It’s hard to believe that the first part of our trip has come and gone. We have moved on from the Corn Islands and are now in beautiful San Juan del Sur on the southern Pacific coast of Nicaragua. I’m sitting in a coffee shop looking back at the pictures I took, the places I saw and some of the friendships I made on the islands and realized what a little piece of paradise it is and how completely it is disconnected from the real world. People who come to the Corn Islands for a couple of days routinely push their trips into weeks, months and some even turn to living and working on the islands.
The places we stayed at on each island were incredibly different from each other, but both were comfortable. Ike Siu’s cabanas on the north end of Big Corn were small and comfortable but offered all of the amenities of a modern hotel; A/C, fast wifi and a delicious hot breakfast all contained with a magical Caribbean view (see the picture above), all for an incredibly affordable rate. The thing that really makes this place though is the owner, Ike, he greets you at the airport and immediately takes you on a driving tour of the island to show you all of the best spots and places to explore. I can’t recommend his cabanas strongly enough!
On the opposite side is Little Corn Beach and Bungalow; your very own Robinson Crusoe living experience with many of the luxuries and amenities of a 5-star resort. The beds were amazingly comfortable, draped in an all enclosing mosquito net to protect you from unwanted visitors and a fan (that only worked till 6:30 am when the village power went out). Each morning you would awake and have coffee on your porch, sans electricity and alarm clocks, enjoying the sound of the waves breaking the beach not 100 feet from where you lounged.
Owners Scot and Christine are dedicated business owners, constantly training and working with their employees to provide their guests with an experience they might receive sitting at a five star restaurant in the United States. This constant process of refining the experience guests receive helps keep their employees sharp but also provides them skills that in a tourism minded locale like the Corn Island will give them a leg up when competing for other jobs in the future (both front end managers at the hotel are locals). All of the employees showed an incredible dedication to the needs of the guests, and the food at the Turned Turtle Restaurant cannot be rivaled anywhere on the island (I have not eaten that much steak in a long time!). That being said the cost of staying at Little Corn Beach and Bungalow rivals staying at a 4-5 star resort in somewhere like Puerto Vallarta, we utilized their ‘RADD’ deal which provided two meals a day and all the domestic beer, soda and juice you could drink (I drank a lot of Toña – the local Nicaraguan beer) and discounts on various activities and your room rate. The cost of this deal as well as the room has gone up since we booked and makes the deal, which was already borderline to me for making economic sense a little less enticing, I think I would rather pay a bit more and have it include absolutely everything. The one negative comment I have is in their accounting system for meals/drinks they utilize a paper notebook where they annotate what was eaten/drank by guests but provide no accounting of this to the guest at check out. We were told we consumed 29 meals during our stay of the allotted 24 meals, however Laura and I went back and calculated our meals and realized we had only eaten 26 (the 4 per day plus breakfast on the last day), if you are limited on the meals you eat on the inclusive deal I would like to see some sort of coupon exchanged for your meal, that way each party can account for their use. That being said we had an amazing experience at Little Corn Beach and Bungalow and would strongly recommend staying there for anyone looking to have a tropical getaway that disconnects them a little bit from the modern world and takes a bit of an adventure to reach.