Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Little Corn Island is a tiny speck in the Caribbean sea less than 1.5 square miles in land area and with fewer than 1,000 residents. Travel by foot is the main form of transport on the island, as there are no cars at all and only a few bikes. No banks or ATMs either so stock up on cash before you go, especially because surcharges can be high for paying by credit card if it’s even accepted at all (USD are accepted everywhere). Village power only runs from 2pm to 5am (more or less) although some places offer backup generators. With Robinson Crusoe type scenery at every turn, this is the place to run away from the world. The vibe is very laid back, low key Caribbean and there are accommodation options for literally any budget. Given its remote nature, the island feels really intimate and you are likely to run into the few tourists that are here time and again.

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Getting there:  Little Corn is only accessible by small boats, called pangas, from Big Corn Island.  The 30 minute ride costs $6 USD plus a “tax” you need to pay in Nicaraguan currency to enter the dock (5 Cordoba which is less than 20 cents US). This boat ride is not for the faint of heart. The wave swells on the day we went out were 6.5 to 8 feet.  You can check out a video from leewouters of the panga ride when the sea is calm and flat for a taste of the experience. If sea conditions are really bad, the panga won’t go out which is why it’s critical to have travel insurance in case you need to forfeit hotel deposits on Little Corn.

There are strategic seating positions on the boat – the back is less bumpy but you get soaked while the front is more bumpy but you stay dry.  We sat at the back and regretted it.  The amount of salt water I swallowed was enough to make me feel really sick. Before you ask, yes pangas have flipped over before. Consider yourself warned!

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Where to stay: If you are looking for eco-friendly secluded hideaways, there are plenty of options on Little Corn. All prices below are in USD and 15% tax is additional.

Budget-friendly and in the center of everything: Lobster Inn or Hotel Los Delfines

While there are plenty of budget accommodations in Little Corn – Carlito’s, Casa Iguana, Grace’s Cool Spot and more – these are a bit of a trek from the main village, so great options if you want lots of privacy.

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If you prefer to have more action and nightlife, I recommend one of the two places below with the caveat that I didn’t stay at either of these myself. At $23 per night for double occupancy, Lobster Inn offers 11 rooms with double beds, private bathroom and fan. For $6 extra, you also get a TV. At $50 per night for double occupancy, Los Delfines offers 18 rooms with a private bathroom, air conditioning, cable tv and private veranda. Both hotels are locally owned, close to the panga dock and in the center of local village action.

There are some great little restaurants on this side of the island including Tranquilo Cafe, which offers bonfires on Wednesday and Saturday and seems to have the best WiFi on the island, Cafe Desideri for Italian, and Habana Libre for Cuban. Be sure to stop by some of the Happy Hours for great 2 for 1 drink deals from 5 to 7pm.

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The winds on this side of the island are calm which means the sea is still and peaceful. However, given how close you are to the boat docks, the water may be less clean than other parts of the island. Keep in mind, beaches on Little Corn are public so you can always walk to some of the other lovely beaches.


Mid-range secluded getaway: Little Corn Beach and Bungalow

LCBB is consistently the best rated and most popular accommodation on Little Corn Island for good reason. They offer a range of economy bunkhouses and goregous Tahitian style cabanas from $79 to $209. We stayed in the Master Suite Crusoe for $169 and absolutely loved the room full of little touches like a footbath outside your door, complimentary snack bowl and fresh flowers. We also added the $49 RADD deal which reduced the price of our cabin by 15% and included 2 meals per day, drinks and tons of other little extras. The on site Turned Turtle restaurant is excellent and very reasonably priced.

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The grounds are also beautiful with tons of hammocks and secluded little spots. The main drawback is that the water is full of seaweed, which they try to clear every day but is really impossible to do. It’s also a tiny beach and the waters are pretty rough, given this is the windy side of the island. From LCBB you can take a 20 to 30 min walk down the beach and across a paved walkway to the village but I would not recommend this at night even with a flashlight because the pathway is really uneven at times. Sadly there is also quite a bit of garbage on parts of the beach around this area. Yoga ($12) and massages ($65 for 1 hour) are offered at the Firefly Studio on site and reduced by 30% on the RADD deal.

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Luxe beachside retreat: Yemaya Hideaway

At $400 per night, Yemaya is the ultimate Iuxury retreat with unbelievable views from each of the 16 cabins, yoga, meditation and breakfast included. The waters here are fairly clear and calm with a beautiful breeze. Located at the North end of the island, this spot is even more secluded with a 30-40 min walk to town (Yemaya will provide security to walk you there and back at night).

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At this price, you do get some included luxuries such as hot water and electricity all day, plus great consistent WiFi in the restaurant (tip: cabin 9 is next to the restaurant so you can good WiFi on your patio). Food here is also excellent with many fresh ingredients sourced from their onsite garden. Prices are definitely higher than on the rest of the island with mains generally all above $20. Beer prices at the beach bar are $3, which is double what most places charge, but they offer an excellent happy hour from 3 to 5pm with $2 beers and 2 for 1 cocktails. Their Pina Colada is the best I have ever tasted ($10 each). They offer excellent tacos for $3-4 at the beach bar during lunch.

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On the downside, there is an on site spa and while prices are reasonable ($60 per hour massage), it really needs some work to get the treatments up to par. We also tried their private transfer on the return trip ($25), which is supposed to be much smoother and better, but the boat was tiny and the major convenience was that you didn’t have to deal with the crowds on the panga and left directly from the resort. The return trip is generally always smoother because you aren’t going against the waves.

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Keep in mind that you can stay anywhere on the island and eat at Yemaya, use the beach or take yoga/meditation classes! I highly recommend a visit to the beach bar at least.

For additional info about either of the Corn Islands, check out the Right Side Guide for some other great tips! Keep in mind May to November is the rainy season and I wouldn’t advise being on Little Corn in a hurricane. Otherwise, this is an amazing destination to get away from it all and slow down your pace on any budget.

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7 thoughts on “Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

  1. Pingback: Big Corn Island, Nicaragua | MyTorontoLife

  2. Pingback: Exploring Nicaragua’s interior: Managua, Masaya and Granada | MyTorontoLife

  3. We experienced one of those life threatening Panga rides to Little Corn as well… within 10 seconds we were saturated, at one point we felt like only inches away from tipping, and on 2 occasions the boat was completely dumped by huge waves!

    On the return trip however, the sea looked like a mirror!

    Crazy times…

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  4. The Private Panga was absolutely thrilling. The waves were huge and at times I felt like we were flying. WE laughed and giggled and screamed the entire way there! If you are up for a good adventure and you enjoy the water this definitely is a must!! but by all means avoid the Public Panga.

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