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Corn Islands

storm

On Sunday we got to Managua at dark - the bus ride is only an hour or so, but we left Granada a little late. We went straight to hotel Jardin de Italia, which we used as a base for departing to the islands (leaving some of our luggage there) and then to catch the bus to Guatemala, since the hotel is located round the corner from the Ticabus station. At Jardin de ltalia we wanted to go and have dinner, but Lesbia, the owner, forbade us saying it was too dangerous. When we first stepped outside and she saw us, she and the neighbours told us that we should not walk around and we heard them discussing it they should escort us or how could we get hold of some food. In the end Lesbia got the yellow pages and we ended up with a chicken home delivery. It was only 7 pm!!!!!

The next day was 4.30 a start to the airport for the Corn Islands. The plane was a small 15-seater just a little bit bigger than the mosquito plane we took to the waterfalls in Guyana, still a bit spooky, especially when the pilot decided to open the newspaper wide and read it while flying over Nicaragua....
The Corn Islands are two islands 70 kilometers off the Caribbean Coast, in front of the coastal town of Bluefields. These two islands offer the opportunity to see the Caribbean side of Nicaragua in a beautiful and mostly unexplored environment. Big Corn and Little Corn are both quite small and quite different from each other - the former has an asphalted road with plenty of taxis driving around it, while on Little Corn there are no cars at all and it is generally much less developed - you can walk it north to south in about 30 minutes, if you don´t get lost.
Once we got to Big Corn, we went straight to the jetty to catch the 10 am panga to Little Corn. The panga ride from Big Corn to Little Corn was an experience in itself, best described as powerboat racing. There had been strong winds and rain constantly for the past 2 weeks or so, so the sea was particularly rough ... While the guy at the front of the boat stood holding on to some ropes to look out for other boats, the guy at the back had his finger on a high speed engine. Every time he cut the power you knew that you were about to hit a big wave and that the panga would fly for a few seconds to then come crashing down HARD on the bit of 2X4 you were sitting on... It was real fun, like being on the rides. Less fun for Gregory, who was not sitting on the life jacket like most of the other passengers and who took some really hard blows where it hurts. Most of the passengers got soaked, if not all, but it was a really good laugh. Every now and then a negative thought would pass, like, erm, what if the panga breaks into two when coming crushing down?? Never mind losing all of your stuff, the real problem is that it would be a sharks´ feast.... but it did not split into two and we got there and back quite safely, if soaked.

From Granada we had booked an economy cabin over the internet at US-run Casa Iguana. Casa Iguana is a nice place, only problem being that it is overpriced. We booked an economy cabin for $25 without bathroom, since the ones with bathroom were a staggering $55. The place looked nice and particularly the dining/social area was really pleasant, however our cabin was very basic and we still had to go walking 50 yards to toilets & shower. On top of it all, it is located on a cliff away from the beach under some shady trees home to many lovely insects. After the first night of a few long trips to the loo, we decided that Elsa' s place at $12 for a cabin with bathroom ON the beach was a much better choice. So, despite having had a real fun night at Casa Iguana playing cards all evening after a very nice dinner with very nice people, and despite the running water we had there, we decided to move to Elsa's, owned locally and with no running water but much more appealing. The other thing that annoyed us about Casa Iguana is that they sent us a taxi to pick us up on Big Corn without telling us, and the friendly taxi driver charges us three times the normal fare!!! Elvis - do not get in his taxi if you ever bump into him.

While Gregory quite liked the islands, I was quite disappointed. When I think Caribbean island surrounded by coral reefs, I think of a nice island where you can snorkel and enjoy the sea. But that was not what we found on Corn this round!!! While all the regular ‘Caribbean’ features are present, such as turquoise water, white beaches, green palm trees and stunning reefs and marine life, the weather was a disaster. We had heard that it had been raining etc, but never really took into consideration the factor WIND. It was very very windy and the sea was choppy to say the least, so the beaches were covered in algae and rubbish and snorkelling was not really much of an option. Even those who dived were complaining of poor visibility. We later found out from the locals that the time to visit when the sea is calm is between March and May - don' t bother to come here at any other time if you are looking at swimming peacefully in the sea... Gregory still managed to do some snorkelling and test out his new underwater camera, but only got some 40 mostly brown-looking pictures which were quickly erased...

That said, during our stay on Little Corn we met lots of nice fellow travellers and the setting on the beach at Elsa's was really pleasant. We also managed to walk around a little, going all the way around the north end and almost getting lost. We went hoping to find calmer waters but no luck, it was just all the same, big waves and rubbish everywhere. The island is notorious for getting people lost at night, and indeed a young couple did end up spending the night in the jungle after their torch batteries run out...Gregory bumped into them the next morning all covered in mud and asked them what happened...

We left Little Corn back to Big Corn for a day with Lina, a nice Portuguese girl who was staying also at Elsa's. The hope was to find calmer waters...what a mistake!! It was worse than Little Corn, and without the nice beach setting of Elsa's. We drove around to three different hotels till we decided to stop at Best View, which was practically abandoned, though still about functioning. Only and fortunate guests there, we had a TV in the room, so we spent most of our time watching the X Files as there was an all-day special on Sci Fi that day. We also managed to go and console ourselves with some lobster dinner and a lunch with run down, the local fish specialty of coconut milk and boiled roots and plaintain.

On Friday evening we were back at Jardin de Italia, where this time there were a lot of people on the street and the restaurants were open around the hostel. Lesbia explained that as it was Friday and people just got paid, they were out having a nice time. It reminded us of old little England...small world isnt it. On Saturday we took the 5 am Ticabus to Guatemala, which is where we are now at last!!

The only way to Fly......

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boyz chillin with Lone

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Girls just Chillin......

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Mans best friend followed us all round the island

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Our cute cabin cleaner
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little corn crew assembled......

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De famous national dish- RUNDOWN
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a view from casa iguana's
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a view from Elsa place
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have you ever seen your crab so blue......oooh!
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greg-flav and Misses Corn islands 2017

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Posted by Flav-Greg 18:02 Archived in Nicaragua

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