Little Corn Island wasn’t planned. Not really anyways.
But for the last couple of months, few things in my life had been planned. I didn’t plan on leaving my job. I didn’t plan for my best friend in Munich to visit me in France. I didn’t plan on having to creatively hustle for finances, doing everything from dog walking to catering to freelance writing. And I didn’t plan on finding a new job that I’m stoked to start this week (more on that later).
In these past two months, I’ve experienced equal parts intense exhilaration and anxiety. I had approximately 784329 streams of consciousness as I tried to plan out the next chapter of my life, only to realize that it wasn’t really about planning; it was about just trying your hardest.
And trying your hardest is EXHAUSTING. Y’all feel me on this. So for the week before I start this new chapter, I wanted to go somewhere that would provide peace, focus, and the best of vibes. A friend told me about Little Corn Island and I knew instantly that I had to go. A flight, a commuter plane connection, and an open air boat ride later, I did.
Little Corn Island is known in the scuba diving community but otherwise fairly anonymous. It sits in the Caribbean sea east of Nicaragua, belonging to the country on paper but emulating pure Caribbean vibes in every other sense. It’s an isleta that puts nature first, making it an unadulterated tropical paradise and the perfect getaway from the everyday bustle.
The island attracts people who want to explore the water—scuba, snorkeling, SUPing, and other water sports are the main activities. It also semi-unintentionally enforces an environment of not being on your phone; half the island doesn’t have power for most of the daytime, and only two cafes in the village offer WiFi. It feels unnatural for about a minute, until you realize that you have everything you need to be happy right there, none of which involves a screen.
I have some tips on how to make the most out of this gorgeous abode:
First of course, is how to get there:
Fly into Managua and then book flights to Big Corn Island through La Costeña. Managua itself is sketchy, so if you have to stay the night, book an airport hotel. I recommend Airport X for budget, Camino Real for more upscale (I stayed in Camino Real my last night so I could have a real shower and it was worth).
From Big Corn airport, take a taxi (20 cordoba, less than 1 USD) to the dock, where you’ll take a panga (an open air boat) to Little Corn. They run twice a day, at 10am and 4:30pm. Get there at least an hour early to get your ticket.
On the way back, the panga from Little Corn leaves at 6am and 1:30pm. There are NO OTHER boats, so make sure to be on time!
Staying in Little Corn:
There are tons of hostels and hotels to stay at. For the budget solo traveler (aka me), Grace’s Cool Spot is quirky and cheap. I had a private room with my own hammock and killer views. Otherwise I’d recommend Little Corn Beach & Bungalow or Sunrise Hotel.
Absolutely try to stay at Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa for a night. Located on the north side of the island, it’s a gorgeous hotel with the best beach and spa treatments. It’s luxurious while maintaining a wonderful balance of island personality. If you can’t stay there, go for dinner one night. They offer upscale Caribbean fare and cook dishes in traditional Nicaraguan diablitos—little devil clay pots handmade on the mainland.
Activities/Things to Do in Little Corn:
Water everything! Snorkeling from Grace’s Cool Spot, scuba diving from Dolphin Dive (ask to go to Blowing Rock if you can), swimming in the ocean, paddle boarding, everything.
Drop-in yoga classes. Karma Shack is on the east side of the island and offers classes in the morning. They are taught by a wonderful woman named Leontien, who focuses on breathing and self awareness.
Massages and energy treatments also from Karma Shack.
Chill the F out. I spent many of my four days there reading in my hammock, a rare luxury to tune out and focus.
Eating/Drinking in Little Corn:
Inland is El Bosque, which has amazing lobster curry over rice.
Dinner at Yemaya is a must, even for one night!
Things to Remember/Bring:
Everyone speaks perfect English here; apparently they learn it in school. I was bummed out though cuz I really wanted to practice my Spanish!
It gets very dark on the island at night (no city lights); bring a flashlight or use your phone flashlight to get around.
Absolutely bring sunscreen, bug spray, and trash bags. Flash rains are common and you never know when you’ll have to wheelbarrow your stuff through a flood to get to the panga.
Don’t worry about how you look! This is island life, where stuff like that doesn’t matter. I didn’t wear makeup or a bra the entire time and real talk, that was true freedom.