Saturday, January 25, 2014

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua


Welcome to Little Corn Island
"Oh my God! I am going to die!" I uttered those words as the boat bounced from large wave to the next. We hit a wave and gallons of water rushed over the sides and drenched me. I spit out a mouthful of sea water as I rubbed my eyes. They were burning from the salt water. The girls in the rows behind me screamed and I knew another large wave would crash over me in seconds. I was going to drown at sea! This is how my life was going to end!! We were a third of the way on the panga (speedboat  that holds 40 people) ride from Great Corn Island to Little Corn Island. I had left the Hostal De La Casa de Los Abouelos before sunrise. Fabby's father gave Chantal and me a ride to the La Costena airport. We boarded an hour flight to Great Corn Island on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. As the plane landed on the island, we saw children looking over fences at the plane and an armed gunman (military I assured myself) watching as the plane taxied to the airport. We walked down the steps to the tarmac and past the drug dog while we waited for our luggage. Our checked bags were also sniffed for drugs. As we waited, 2 horses snuck onto the runway and were happily galloping on the black Tarmac. A local gentleman explained this is a frequent sight and the planes typically do a fly over to make certain there are no lose cows or horses roaming free. Ha ha! Chantal and I grabbed our bags and found a taxi driver to take us to the dock. He told us we had plenty of time and asked if we wanted a breakfast first. Sure, why not. We had 2 hours before the boat left for the island. We sat at a restaurant looking out at the calm blue sea and waiting for our breakfast. We never expected it to take 1 hour and 10 minutes to get scrambled eggs! It was time to really slow it down. Island time. We got our food and the taxi driver waved to us. We had 5 minutes to eat. We hurriedly ate our food and got back in the taxi.  We arrived at the port as the boat was loading. We asked about tickets and were told to buy them on the boat. We got in line for the boat and were asked if we had tickets. Huh?!? Someone was messing with us. We were sent back to buy tickets and told we would be on the next boat. As we waited on the dock, a guy told us to get in the first boat. I was confused and just did as I was told. He had a row scoot together and had me squeeze into the side. We were squished into the boat like sardines. After 20 minutes, we finally left. It seems they have the 2 boats go at the same time for safety. The 30 minute ride was rocky and I really did believe we were going to drown at sea. It was the wettest roller coaster ride I had ever been on. On the right side of the boat was a plastic tarp that people were trying to hold over their heads. Half the people were crouched under it and the rest of us had given up and were getting drenched by the large, rough waves. I was grateful when I could see shore. Finally! As we exited the boat, I found the boy from Carlito's Place who was sent to take us to our casitas on the east side of the island. We grabbed our backpacks and followed behind his full wheelbarrow. There are no cars on the island. The only transportation is walking.

Roads on Little Corn Island

It is peaceful and I was happy to be back on the water. As we walked the dirt path, we passed signs for other hotels and restaurants. I was taking notes of who had food and Internet.

Road signs

We arrived at Carlito's and had to do a little negotiation. I had reserved 2 casitas. One was fine but the second was in the back of the propoerty. I asked to see it. It was awful. A little treehouse by the swamp. There was no way I was staying in it next to what I assumed was a snake filled swamp, not even for $15! Chantal did not want it either. We finally decided to take a double for $30. We dropped our belongings and headed to the beach. The water was refreshing! We lounged on the beach and in the hammocks giggling about how lucky we were to be relaxing in paradise for a week while friends and family were freezing in the "polar vortex!"

We spent a week swimming, reading, writing and relaxing on the beaches. We walked the island trails each day. It is a small island but fun to explore. I found my favorite house on the beach, Casa Flip Flop. I was impressed with the flip flop Christmas tree out front.

Grace's Cool Spot had my favorite Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas in Corn Island

But most of our time was spent walking to different beaches and relaxing in the sand.
This was the high tourist season  but we did not see many tourists. The only time we saw a lot of tourists was when you went to a café or restaurant that had Internet. In our time there we liked the food and internet speed at Café Desirae and Casa Iguana. We became regulars and got to know the other tourists that frequented these spots.
As we explored the island, we came upon the windmill used for power at the Peace and Love Farm.
Later, we explored the southern end of the island and wandered through flower gardens and coconut groves. We were reminded not to take anything.
As we walked through the jungle, we started to wonder if we would find a beach. We looked out through the jungle and saw a couple beaches. We hiked down the side of the small cliff to a beach. Then we saw rocks. We crawled over the rocks and around the point to the second also had rocks but the view was great!  We were often the only people on the beaches.
We celebrated that evening with fresh coconuts and huge salads at Café Desirae. Mmmm!
I woke up early in the mornings to enjoy the quiet on the beach. I was usually joined by one of the local dogs. I named this guy Chelle but my favorite island dog was Bushman. He had a colar that read I am Bushman. Each time you said his name he would bark at me. He walked with me several mornings.
At the end of the week, I was ready to make the journey back to the mainland and south to Panama. I had decided to skip Costa Rica because it was much more expensive than Nicaragua and I needed to watch my budget.  I packed my bags and said goodbye to the beautiful Little Corn Island.
A quick and less eventful boat ride back to Great Corn Island and then to the airport.  I was flying back to Managua for one night. Then taking a bus to San Jose, spending a night there and on to Boquete, Panama. 


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