Corn Islands



Some describe Nicaragua's Corn Islands as being among the last undiscovered jewels of the Caribbean. They are located on the Miskito Coast, practically a world away from the rest of the country both culturally (Creole people inhabit the islands) and physically, as they are cut off from the rest of Nicaragua by its largely uninhabited central and eastern jungle region.

In centuries past, the Corn Islands were popular with buccaneers, who used them as a base for raiding Caribbean shipping. Today, the pair of Caribbean islands continues to make slow progress in their attempt at tourism.

The Corn Islands consist of Big and Little Corn islands. All flights and boats from the mainland arrive at Big Corn Island. That is also where most of the local Creole population lives, in colorful modest wood or concrete houses all along the one road that encircles the island. A single port town, called Brig's Bay, is where all ferries and fishing boats arrive and depart. It's also where most shops, local restaurants and a handful of local hotels are found. Outside Brig's Bay a handful of hostels, bed-and-breakfasts, guest houses, hotels and seaside restaurants are scattered along the island road close to the sea.

The island is ringed by a variety of golden sand beaches, ranging from rather wild and empty to more popular beaches frequented by both locals and visitors. The turquoise sea harbors reefs just offshore on the rough eastern and slightly calmer northern sides of the island. Perhaps surprisingly, Big Corn Island is considerably less visited by international travelers than Little Corn, making it a much quieter and authentic experience.

Most international travelers head directly to Little Corn by ferry as soon as their flight arrives to Big Corn. Little Corn is the travelers' hot spot, with few local inhabitants, dozens of accommodation options and slightly higher prices. It can become a heavy party scene at times and becomes crowded during peak season in December and January.

At the same time, Little Corn is the wilder, more "au naturel" island, consisting almost entirely of beaches and thick jungle and with no roads or cars. Like Big Corn, the island is rimmed by pretty golden sand beaches, turquoise waters and offshore reefs. The best beaches and reefs are located on the island's north end.

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