Bygone Big Corn

We spent a night on Big Corn Island but it felt like we were on the Twilight Zone.

Bygone Big Corn

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by ext212 on February 13, 2007

We decided to skip Managua before heading back to the United States. We spent a night on Big Corn Island instead. What we saw and experienced reminded me of those Twilight Zone episodes I watched when I was a kid - something was amiss and there was an unmistakable feeling that, once upon a time, Big Corn Island was the center of it all. Walking around the island felt eery. Somehow, I kept thinking of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's words and imagining the ghosts of the island's past.${QuickSuggestions} Don't expect much from Big Corn Island. It used to be a much larger tourist destination, but sadly, because of neglect and carelessness, it's now a town of bygones.

If you're going to Little Corn Island, change your money to cordovas while on Big Corn. It will be more difficult to get cordovas on Little Corn. There is a bank right off the airport runway. Bring your passport because the guards check everything before they let you in.${BestWay} From Managua, you can take a La Costena flight or an Atlantic Airlines flight for about US$170 for round-trip tickets. (I recommend the former.) The flight usually stops at Bluefields for less than 10 minutes. Reservations are not required but I recommend that you email La Costena ( and get your name on the list just to be make sure. (We spoke with two people from Atlantic to make reservations but once we got to the airport for our 6am flight, they all feigned innocence. So we ended up flying La Costena.)

When on Big Corn Island, you must take a cab to get around. It only costs about 13 cordovas per person. Flag a cab when you see one driving by and they'll let you on even if there are already 4 people inside. (I had to sit on my boyfriend's lap during one ride. The driver insisted we both fit. Well, I guess we did.)

Walking around is nice, too. We walked from the center of town back to our hotel before the sun set. It was a very long walk but it was when we most felt the island's past. We waved at the locals staring at us and they waved back. (It seemed like they haven't seen tourists in a while. Asian tourists is another story.)

To get to Little Corn Island, take a cab from the airport to the municipal dock and wait for the small boat, or the panga.

Anastasia's on the Sea

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by ext212 on February 13, 2007

While we were changing our minds on Little Corn Island, one of the guys at the dive shop told us to stay at Anastasia's on the Sea if we do decide to stay the night on Big Corn rather than go back to Managua. It was a pretty sound recommendation, so as soon as we got off the boat, we took a cab to check-in.

Anastasia's is on the other side of the island. It's a long way, but a pretty drive especially when the road starts to hug the sea. Coconut trees lean and follow the warm wind, while anchored boats float in the water.

As soon as we walked in, Anastasia offered so much promise, even with the cheesy fish and shell decor in the hallway. But as the sun started to set, we felt our expectations dissolve.

A room with two beds, satellite TV, and private bathroom is US$25 a night. Our door opened up to a porch with small steps you can take if you want to swim from your room. Anchovies sway with the waves like blades of grass. The view was incredible: infinite turquoise waters and a wooden bridge which connected the hotel to their bar and restaurant on stilts.

But after closer inspection (read: before we went to sleep and had no other choice), we could see the old water marks in our bathroom and we could hear the faint buzz of mosquitoes in our bedroom. Anastasia became antiquated before our eyes, and not in the good sense. All of a sudden, I didn't want my thngs touching the floor so I moved everything on a table. I unpacked my beach blanket so that I wasn't touching the bed sheets. I don't know what came over me, but our hotel room just became eery. (And I was sober.)

I think it was just walking around town that did it. As we walked around and witnessed empty lobster traps strewed on the side of the road, buildings left in ruins, and a dry swamp with mangroves clinging to dear life, Big Corn Island instantly became a ghost town; a place that was once full of life.

After a restless night, we woke up early to catch our flight to Managua and connect immediately back to the States. I counted four large, red bug bites on my body—that's three more than what I got from the last 10 days of being in the country.
Anastasia by the Sea Condos
Big Corn Island
Big Corn Island

Anastasia's Bar and Restaurant

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by ext212 on February 13, 2007

After we checked in the hotel across the water, we walked to Anastasia's Bar and Restaurant to celebrate our decision to stay on Big Corn Island rather than sooty Managua.

We sat out in the back of the restaurant where the view was impressive: remnants of a sinking bar a few feet away and a shipwreck in the horizon. It was, in its own way, a romantic backdrop while we reflected on our ten days in the country with Victoria beers in our hands. The breeze was so warm, we stayed for three more beers while we watched a school of needlefish prey on the anchovies in the water.

We left before the sun started to set and explored the rest of the island for dining options. When we didn't find any, we returned and ordered chicken and fish. We ate in peace because no one was there except for two scantily clad women; one was our waitress and the other was the bartender (as in, the one who cracked open our beers). But the music was blasting and the entire wooden restaurant was vibrating to Bob Marley.

As we lulled the night away, a few more inadequately clothed women walked in with their gringo partners. My boyfriend was convinced then that the island isn't really dead--they're just having the parties inside their bedrooms. I protested to even think that the island is now a large strip house until we asked our waitress: Donde estan todos? Where is everybody? She responded in English, "Well, they all went to a party".

Ah, we clinked our beers together and toasted to the bygones of Big Corn Island.
Anastasia's Bar and Restaurant
Big Corn Island, Nicaragua
Corn Islands

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