from big corn. I’m feeling paranoid with a young child on a boat that could get rough. Justified fear, or do you think it’s safe?

        Thank you!

        • Camille Willemain Says: January 31, 2014 at 1:51 am

          Hmmm I think it will be ok. It’s not painful, mostly just a little wet and a little adventurous. I will ask some people I know who live there though, it’s been nearly a year and I don’t really remember the boat ride so well. I want to make sure your little one is safe :)

  22. Cheyenne Pauline Says: February 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Hi I would love to speak with you directly about living in nicaragua. Please email me at cheyennep53@gmail.com

  23. Hannah Marie Says: February 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

    this is awesome! You’re like living my dream… So you sold all your things and just started traveling?? How do you keep money in your pocket?
    I love this!

  24. Beautiful blog- your pictures are amazing! A friend and I are travelling to Costa Rica and want to make our way to Little Corn Island. I’m not an experienced traveller, and since we’re both young females (25), I’m a little bit concerned about safety on the island. What was your experience like? Also, which places did you stay at/where did you take all of those beautiful pictures?

    • Hi! I will be going there for solo for a week on Thursday so I can report back to you, if you want me to…

      • That would be great Emily, thanks! I’d love to learn anything health (i.e. immunizations/vaccinations, experiences of food/water borne illnesses while you’re there), safety and security related (i.e. will our belongings be safe in our rooms?). Thanks so much! I’ll take any knowledge and advice I can get :)

        • Ara Anderson Says: March 4, 2014 at 8:50 am

          Hi! I was just on Little Corn about 2 weeks ago. Beautiful island! There’s a medical clinic (very small) on the island where you can get treated for any minor issues. I believe the CDC recommended getting vaccines for typhoid as well as any other standard ones, hep A and B, etc. Malaria pills are a bit confusing to me… The CDC reports Little Corn as a moderate risk area, but also everyone I talked to there went without the pills, I eventually stopped taking them. The island felt safe, but you should use whatever streetsmarts you have, as you would in an American city. I also would use discretion and be aware that you are traveling in a country that is more conservative in some ways than Europe and North Anerica. For example, sunbathing topless or wearing tiny bikinis are not things that the locals do. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel free to be who you want, it’s just something to be aware of.

        • Will be glad to. In the meantime, do you ever get on the TripAdvisor forums? They are a wealth of information! It is the place I start when researching all my solo travel. Any question you have can usually be answered there. But again, happy to report back on my specific experience.

      • Camille Willemain Says: March 4, 2014 at 9:56 am

        Thanks Emily, would love a full report as it’s been nearly a year since I was there last :)

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 4, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Thank you so much Lara. Little Corn Island is incredibly safe. Personally I wouldn’t walk outside the main beach areas at night, that’s just me, but I never felt like my safety was at all at risk. It’s a tiny island so if something happens people will find out about it. As far as the pictures, I took them all over the island. It’s beautiful everywhere, but perhaps the most gorgeous beach is Otto’s beach which you can walk to through town past the soccer field or, my preference, along the beach for the longer scenic route.

  25. This post was beautiful! I’m planning a long overdue trip to Nicaragua, I haven’t been since I was 7, and this post only made me that much more anxious and excited for my trip.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Ah thank you so much! So glad I got you excited for Nicaragua, such an amazing country! Please let me know how you like Little Corn and tell John at Tranquilo and Sarah at Firefly Yoga I say hello :)

  26. I am traveling to Big Corn and Little Corn next month. I can’t wait! I was in Costa Rica last month, but I think I’m going to fall in love with the islands even more than I did Costa Rica. I’ll be staying at Little Corn Beach and Bungalow while I’m there.
    What was your experience with drinking the tap water on each of the islands? Wondering if I’ll be ok to do so.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 14, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Hi Ashley! I hope you love it in Little Corn as much I do :)

      I never drink the tap water when I’m traveling unless I’m somewhere that takes it from a fresh mountain spring. Even if the water is “safe”, most tap water including the tap water in the USA is not particularly clean. I always drink the cleanest water I can find.

  27. Ok, reporting back: just returned from a week on LCI and yes, as Camille states, “Please don’t go to Little Corn” — I want to keep it as it is, as well. “Sustainability” is a worry for the island, I believe…in terms of being able to grow its own fruits and vegetables and having fresh water and a host of other potential issues on down the road…but from a visitor’s perspective, it is the perfect little remote island.

    A comment above asked about safety: never did I feel unsafe. I walked to Tranquillo and back to the other side every night with no issues at all. It gets pretty dark in places, but still, I never felt “worried”. Perhaps somewhere else in the world I might have been, but not here for whatever reason. One night, I forgot my headlamp but the moonlight was enough to guide me. People were friendly and helpful. I always keep my guard up when going from A to B in any country I visit as solo traveler. That’s just being smart. But no worries for you and your friend. You will be fine.

    I stayed at LCB&B the first 5 nights and then a private room at Grace’s the last 2 nights. Village power was out for the first day and on the rest. While at Grace’s, they never had Wifi the whole time I was there. The best Wifi spots are Casa Iguana, LCB&B, and Tranquillo, in my opinion.

    I walked the perimeter of the island. The north end was a little “testy”. Wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve done as a solo traveler, but once I’d gone so far, it was too far to turn back, so I just kept going. Later, I was told by several that the north end is impassable. Ha! here to say that it WAS passable…but took a lot of determination. :) You lose the beach in parts and it’s just a bunch of jagged rocks. I don’t advise it. Had something bad happened to me, it would have been a long time before help arrived. :(

    I snorkeled with a guy named Elvis. He has the Miss Cherry boat on the beach side. I saw 3 nurse sharks and a sting ray.

    Rosa’s was great for the cheap $3 breakfast and <$8 lobster dinner. Food at Turned Turtle at LCBB was my fave. The staff there is awesome. If you go, please tell Jennifer, Max, Tichelle, and Billy I said hello and am craving their pina coladas. OMG! Yummmmmy!

    I never rode the rough panga. I arrived and departed on a Thursday so on this day, the $7 Paradise Two "yacht boat" was working, so I can't comment on the rough panga. Sorry.

    Get up early to see the sunrise. If you stay at Grace's, you definitely will, as there are some VERY LOUD birds there that will be your wake up call every day at 5am….like clockwork. Pretty sounding, but LOUD!!! They do the same thing at end of day and then quit all at once at 7pm. Kinda funny.

    Nightlife: all I did was attend a few bonfires and go to Tranquillo. There was a ladies' night at a little Reggae place one night but I never went. I went to bed early most nights actually. Very laid back vibe.

    Ok, hope that helps. Camille, one last question for you: now that you have been to SE Asia islands, how does Little Corn compare to those? Still at top of your list or has it moved down in rank? Just curious.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 14, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you thank you thank for this detailed assessment!! So helpful for readers to get your update :) Hm, how does Little Corn compare? This is something I’ve been considering recently actually. I wonder how I will feel returning to Latin America after Asia. Part of me fears that even Puerto Viejo will lose its luster after walking through night markets with hundreds of cheap delicacies, watching wild fire shows on the beach, and generally feeling safe enough to walk alone on the beach at night and carry my iPhone out in public. I can only now compare things based on the way the place made me feel when I was there. At this point I would have to say Little Corn is still up there as one of my favorite islands. However Koh Rong, Cambodia may have replaced them all. Thailand feels very developed to me, but I haven’t been to the lesser known islands yet. Koh Tao is probably my new favorite “vacation” spot.

      • Thanks! I was thinking you would say that. When I see your photos from some of the Asian beaches, many of those photos remind me of Little Corn….just the tree-sprawled pristine looking beaches and all. Because they are Asian, I know there is a different feel…but still, some similarities. For me, I even really liked (and felt safe in) Bocas but not so much PV. Same with a lot of my friends that have been there…the safety aspect is concerning and gets old. I was recently in Cambodia and Vietnam. Didn’t make it to the beach you named though. Darn. But when I only had 3 weeks for two countries, I decided I would get more out of seeing the Angkor temples when in Cambodia. Oh well…next time… :). Hope you aren’t as disenchanted with your home when you return…or who knows…a new home might be in store for you around the corner! :) good luck with thinking it through & safe travels!

  28. Tap water question: At LCBB, you will buy a 2liter bottle of water the first day and then fill it up for $.25 or so the rest of your trip. Do not drink the water from your room. It is mixed in with water that fell from the roof of your cabin! They will give you their local tap water for free, but unless you have water purifier tabs or something, I wouldn’t advise drinking….they don’t either. So just refill the water bottle with their purified water and you’ll be fine. Oh, and at Casa Iguana (Where you will be sure to go to eat at some point), they have glasses sitting out and you just go to their faucet and fill up your glass for free. The water that comes out has been treated…hope that helps.

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 14, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Great thanks for this Emily :)

    • Exactly the info I was looking for, thank you! I was fine drinking the tap water in Costa Rica (the place I stayed said it was safe and I trusted them) but will be sure to only drink bottled while on LCI. I guzzle a lot of water. Did you spend time on Big Corn? If so, how was the water there? I’ve had food poisoning before while in the Canary Islands and don’t want to experience it again! I’m a little worried about brushing teeth, washing any fresh produce, etc . I’ll have to be careful.
      Are fruits grown on the island, and are they reasonably priced to purchase? Mangoes, pineapples, papayas, plantains?
      Also, thank you for the safety tips. I’m traveling solo as well, so these were very helpful. I’m going to purchase a head lamp before I go for any night walks.
      Can’t wait to sip a piña colada :)

      • Camille Willemain Says: March 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm

        I also avoided Big Corn as I heard all the charm is right there on Little Corn. I’m usually a fan of islands with no cars. My best advice to avoid food poisoning while traveling is by taking probiotics and traveling with your own water kefir if you can. Check out this post:
        http://www.thisamericangirl.com/2013/12/04/my-travel-wellness-kit/

        As Emily said, fruits and veggies are pretty scarce on the island. This was the only thing I didn’t like about Little Corn. It’s very difficult to eat healthfully in my opinion. Salads are rare. You can buy cabbage and tomatoes typically and make your own salad. Also there is a stand by the pier that sells big watermelon wedges and some other fruit for cheap. I highly recommend going in the early part of the day as she often sells out.

        Best Pina Colada on the planet at LCBB!

  29. No time on Big Corn and I really didn’t care to, either. I accidentally brushed my teeth with the room water once, but nothing happened to me. Not to say it is ok to do that, but I lived through it fine. :) I did eat all the fruits given me, but this was mostly at the LCBB and Casa Iguana where I would think they are pretty good about washing with their purified water. There aren’t many fruits and veggies on LCI. A hurricane from 20 years ago has really left this island pretty bad in terms of growing their own crops, etc. You will get a bowl of fruit with each breakfast…a little watermelon, some other melon, and slender coconut shaving pieces. I ate those at Rosa’s (probably doesn’t have purified water there, actually) and was fine, too. I did see a woman cutting into a pineapple somewhere, but can’t recall. There just isn’t a lot of fruit overall…which is strange for a tropical island, of course. They import it all in. If you have a smartphone, you could just use your flashlight on there, too. No real need for a headlamp. I just had one from a hiking trip, so I brought it. have fun! You will love it!

  30. Just got back from a trip there to dive with my sister. Was a great place to work on my Advanced Open Water. The diving is shallow mostly, but it then allows for longer dives. The island is quiet and the people are friendly. We never felt unsafe. The power going off in the mornings woke us up, but it wasn’t unpleasant. We had a wonderful time. Internet is very spotty and really only worked at a few places. The nice thing was you just didn’t care since you were in such a beautiful place.

  31. Hi Camille!

    How are you? I’ve just stumbled across your page and I must say, I’ve really enjoyed reading your pieces. You have a great way of portraying how wonderful these places are, it’s made me even more excited for my impending solo trip. I plan to head off this summer at some point, I’m 25 and have dreamt of doing so for years, but have only really started to seriously put my plan into action. Do you travel to most of these places on your own? I find the whole concept of solo travel slightly daunting, I’ve never really went anywhere abroad myself apart from a brief stint in Austria au pairing.

    Anyways keep doing what you’re doing, I’m sure you are helping to inspire lots of other people to follow their dream!

    Abby x

  32. BlackChick Says: July 15, 2014 at 9:23 am

    This looks SO beautiful and sounds magical! I know if I visit I would NEVER leave! But I work 2 jobs and have a 7 year old girl. Its nice to fantasize about packing everything up, telling my shitty jobs goodbye and traveling the world with my girl! Until then, Ill have your pics :)

  33. […] pushed to the back of our minds. Over the years, we’ve read pieces on Lonely Planet and This American Girl backing up our buddy’s vision of the tiny 1.1-square mile island as a Nicaraguan […]

  34. You are making me so excited for this solo trip I planned. It’s exactly what I am looking for :)

  35. Wow, it really does look like paradise!

  36. You made me want to go back to Little Corn, I spent five days there on May 2010 and fell in love.

  37. I love your blog, pictures, your writing, and your adventures! We just booked an impromptu 10 day visit to Little Corn for this March. We are taking our boys aged 12 and 9. Did you happen to see any families with kids while you were there? Hoping the kids might make friends. We will be staying at rustic Dobedo – and hoping the walk to dining and drinking places isn’t too far. Thanks for your wonderful blog, Camille. It’s my favorite!

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 1, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      Thank you so much Jill! That’s awesome. Yes there are plenty of families, especially around Little Corn B&B. I’m not sure Dobedo, never heard of it… Enjoy your trip!

  38. Julie Burnham Says: March 4, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I am helping my 24 year old daughterand her boyfriend plan a month trip of travel to Central America starting in Panama to Costa Rica then into Nicagragua to LCI. You have provided beautiful pictures and wonderful helpful information. Can I ask you if you or someone who has experience crossing the CR border into Nicaragua to please proved how to information in as detailed step by step as possble. The will be staying in Puerte Viejo then into Nicaragua to LCI. Not sure best way to accomplish that. Thank you for your time

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 4, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Julie, unfortunately it’s not easy to just go up the Caribbean coast like that. I wish it were! My best recommendation would be to first go to the Nicoya Peninsula area and travel around, then take the bus up to Granada, then fly to Little Corn. Or fly from Limon to San Jose, San Jose to Granada, then Grananda to Little Corn. All short flights but the cost adds up.

  39. Wow, your photos are gorgeous. It’s like being in a dream. I’m going to LCI in August and I can’t wait. You have some great tips in your posting. Thanks for all the helpful info!

  40. Hi – this piece sums Little Corn up beautifully, was there in March and it blew my mind. I can’t believe I had the willpower to leave – i am trying (in baby steps) to build up my own blog and would love it if a few people could check it out
    love xx
    https://rosiesscratchmap.wordpress.com/

  41. Someone Says: May 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Nice photos, good job. Just one criticism. If you use images of peoples places, you should include them in your places to stay or eat. You left out many people who have helped create the photos by creating the places you captured and that is not fair to them. Share the love. It feels nice to be considered.

  42. Spent a week on LCI last year. Best hidden gem in the Caribbean.

  43. Hello,

    Thanks for this great site. We’ll be in Nicaragua in november 2015 and now we’ll surely visit your Little Corn paradise!!!

  44. Had a chance to visit last month. I agree with everything you said, though I did not have a chance to try the local lobster. May be coming back in a month or so for an extended stay. If you have any must-try lobster places, let me know.

  45. While not disagreeing with your impressions of the island- though much less impressed im afraid- i really wanted to ask about the less pleasent aspects of the islands like extreme poverty and the inevitable beggars, starving dogs, drunks and heaps of garbage everywhere.
    is it your concious decision to leave to leave them out of the story or did you really not notice them?

    • Hi there; my family of 4 spent nearly 2 weeks on Little Corn, we stayed at the lovely, simple,
      Dobedo.
      We did not see a ton of garbage, nor did we see beggars. There certainly was poverty, but it was a far cry from Managua.
      We had previously gone to Koh Lipe island in Thailand that DID have a lot of garbage – Little Corn was more pristine by far.
      Little Corn was. On my radar after Camille’s post. Our whole family felt she was right on target. Maybe things have changed from March 2015..or maybe it was where you stayed? We witnessed people getting electricity and turning on a tv for the first time – their living room was literally outside! The poverty was there, but I’d say their quality of life sppeared to surpass many that live in places close to home, such as Detroit.

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 17, 2016 at 12:15 am

      Hey Ariel, the article is a few years old, so that was when I went. I considered it extremely clean, safe, with very friendly locals.

  46. I just stumbled over your photos and had a total flash-back:
    I stopped past the island for a month in 1998. I came by bus as the airline was nick-named the ‘deathline’ (too many crashes..). From Rama I took a boat to Bluefields and then by boat and lancha to Isla de Maiz grande and from there to Little Corn Island. It took almost 4 days to get there from Managua. They dropped me and 2 other travelers in the hip-deep water, I didnt have a backback, just a daypack with a blanket, a hammock, a spare t-shirt and a bikini. No electronics, my camera was shit. There was one generator on the island, one ‘pub’ which opened in the evenings, I think I remember Iguana being there, and Derek’s place who was still building up so I rented 2 of his palmtrees to put up my hammock. At night we caught huge crabs, during day we went speer hunting on the reef. I have very fond memories of this place, I have heard it also went through tough times and the hurricanes weren’t always gentle. A memory for life, I will never forget those sweet liquid mangos along the path through the forest, and the fermented pineapple a local gave me – oh I was so drunk! peace & love to Little Corn Island!