I arrived at the Managua Airport plenty early for my flight to Little Corn. As it turns out, the domestic terminal was a check-in room, and a small waiting room, so not too much drama. We boarded the plane a bit early and landed on Big Corn Island about an hour later. The Big Corn Airport was also a couple small rooms, and all of the luggage was hand carried to the center of the room for everyone to claim. About 15 minutes later, the airport was empty, everyone (about 40 people) were on their way to wherever they were going, and the cows made their way down the road.
The Corn Islands (originally part of the Mosquito Coast) were colonized by the British, so the main languages are English and English Creole. After asking at the airport how to get to the boat dock, I learned that if I waited a few minutes for the plane to leave, they would open the gate, and allow people to walk across the runway, cutting off a big portion of the walk. 10 minutes later, and a bit wet from the cloud bursts, I arrived at the dock and met my AirBnB host for the place I booked on Little Corn Island. He handed me an envelope for the care taker and a couple of rolls of TP and paper towels, and I was loaded into the old fishing boat (or panga as they call it).
The panga ride was interesting as the storm came in and the water got rough. There were about 20 of us on the old boat, huddled under a big tarp we were trying to hold over our heads to keep some of the rain and water from the crashing waves out. When I could see over the edge of the boat, the waves were higher than the boat, and it was a super bumpy ride. The little girl next to me was terrified an squeezed my leg most of the way. Finally, about 35 minutes later, we arrived on Little Corn Island.
It was still raining, and luckily I had my rain cover and a trash bag to protect my bags from getting soaked. The son of the caretaker met me at the dock and carried my small backpack as he led me across the island, through the jungle and down the beach to my place. There are no vehicles on the island, only bicycles and wheelbarrows. I splurged a little on my first three nights and the place was amazing. Funny enough, I found out the Owner was from Granby, Colorado, and had built the house and lived in it for several years before moving to Big Corn Island. It was right on Cocal Beach, on the windward side of the island. The shutters and doors opened all around the house with a large porch on the front and back, allowing a cool breeze to blow through the house 24/7. I had a great hammock that I could put out front on by the beach, or in the back in the palm tree grove for a little more shade. The porches were perfect for yoga in the mornings too!
My last day in the beach house, I scheduled a snorkel trip with a local guy who picked me up right in front of my place. It was a janky little boat with just me the captain and the guide, but we made our way out on the beautiful blue water to the reef. We saw a couple of nurse sharks, a barracuda, snapper, and some smaller colorful fish, but unfortunately, much of the reef seems to be dead. He tried to tell me it was just covered in sand because of the big waves recently, but I’m not so sure about this. I definitely want to look into what is happening when I have some reliable Wi-Fi! (Oh, by the way, there is only power on the island from 1PM to 6AM, and very little cellular with one carrier. There is very slow Wi-Fi in a few of the bars/restaurants, but that’s it, hence the delay in my posts!)
After snorkeling, the caretaker, Shelly, met me and walked me to my new spot for the next four nights, which she also manages. The young man who takes care of the yard/cleaning up the beach brought my backpacks in a wheelbarrow, so I didn’t have to carry them through the muddy jungle paths. This was a welcome surprise! My new place is a few minutes up the hill from the main path on the dockside of the island. It is called the Bottle House and was built with all different types of wine and liquor bottles embedded in the concrete. The Owner designed it herself and does much of the work on the place. It is a super cool piece of art and was priced so reasonable at $18/night. What a fun treat! She also built the turquoise/orange bottle house by the dock shown in the bottom right corner.
The first night in the Bottle House brought some torrential downpours! It rained from about 2 PM until 1 PM the following day, making the jungle a sloppy, muddy mess. It was crazy listening to the storm under my metal roof. Every so often a coconut or mango would fall on the roof and it literally sounded like a bomb going off! Needless to say, I awoke several times, but was able to nap the next day as I waited for the rain to move out.
During all of my free time on the island, I spent hours walking down the beaches, exploring all of the jungle trails, and climbing over the rocks and along the rocky cliffs. I often would go for 4 – 5 hours without seeing anyone, but always had a random dog to hike with, as there are many lonely beach dogs. It was so nice to have such cool companions, and they often would follow me back to hangout on my porch in the evenings! Unfortunately some of the dogs are not so well taken care of, and that is always hard to see…they are so sad.
And last, but no way least, here are some photos around the town and beaches where the cool little bungalows house tourists during the busier season. Being the rainy season, it was pretty quiet, but I did meet a few brave travelers and we were all rewarded with some beautiful, sunny days and some clear, star-filled nights! The last photo is of the supply boat that comes to the island once a week to bring necessary items.
This concludes the first portion of my 2022 journey. I’m now headed back to Colorado for August to hangout with my sweet cat Max, catch up with friends, and regroup a bit before heading out again in September. Let me know if you would like to get together if you are in town!
Until then, peace, love, hugs, and happy adventures!