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Visiting Big Corn Island

Big Corn Island is located roughly 50 miles / 80 km away from the Nicaraguan mainland. Most visitors come here to relax on the beach and go swimming in the Caribbean Sea. Scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking and fishing are other popular activities.

Getting to the island

By air

airtravelThe airport on Big Corn is named Corn Island International Airport. Its IATA code is RNI, its ICAO code is MNCI.

The airline La Costeña have regular flights to Big Corn from Managua and Bluefields. There is normally at least three flights a day from Managua to Big Corn, some of which will go down for a quick stop in Bluefields. The plain is either a small one (max 20 passengers, cabin not pressurized) or the larger 42 seat plane with pressurized cabin. You can book a seat through La Costeña’s site online. The plane will leave from Sandino International Airport in Managua, but you don’t check in at the main airport building. Instead, take your baggage and head for a smaller building located to side of the main airport building.

There is a Best Western hotel located across the street from Sandino International Airport, so if you arrive to Nicaragua the day before your plane leaves for Big Corn, you don’t have to go into Managua if you don’t want to.

By boat

  • There is a government ferry running from Bluefields to Big Corn once a week. The trip takes roughly 5 hours.
  • You can take a panga (small motor boat) from Bluefields to Big Corn any day of the week. The pangas are faster than the ferry, but the ride can be pretty bumpy and you will be splashed by sea water.

From El Rama to Bluefields

A cargo ships goes back and forth between El Rama (in the inland) and Bluefields (on the coast). The trip is cheap, but can take up to 12 hours. Also, the cargo ship only makes the trip twice or thrice a week. You will be traveling on the Escondido river. Once in Bluefields, you need to arrange transportation to Corn Islands because the cargo ship will not go out to the islands.

Getting around on the island

There is quite a lot of paved roads on Big Corn, and a 12 km long paved road runs along the island’s brim, making it easy to get from one stretch of beach to another. Many of the hotels, hostels and restaurants are located next to this road or just a very short distance from it.

  • There are plenty of taxis on the island. Just as in many other parts of Nicaragua, the quoted price is typically per passenger, not per group, and this can cause confusion for first-time visitors. Always make sure everything about the total price is clear before you get into the cab.Since you pay per passenger, don’t be surprised if the taxi driver stops to pick up more passengers while on the way to your destination. If it is important for you to have the taxi to yourself, negotiate this before you get into the taxi.
  • A public bus circles the island clockwise. Some of the bus stops are very beautifully decorated.
  • It is possible to rent bikes, motobikes, four-wheelers and golf carts.

Eating

lobsterExamples of restaurants on Big Corn:

  • The hotel restaurant at Casa Canada
  • Restaurante Sabor at Sunrise Hotel
  • The hotel restaurant at Hotel Paraiso
  • The hotel restaurant at Morgan
  • Picnic Centre
  • Seva’s
  • Nautilus
  • Comedor Maris
  • Specitos (a taco stand on the beach near Long Bay)
  • Anastasia’s on the Sea
  • Arenas (on the beach)

Rundon

One example of a typical Corn Island dish is the coconut milk stew Rundon (Run down). It is a great example of slow food, and normally need to be ordered in advance. At some restaurants, you have to order a minimum of two portions. Rundon is based on coconut milk, into which available starchy veggies and protein from the ocean is entered. Plantain (starchy food banana), yucca and taro are common ingredients, plus pieces of fish, shrimp and lobster. Each cook tend to have their own recipe, and will also alter it a bit depending on which ingredients that are available at the time of cooking.

Lobster

Lobster is a big part of the island culture and most restaurants will have several lobster dishes on the menu. When the lobster season ends, the price of lobster dishes tend to go up.

Pan de Coco

Pan de Coco (coconut bread) is a favorite bread among the islanders and it comes in two main varieties: sweetened and not sweetened. The women who bake it sell it in front of their own houses.

Drinking & Dancing

Reggae Palace is one of the most popular spots for dancing. Open Friday night and Saturday night.

On Sundays, Nico’s draws a crowd.

Bamboole and Sky are other options; they are normally open each night from Thursday through Sunday.Scuba diving

Corn Island Dive Centerdiving corn

  • Rents out diving equipment and snorkeling equipment
  • Arranges diving excursions and snorkel excursions
  • Offers diving classes (PADI, up to Divemaster)

Dos Tiburones Dive Shop

  • Rents out diving equipment and snorkeling equipment
  • Arranges diving excursions and snorkel excursions
  • Offers diving classes (PADI and SSI, up to Divemaster)

Snorkeling

The reefs around the island are great for snorkelers, and there is even a marine park for snorkelers located off Big Corn Island.

Examples of places where you can rent snorkeling equipment and book a snorkeling trip with guide:

Dorsey (next to Ceva’s)

Anastasia’s on the Sea

Dos Tiburones Dive Shop

Corn Island Dive Center

Kayaking

Kayaks can be rented at Anastasia’s on the Sea.

Baseball

The most popular sport on the island is baseball, with Sunday being the main day for official games.

The pyramid

A small pyramid has been erected at the top of Quinn Hill by an art project called Soul of the World. It is one of eight pyramids of this kind built by the art project in various parts of the world.