After hearing other travelers say how much they loved Little Corn Island, I decided I had to see the island for myself. I initially thought I thought it sounded like too much of a hassle to visit the island due to the fact you need to first fly from Managua to Big Corn Island before taking a very rough panga boat ride to Little Corn Island. As soon as I got off the panga, I knew all the trouble (including the horrible seasickness and vomiting passengers on the panga) was worth it. In fact, one of the best things about Little Corn Island is that its not yet overrun with tourists since its not easy to reach.
A flight from Managua to Big Corn Island with La Costeña costs ~$100 oneway, and the panga to Little Corn costs around $6. If you’re really trying to save money, you can travel to Big Corn from Bluefields or El Rama via cargo ship. Reserving a bunk or seat costs around $10 but I really don’t recommend this option!
Since its a cargo ship, you might find yourself without a proper seat and sharing your space with livestock. A friend who used this option said she regretted it due to rough waves and seasickness throughout the 7-hour journey. If you’re willing to put up with the discomfort and longer trip duration, you can definitely stretch your travel budget traveling by cargo ship. You can learn more about this option here. The general consensus seems to be that Captain D’s boat between Bluefields and Big Corn is the best way to go.
ATMs and Money
Another important thing to note is that there are no ATMs on Little Corn! Before you arrive, be sure to stock up on cash! After landing in Big Corn, I was sure to have our taxi driver stop by an ATM before reaching the panga dock. The Big Corn airport is tiny and doesn’t have an ATM, so don’t count on getting cash there.
If you’re in a pinch, Tranquilo Café and Desideri Café offer cash back on debit cards but charge a 10% fee. You can use either Nicaraguan Cordobas or US dollars on the island. Many restaurants, hotels, and a few shops accept credit cards.
There are no cars or roads on Little Corn Island. If you’re staying near the panga dock, transporting your luggage isn’t a big deal. However, a lot of the accommodation (especially the beachfront huts and hotels) are relatively far from the dock. If you have a lot of luggage or have limited mobility, you should take this into consideration.
Some hotels like Yemaya and Little Corn Beach and Bungalow provide porters to handle this for you. There are usually plenty of locals offering tours or promoting accommodation to new arrivals at the panga dock. One of them may be willing to help with your bags for a small fee. Otherwise, everyone gets around on the island either by foot or bike.
Accommodation and Safety
If you’re a solo female traveler, you might want to consider staying close to the main stretch of the island where most of the shops and restaurants are. Green House Hostel and 3 Brothers are good, budget-friendly options. After a fun few days at Green House Hostel, my new travel friend and I decided to move to Casa Iguana. I can’t recommend Casa Iguana enough, the food is great, and the views are spectacular. It’s also very reasonably priced starting at $35 per night. If you stay at Casa Iguana, you will also receive a 10% discount at Dive Little Corn.
I considered staying at The Lighthouse, but ultimately was glad I didn’t. It’s a little ways off the main stretch and off a somewhat isolated path, so getting to and from the hostel at night is a bit scary if you’re alone. Unfortunately, another female traveler staying there was attacked while walking up the pathway during my stay.
While these incidents are rare due to the island’s size and the fact that everyone knows each other, there have been a few similar attacks reported on solo females. So, if you’re a solo female traveler like myself, try to avoid walking around alone at night! The Lighthouse has fun parties, great fews, and yoga classes, so staying there would probably be quite nice if it weren’t for safety concerns. If you’re traveling with friends or as a couple, I wouldn’t rule out staying there!
You will definitely want to bring a flashlight, as there is almost no light when walking to a lot of the oceanfront lodging. Outside the main stretch, there aren’t many lights, so bring a flashlight regardless of where you’re staying. Don’t forget to pack plenty of sunscreen, swimsuits, and sunglasses (I lost mine and couldn’t find any for sale on the island). You might also want to bring a snorkel and any diving equipment you may have.
If you plan on cooking at all, it’s cheaper to buy nonperishable staples like rice, bread, and beans on the main land. Buying fresh seafood and meat from locals to go with your meals is usually not difficult or expensive. Since the island receives supplies about once a week from cargo ships, certain goods tend to sell out during the week. I would also avoid bringing rolling luggage and opt for a backpack or duffel instead, as many of the paths are unpaved.
Internet and Electricity
The island loses power daily from 6AM-3PM. This means no internet, electrical fans, or charging devices. Expect to wake up every morning when the fans all simultaneously shut off! Since most travelers come to Little Corn to get away from it all, this usually isn’t an issue. If you’re a digital nomad or work remotely, Tranquilo Café and Desideri Café both have their own generators and offer free Wi-Fi. Many hotels also have generators, so be sure to ask before booking if this is important to you!
All these little inconveniences help make up Little Corn’s charm. It’s the perfect place to disconnect and get away from it all. The living is simple and life moves at a much slower pace on the island. I loved it so much that my original plans to stay a week slowly turned into 18 days on the island. And I definitely wasn’t the only one who extended my trip, the island is like a vortex for laid-back travelers! Stay tuned for my Little Corn guide next week!