Little Corn Island Is Nicaragua's Best-kept Secret

The tiny Caribbean island is home to hidden beaches, lush jungles, and pristine snorkeling spots.

A beach on Little Corn Island.
Photo: Wolfgang Diederich/Getty Images

Getting to Little Corn Island — 50 miles off the coast of Nicaragua — requires a big commitment.

From Miami, visitors must take a flight to Managua, a connecting flight to Big Corn Island, a transfer to the Brigg Bay harbor, and a 30-minute boat ride to Little Corn Island.

But once you arrive, the Caribbean water makes it crystal clear that, in this case, it's not about the journey — it's about the destination.

Iguana Beach, Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Margie Politzer/Getty Images

We hopped off our beached panga to the welcome of our hosts at Yemaya Reefs resort (named after the African goddess of the ocean), who greeted us with refreshing mandarin and star fruit juice and damp lemongrass and mint scented washcloths.

The breeze felt deliciously pure — nothing motorized is permitted on the island, not even golf carts.

Dinner in the open-aired dining room featured fish caught earlier that day in the waters that lapped at our resort's beachfront and salad and vegetables freshly picked from the garden on the property. Afterward, we sat back and enjoyed the evening show: stars, dazzling and bright.

The following morning, ready to explore, we donned our flip flops for the walk around the island — roughly 1.5 square miles in size — which included Caribbean water, gnarled mangroves, hidden beaches and dirt paths, deserted coves and lush jungle.

Along the way, we encountered a farmers market consisting of one stand, stopped by the panaderia, where we enjoyed the local specialty — coconut bread sold out of a family's living room — and caught a round of the baseball game between rivals Little Corn and Big Corn Island. The game was the afternoon's big draw, and the part-paved, part-dirt path to the field was, by Little's standards, teeming with a half dozen local fans on their way to meet friends already at the game, cheering in Creole, Spanish, and English.

Hammocks on Little Corn Island.
Margie Politzer/Getty Images

The options for the afternoon on the pristine waters were all enticing: Take in views of the island from the deck of a 40-foot sailboat en route to unforgettable snorkeling; swim our way from the beach to the reef; or grab a paddleboard or kayak to enjoy the water and the life below from above.

The resort also offers yoga classes and massages in a jungle studio setting, and deserted beaches for those looking for a more relaxed afternoon.

Your time on Little Corn will not disappoint, whether you are exploring the jungle, walking the coast, swimming, paddling, snorkeling, kayaking, or fishing the Caribbean waters or relaxing on the unspoiled beaches.

But best to hurry. It's Nicaragua's best-kept secret, but not for long.

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