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Little Corn Island

Like some crazy geographical two-for-one offer, Nicaragua’s Little Corn Island feels as if a Caribbean island has drifted over to spend time in Central America. The lake breezes of mainland Nicaragua are swapped for sea breezes, the shadows of volcanoes are exchanged for the shade of coconut palms and even the city plazas morph into golden sand beaches.

Take a quick bounce across the open sea by boat from Big Corn Island to get to Little Corn Island. When you arrive you'll have to either jump directly into the tide or use a plastic beer crate to a step ashore. Island tempo is easy to fall into. Simply slip out of as many clothes as you feel comfortable with—retaining the minimum required for modesty—and wander. 

Little Corn’s facilities are concentrated along an area called the “front side.” Here, the island’s only sealed path connects everything like a social thread. Houses sit resplendent in bright colors, hotels and restaurants waylay the travelers, shops complete with tin shack snack bars, and a health center seems the perfect antidote to the wildlife at The Happy Hut disco.

But the locations that attracts the most attention are the dive shops. Divers and snorkelers can find local guides running daily trips out to the reef. Little Corn’s underwater wonderland includes caves, caverns and overhangs. Virtually every reef fish classified as Tropical Caribbean is present in the waters; un-chummed shark encounters are frequent. The sharks are friendly, as are Dive Little Corn’s instructors.

Casa Iguana is the best known of the island’s accommodations. Set on the breezy far side, the Casa’s casitas (little cabins) are private and well set up. The Casa Iguana also boasts the island’s only internet café run by satellite phone link. However, space is limited and with its popularity the eco-lodge fills up fast, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time.A

Ask any traveler and undoubtedly Doña Elsa’s, just along the beach from Casa Iguana, will be mentioned as the best place to get lobster on the island. The dish is prepared slowly, allowing patrons ample time to lounge in the hammocks on the beach front, dozing, drinking, or both.

Although walking after lunch at Elsa’s is best kept to a minimum, further north are more secluded beaches. On one of these stunning beaches you’ll find Dereck's Place—described as the place to come and live out Gilligan’s Island fantasies. Cabins are constructed of coconut fronds and reeds.

The setting is pure, pristine beach frontage, lined with coconut palms, and there is a coral reef within snorkeling distance. Nightly bonfires add to the feeling of roughing it.

Daytime brings the grocery boat. Fancy a beer? Wave the boat down and order one. Hungry? Try a short walk across the island and follow your nose to the tempting smells of freshly baked coconut bread. The homebaked, all-natural loaf stays fresh for several days.

Your only concern on Little Corn could be the return sea journey to the airport on Big Corn. In rough weather it is possible to miss your flight home again, and again, and again.




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