Corn Islands, Nicaragua’s paradise

Corn Islands

I’ve seen many beautiful places in Nicaragua. I was in the lively colonial city of Granada (you must stop by Oasis Hotel and have a nice swim in their pool). I was in the beautiful Island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua (I was there coincidently for the Magma Festival, very cool electronic music festival by the beach). I chilled out in the surf town of San Juan del Sur for a week (great vibes). But the highlight of the journey through Nicaragua has been, hands down, my trip to the Corn Islands, Nicaragua’s paradise.

Beautiful Little Corn Island

The Corn Islands are one of those magical spots that still haven’t been depleted by toursim (not yet anyway), and is definitely a must see if you are in Nicaragua. Getting there can be tricky though if you don’t know the options.

How to get to the Corn Islands

There are basically two options, you can fly there (quick, easy, expensive) or you can overland and boat ride it (slow, difficult, cheaper), so I took the second option.

The simplest option is to book a flight with the company La Costeña which fly to Big Corn Island from different places in Nicaragua on a daily basis. You can book online here. If you book in advanced you can get a return ticket for about 160USD.

The adventurous way!

The more adventurous way (the one I took) would be to overland it to El Rama, which is the furthest town you can get to by road, then take a panga to Bluefields, and finally a boat to Big Corn Island.

The problem here is that boat schedules are not very reliable, and you might find yourself waiting for several hours or even have to spend the night before a ship leaves Bluefiels or El Bluff (these are the two docks from where boats leave to Corn Islands).

So I took a bus from Managua to El Rama, take it at the Mayoreo bus station in Managua, it’s a 5-6 hour ride that costs 160NIO. You will probably have to spend the night in El Rama if there are no more pangas to Bluefields. There are several hostels on the street to the dock, I payed 170NIO for a private room, and also had dinner for an extra 100NIO. Next morning you’ll have to wake up very early and take the first panga to Bluefields, it costs 250NIO (pangas leave the El Rama dock at 5.30am, make sure you buy the ticket right when you get to El Rama). And here’s where it gets tricky, I was assured there would be a boat leaving Bluefields at 12 o’clock next day, but when I got there the boat was no where near. So I had to take another panga to El Bluff the next dock town, and pay an extra 40NIO.

There are at least four different boats that can get you to the Corn Islands, but not all of them are in good conditions. You might find yourself laying down on the floor of a shitty boat surrounded by gas tanks and stinky bags full of “food”, and have to battle it with sea sickness for about 7 hours while everyone around you, I repeat everyone around you, is vommiting. I took the “Isleño” boat from El Bluff to Big Corn Island, after having to spend the night in El Bluff and paying an extra 160NIO for a room, and 100NIO for food. The boat costs 200NIO, and it is the cheapest boat to the Islands, but you heard why. Other options are the “Island Express”, the “Genesis”, or the best option which is “Captain D” a big ship with some beds for the passengers.

Worst Boat Ride

So I ended up paying 1180NIO for the ride to Big Corn Island, which wasn’t much cheaper than the plane, and also included the worst boat experience of my life. I have to say however, that the way back, which I planned more carefully, was smoother and I ended up spending 710NIO. But that time I could take the “Captain D” boat from Big Corn Island to Bluefields. The guys from Right Side Guide made a very detailed guide on how to get there, just bear in mind that you won’t always be lucky enough to catch the boats on time.

Where to stay and eat

The Corn Islands are a little more expensive than the main land, but still very affordable. I was there on New Year’s Eve, so the prices might have gone up a bit, but I was still able to find a private room for 10USD. You can also expect to pay 150-200NIO for a nice meal, and I even found a place in Little Corn where I payed 21NIO for a cold Toña, sweet!

20121229_CornIslands-Walk_012

In Big Corn Island, I recommend a place called Tropical Dreams, on the South End. Or you can also find cheap places on the road from the dock to the main bank. In Little Corn Island, there are nice cabins on the big beach opposite coast to the dock in Elsa’s Place, or there’s a cheaper option, left hand side from the dock, called 3 Hermanos.

I recommend you chat it up with the locals in Little Corn, and you’ll easily find some dude who will offer to cook a nice Run Down, or Rundon, right on the beach for you and your friends. Take it, you’ll love it. Rundon is a typicall caribbean dish cooked with seafood, lobster, fish, coconut milk and spices.

What to do in the Corn Islands

In Big Corn Island you can rent a bike in “Canada House” on the South End of the island, pay about 7USD for 5 hours. It’s a great way to visit the place and discover all the beaches. The nicest beach in Big Corn Island is probably the one in Picnic Centre, but my secret beach was a tiny little one that was next to the graveyard close to the Bamboleiro pub. I was there on my one for the whole day, you can see me running in the beach on the video down bellow.

In Little Corn Island I recommend you walk it up the long beach from where the cabins are all the way up, and you’ll find youself your own private carribean beach! Oh! oh! You can grab coconuts direct from the palm trees drink them and eat them, sounds good ha! Also check out the views from the lighthouse, which is basically just a metal platform on the hillside.

Here’s a clip I did from my stay in the Corn Islands, you’ll see me on the nightmare boat ride, watch my coconut picking technique and more!

CallForAction-NIC-eng

I’ve seen many beautiful places in Nicaragua. I was in the lively colonial city of Granada (you must stop by Oasis Hotel and have a nice swim in their pool), in the beautiful Island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua (I was there coincidently for the Magma Festival, very cool electronic music festival by the beach), I chilled out in the surf town of San Juan del Sur for a week (great vibes). But the highlight of the journey through Nicaragua has been, hands down, my trip to the Corn Islands, Nicaragua’s paradise.

The Corn Islands are one of those magical spots that still haven’t been depleted by toursim (not yet anyway), and is definitely a must see if you are in Nicaragua. Getting there can be tricky though if you don’t know the options.

How to get to the Corn Islands

There are basically two options, you can fly there (quick, easy, expensive) or you can overland and boat ride it (slow, difficult, cheaper), so I took the second option.

The simplest option is to book a flight with the company La Costeña which fly to Big Corn Island from different places in Nicaragua on a daily basis. You can book online here. If you book in advanced you can get a return ticket for about 160USD.

The adventurous way!

The more adventurous way (the one I took) would be to overland it to El Rama which is the furthest town you can get to by road, then take a panga to Bluefields and finally a boat to Big Corn Island.

The problem here is that boat schedules are not very reliable and you might find yourself waiting for several hours or even have to spend the night before a ship leaves Bluefiels or El Bluff (these are the two docks from where boats leave to Corn Islands).

So I took a bus from Managua to El Rama, take it at the Mayoreo bus station in Managua, it’s a 5-6 hour ride that costs 160NIO. You will probably have to spend the night in El Rama if there are no more pangas to Bluefields. There are several hostels on the street to the dock, I payed 170NIO for a private room and also had dinner for an extra 100NIO. Next morning you’ll have to wake up very early and take the first panga to Bluefields, it costs 250NIO (pangas leave the El Rama dock at 5.30am, make sure you buy the ticket right when you get to El Rama). And here’s where it gets tricky, I was assured there would be a boat leaving Bluefields at 12 o’clock next day, but when I got there the boat was no where near. So I had to take another panga to El Bluff the next dock town, and pay an extra 40NIO.

There are at least four different boats that can get you to the Corn Islands, but not all of them are in good conditions. You might find yourself laying down on the floor of a shitty boat surrounded by gas tanks and stinky bags full of “food”, and have to battle it with sea sickness for about 7 hours while everyone around you, I repeat everyone around you, is vommiting. I took the “Isleño” boat from El Bluff to Big Corn Island after having to spend the night in El Bluff and paying an extra 160NIO for a room and 100NIO for food. The boat costs 200NIO and it is the cheapest boat to the Islands, but you heard why. Other options are the “Island Express”, the “Genesis”, or the best option which is “Captain D” a big ship with some beds for the passengers.

So I ended up paying 1180NIO for the ride to Big Corn Island which wasn’t much cheaper than the plane and also included the worst boat experience of my life. I have to say however that the way back which I planned more carefully was smoother and I ended up spending 710NIO, but this time I could take the “Captain D” boat from Big Corn Island to Bluefields. The guys from Right Side Guide made a very detailed guide on how to get there, just bear in mind that you won’t always be lucky enough to catch the boats on time.

Where to stay and eat

The Corn Islands are a little more expensive than the main land but still very affordable. I was there on New Year’s Eve so the prices might have gone up a bit, but I was still able to find a private room for 10USD. You can also expect to pay 150-200NIO for a nice meal, and I even found a place in Little Corn where I payed 21NIO for a cold Toña, sweet!

In Big Corn Island I recommend a place called Tropical Dreams on the South End. Or you can also find cheap places on the road from the dock to the main bank. In Little Corn Island there are nice cabins on the big beach opposite coast of the dock in Elsa’s Place, or there’s a cheaper option left hand side from the dock called 3 Hermanos.

I recommend you chat it up with the locals in Little Corn and you’ll easily find some dude who will offer to cook a nice Run Down or Rundon right on the beach for you and your friends. Take it, you’ll love it. Rundon is a typicall caribbean dish cooked with seafood, lobster, fish, coconut milk and spices.

What to do in the Corn Islands

In Big Corn Island you can rent a bike in “Canada House” on the South End of the island, pay about 7USD for 5 hours. It’s a great way to visit the place and discover all the beaches. The nicest beach in Big Corn Island is probably the one in Picnic Centre, but my secret beach was a tiny little one that was next to the graveyard close to the Bamboleiro pub. I was there on my one for the whole day, you can see me running in the beach on the video down bellow.

In Little Corn Island I recommend you walk it up the long beach from where the cabins are all the way up, and you’ll find youself your own private carribean beach! Oh! oh! You can grab coconuts direct from the palm trees drink them and eat them, sounds good ha! Also check out the views from the lighthouse, which is basically just a metal platform on the hillside.

Here’s a clip I did from my stay in the Corn Islands, you’ll see me on the nightmare boat ride, watch my coconut picking technique and more!

Advertisements

7 Comments

  1. Ohh reading this article takes us back to our time in the Corn Islands! Such amazing islands. We were fortunate enough to be there in September, just after the rainy season and before the high season. We had all those beautiful beaches to ourself, it was great!
    After 3 weeks out there we put together a survival guide for budget backpackers to try and debunk the myth that the islands are beyond backpackers budgets. Check it out; http://dontforgettomove.com/little-corn-island-backpacking/

    Like

  2. Hello,

    I am trying to get in contact with Elsa’s place, but the phone number listed on the web isn’t going through from the US. (505) 2575 5014. Any ideas on how to contact her to make a reservation?

    Thanks!

    Like

  3. Hello, we are actually a group of 13 un managua and de would like to go to corn island by boat, do you know the day of leaving from bluefield or el rama ? We try to get information but it´s just impossible here nobody Knows ..

    Like

  4. I went to Corn Island from Bluefields on March a few years ago by the “Río Escondido” medium-size boat. It was one of my worst experiences ever with all vomiting and several partly asleep partly dismaying. But how constrasting it was when we made it to this paradise! It’s better to wait in Bluefields for a big ship like “Island Express” or “Captain D” though I have the impression their schedules are a bit random.

    This is my slideshow: https://youtu.be/hDPzOYQUgws

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s