A May 2005 trip
to Little Corn Islands by danchurch
Quote: Within recent memory, budget travelers could pick from a wide range of glorious destinations along the Caribbean coast, including the offshore islands, and escape to a world un-parceled by land speculators. No longer. Alternatives do exists, though, and not beyond the reach of thrifty travelers with somewhat flexible schedules.
The much-publicized civil unrest in Nicaragua have sheltered the Corn Islands so far, as has their location 52 miles east of Bluefield. (Bluefield is, for all intents, accessible from Managua or Grenada only by air. The land route, which includes river travel, is described as a horror even by seasoned backpackers.)
Fortunately, two national airlines, La Costeña and Air Alantic, provide daily service to Bluefield and Big Corn Island ("big" is 4 square miles).
I opted for a several-night stay on Little Corn (1 square mile), serviced only by large motorboats that import such vital supplies as ice among modern staples. There apparently are no cars, and luggage is transported to the several lodging places in wheelbarrows.
There are several affordable options, among the more noted Casa Iguana, an eco-lodge relying primarily for power upon the constant winds. My lodge was a 4-square plywood box on piers with a luxuriously comfortable bed and mini-watt light. (One outside wall was decorated with a slogan deploring the War in Iraq.)
The food was, in general, spectacular. The owners recruit young graduates of top culinary schools like Johnson & Wales with the lure of island living and light duties. On lobster night, dinner costs totaled around with a glass of wine. The food was presented with the plate edges decorated. Desert was equally elegant.
One word of caution: Rough seas often cut the links between Little Corn and the mainland airfield, occasionally for several days continuously. There is Internet service (fee) for rebooking international flights, but no public telephones. If stranded, ask (politely but forcefully) that management help rebook your in-country flights with their unpublicized cellular phone. The flights from Big Corn are infrequent and usually are filled. Be prepared to reimburse any costs.
Walking is the ONLY way to travel around Little Corn. Maps are available.