Every traveller longs to find that untouched paradise off the beaten track, still unspoiled by hordes of tourists. The good news is that if you visit Nicaragua, you’ll find it.
The Corn Islands, 70km off the east Nicaraguan coast, are one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets. These two islands, Big Corn and Little Corn, do not have the splendour or luxury that you’ll find elsewhere in the Caribbean – but for a taste of authentic island life, you can’t go wrong.
Big Corn is the busier of the two, although it’s still a tiny island. Many travellers prefer to focus on Little Corn, which is half an hour’s boat ride from its big sister. At just 2.9km2, this island is truly a hidden gem. There are no cars or taxis, and although you may be able to get hold of a bike, you’ll find that most people get around on their own two feet, with wheelbarrows used to transport things from the harbour around the island.
This is an island experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the Caribbean. Little Corn has no power, every day, between 6 am and 3 pm. A few hotels have their own generators, but don’t rely on it! Of course, you won’t need any power to enjoy this paradise. With white sandy beaches, hammocks strung from palm trees and tiny bars with delicious fresh fish and seafood caught that morning, you’ll be able to forget all about civilisation and relax.
After a few days of utter tranquillity on Little Corn, Big Corn can feel like a shock to the system, although it’s only slightly larger. Here you will find some cars and taxis, but it’s still a great place to relax and soak up the sun. The beaches are pristine, the sea is clear, and you’ll find plenty of hidden spots to make your own.
You can fly to the Corn Islands, but flights aren’t that cheap and are rather infrequent. In fact, the airstrip is also one of the main roads on Big Corn (which, despite its name, is less than 10km2)! Adventurous travellers might prefer to organise their own transport, with boats and ferries available.
Before hitting the islands, you might want to stock up on supplies. You’re a long way from the mainland, and food and drink can be expensive, especially for the traveller on a budget! Be sure to bring enough cash, too. Little Corn has no ATM, and only a few of the hotels accept credit cards.