Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Part of me wants to tell the whole world about this place but part of me wants to keep it a secret just like Bugs and Sal tried to do in the cult classic The Beach. I heard about Little Corn Island from my Dutch roommate in Mexico. She described an ultimate paradise with secluded white sand beaches, bamboo huts and coconut palms. After leaving Mexico to travel Central America, I had no travel route and no plans but I knew there was one place I needed to go; Little Corn Island.
Not a lot of backpackers make the trek to the Corns. You have two options: a flight from Managua which is quite pricey, the second is lengthy with unreliable boat and bus schedules and a possible stay in the coke capital of the Caribbean, Bluefields but the cheapest option. I made the journey starting in Matalgalpa with a 2 hours bus ride to Managua, 5 hours on a bus to El Rama where you catch a river boat to Bluefields, hoping it doesn’t break down along the way (which mine did). In Bluefields you take a 6 hour boat to Big Corn. These aren’t your Greek style island hoping ferry boats. Nope those were sold to Panama years ago. This is a small cargo boat with a few hammocks strung up in the back by locals and crates of vegetable and household products. The sea can be rough as well even for the best traveler. I lucked out with calm weather and the use of a hammock, swinging the 6 hour with nothing but blue water surrounding me. I arrived at Big Corn but knew where I was going, straight on a boat to Little Corn, which takes another hour.
The endless tiring travel is well worth it when you arrive on the paradise island that is Little Corn. It did not disappoint. I made a deal and got myself a cabana for a month. I shed my clothes, dumped my backpack and had my feet in the pure white sand. I was home.
There are no roads, no cars, a very small village which consists of a few tiendas, three churches, 2 dive shops, a few restaurants and a hotel or two. Throw in fishermen, hammock swingers and a reggae bar. It takes 10mins to walk from one side of the island to the other on a path through the forest. To walk the circumferences it takes about 2 hours.
Other travelers would ask me what you are going to do here for one month. They figured I needed to be taking a dive course or working to stay in one place for an entire month. I would spend my days lying on the beach, collecting mangos, cooking, talking to other travelers, taking walks, going to the village for food, swimming, laying in my hammock and reading books. Would you really want to do more?

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