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Big Corn Island: A Local Caribbean Experience in Nicaragua

Big Corn Island - Corn Islands Nicaragua - Caribbean - Picnic Beach

The wind blew upon our faces. The waves broke the calmness of the shore. Our shadows danced against the afternoon sun. We left but footprints in the sand.

Caribbean Nicaragua - Big Corn Island - Long Beach

Most people will advise you to quickly head for Little Corn Island, that Big Corn Island is not as charming as the little one. Don’t rush! Upon our arrival, we quickly made our way to Little Corn thus we only had one night to spent in Big Corn on the way back (because of the ferry schedule, they don’t go very often). We wished we had stayed another night or two.

Related: The Caribbean on a Budget: Little Corn Island

Big Corn Island

The big roads and the airfield in Big Corn, which are supposed to be signs of advancement, draws some people to think it is “too developed.” It’s not bad at all, the roads actually make it easy to go around this big island, and without that airport, Big Corn is a long way from Managua. Going around the island by taxi is relatively cheap, taxi fare is at about 20 Cordoba per person to pretty much anywhere.

It is not hard to find accommodation and food that are relatively cheap but beachfront options are more expensive than in Little Corn. We found a decent hotel at $20 per night, close to the main pier and food is about $4 to $5 per meal. The atmosphere of the island is a lot different as well, as it is more spread out and more communities reside here.

Caribbean Nicaragua - Big Corn Island - Picnic Beach

Caribbean Nicaragua - Big Corn Island - Picnic Beach Boat Bar

Beaches in Big Corn Island

In terms of beaches, Big Corn has a lot to offer too. During our stay, we visited two of the best beaches in Big Corn Island – Long Beach and Picnic Beach. “Where are the other tourists?” This was my question after seeing the stunning beaches that awaited in Big Corn. “Why are they rushing us to go to Little Corn, when Big Corn has this (referring to the Picnic Beach)?” I couldn’t quite understand how such a beautiful white sand beach with really clear turquoise blue waters was almost empty. In Asia, these kind of beaches will be packed with tourists. There was one beachfront bar and a few accommodations there but still we almost had the place to ourselves. It was pretty awesome. If Picnic Beach was quiet, Long Beach is nearly deserted. With the best stretch of golden sand and uniquely clear blue Caribbean waters all to yourself, why wouldn’t you go? I’m sure these parts will be developed in the coming years, so if you get the chance, it’s best to see these beaches soon.

Caribbean Nicaragua - Big Corn Island - Picnic Beach

Picnic Beach, Big Corn Island

Caribbean Nicaragua - Big Corn Island - Long Beach

Long Beach, Big Corn Island

A Little More about the Local Caribbean Experience

The Corn Islands, as well as most of the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua almost seemed like a different country. Aside from the difference in features of most people from the rest of Nicaragua, what I remembered most about these local Caribbean islands is the language and the delicious food.

Caribbean Nicaragua - The Corn Islands - Creole

Nicaraguan Creole Language

Just when I thought I’d get the chance to finally brush up on my Spanish, I was completely set off from my lessons when we went to the Corn Islands. Spanish is not the main language in this part of Nicaragua! As Frommer’s describes it, “Nicaraguan Creole is a mutant form of English that is as rapid and incomprehensible as it is endearing and hilarious. “ Here are some phrases taken you may find interesting (lifted from Frommer’s Guide Book):

Alright – Hello

That ain’t nothing – Thank you

Me got one good time – I had a lovely time

No feel, no way – Don’t worry, it’s okay

Check you then – Goodbye

Caribbean Food

No, it is not the lesser version of Mexican food. Your quest for seafood stops here. The food in the Caribbean side of Nicaragua mostly came from, well you guessed it, from the sea. Lobster is easily found in restaurants and relatively cheap (about $12 for a whole lobster). Make sure to try the one with coconut cream and chili, it’s so rich and flavourful. If you love a fresh catch, ceviche is a must-try dish made from fish soaked in the delicious flavours of lime and chili (In the Philippines, we call this preparation kinilaw). It’s kind of like sushi but don’t worry, it doesn’t have a fishy smell. Another one of our favourites, which fortunately we found in other parts of Nicaragua is the Jalapeno cream sauce, you can have this with chicken, fish or beef. It’s really delicious.

Caribbean Nicaragua - Big Corn Island - Creole Food

Caribbean Nicaragua - Big Corn Island - Ceviche

Have you been to the Corn Islands? Do you want to visit the Corn Islands? Which do you like better Little Corn or Big Corn? Let us know.

About the author

Gia Kristel Algie

Currently based in New Zealand, Gia grew up in Manila, lived in Singapore for three years and travelled the world for nearly two years. From watching sunsets to hiking mountains, she loves the outdoors. She enjoys living in big cities but takes pleasure staying in quaint, small towns. An aspiring photographer and budding writer, she is the voice behind Mismatched Passports, a travel blog dedicated to the journey around the world with her husband, Jon.


  • Thank you for sharing such an amazing report about big Corn Island it’s truly a gem of the Caribbean. Many tourist use it as a hub to and from lit’ Corn Island but before this was cultivated as a tourist allurement there was big C.I.

  • I liked Big Corn way better than Little Corn. It truly is untouched. Not touristy like Little Corn. I could live on Big Corn Island. Where else can you get lobster for $6!? And the baseball game was such a cool, unique experience to attend on the island. I have amazing pictures from when we explored the island on a golf cart we rented!

    • Yeah. The Lobster is delicious in The Corn Islands! I totally agree with Big Corn being more local and less touristy.

      A golf cart sounds awesome! We went around by taxi, it was pretty cheap!

  • Living on Big Corn we wish more people spent more time here. It’s amazing! We are building a small oasis in the jungle, not on the beach, and hope to rent out rooms in the near future! Follow our FB page at Drifter’s Claim Corn Island!

    Definitely agree with the above comment about the ship ride to the island. Don’t torture yourself. Book a flight if you plan to come here lol. (I’ve done it, because I was bringing over my vehicle, but would never do it again! Oh and our livestock experience that day was 6 cows, tied to a post in the hot sun, pooping right beside our truck & tangling each other up.) Add in the smell of fuel, the choppy water, and outhouse style ‘bathroom’, and it isn’t much fun. It is certainly no North American style ferry!

    But once here, Big Corn Is,and really is a gem. Please plan to spend at least half your Corn Island vacation time on the big island 🙂

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