Central America Latin America Nicaragua The Americas

The Caribbean on a Budget: Little Corn Island

Little Corn Island Caribbean Paradise Island Nicaragua

The Corn Islands is one of the most sought after destinations in Central America, not only for its turquoise waters and fine sand but because of its enchanting culture that is unique from the rest of Nicaragua. It’s also way cheaper than most Caribbean island destinations! After a taste of Mexico’s Caribbean beaches in Cancun and Tulum, we wanted more. When we heard about the Little Corn Island and Big Corn Island – local Caribbean islands 83km east of Nicaragua’s coast, we didn’t think twice about going. It took us nearly three days to get to the Corn Islands but it was well worth it. (I’ll write about this long and adventurous journey in another post. As they say, how you get there is another story!) If you have a lot of time in Central America, definitely go out of your way to visit the Corn Islands. The budget version of a Caribbean paradise did not fail to deliver. It was one of the highlights of our trip to Nicaragua and has some of the best beaches we’ve seen in Central America.

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Straight to Little Corn Island we went, as most people advised to do so. We had five days to enjoy the serenity of the island and it was truly wonderful! I’m starting to miss it now.

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - SailBoat

Little Corn Island

“I survived the panga ride.” Whether you take the smoother way by flight or the speedboat from Bluefields, the 30km stretch of sea from the Big Corn Island to the Little Corn Island is a major feat in itself, especially in rainy season. Don’t worry, the boatmen seem to know what they are doing so just try to relax and look forward to the authentic Caribbean island you have been longing for.

The Caribbean experience starts at the main pier. A few minutes’ walk to the left will lead you the local town and towards the right, a line of colourful restaurants, hotels and cafés. Most of the accommodation options don’t have wifi (nor power in the morning) so you’ll see a lot of the tourists in these beachfront shops. Tranquilo and Café Desideri are two of our favourites. If you miss Western food these are the places for you.

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Cafe Desideri

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Tranquilp Cafe

Little Corn is actually not that small. It just seems tiny because you have to go everywhere by foot. Part of the unique experience in Little Corn is the lack of roads and cars. There are only trails which lead you along most parts of the island. There is so much room to get lost, but if you keep to the trails and try not to mess around the headlands too much, you definitely won’t. Most days in Little Corn are spent relaxing by the beach, snorkelling or diving. This could very well be the vacation you long for.

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Beach Trail

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - East Beach

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Main Pier

Beaches in Little Corn Island

The beaches close to the main pier are surprisingly good, with golden sand and clear waters. On a sunny day you’ll see the streak of turquoise blue from the shore – seeing these colours always excited me. The best accommodation we had was in one of the beachfront hotels, at Lobster Inn (a double room with sea view is $25 per night). We had a gorgeous view of the beach near the pier, enjoyed the sea breeze and slept to the relaxing sound of waves.

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Main Pier Panga Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Tourist Main Pier

The beaches on the east side look pretty from afar but have been suffering from seaweed like Tulum, and are also experiencing an erosion crisis. These beaches have apparently changed a lot lately. It’s quite sad as it must have looked really pretty with its powder white sand. There are quite a lot of the beach bungalows here, but it’s about 20 minutes’ from the cheaper restaurants and could be a hassle to get back to at night time (there are no street lamps on Little Corn Island).

The northern part of the island, about 30 minutes’ walk from the main pier has the best beaches. Otto Beach is a sure charmer with lush coconut trees, fine white sand and clear turquoise waters. Lay out a blanket and take your time to enjoy this stunning local Caribbean beach. You can also grab drinks from the hotel in that part, but staying there is not cheap (It’s the most upmarket hotel on the island). We attempted to find Goat Beach, which according to Lonely Planet is one of the best beaches, but after we made our way to the headlands in the north, what we saw didn’t look like it was one of the best. Or maybe we were wrong. If you went out of your way to find the Goat Beach, leave us a comment, we’d love to know about what you think.

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Otto Beach North

Otto Beach, Little Corn Island

Budget Carribbean - Little Corn Island Nicaragua - Otto Beach Yemaya

Related Post: Big Corn Island: A Local Caribbean Experience

Have you been to the Corn Islands? Do you want to visit the Corn Islands? 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.


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