Off to Little Corn Island

Little Corn Island Travel Blog

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Larry and giant Costena Airlines Boarding Passes
Saturday, November 08
Since, according to the girl working the desk at the lounge in the Hilton “there are only three things to do in Managua” and “they aren’t that much fun or safe to do…” and since we had an early afternoon flight we opted for hanging at the Hilton and started by having a huge breakfast at the executive lounge.  Needless to say, Robb was in heaven with a huge plate of eggs, chiliquilles, bacon, sausage, chorizo and tons of breads.  Yummy but filling.

With several hours before Cathy and Robb’s flight home and another couple after that before ours to Big Corn Island, we decided to hang at the pool and start working on our tans.
Costena Airlines plane
  I did manage to get a hold of the woman who owns Casa Iguana on Little Corn Island and talked to her about diving and whether or not she thought it was safe to bring my laptop (she did).  She mentioned that the diving has been really good and that someone spotted hammerhead sharks the other day.  Hopefully I can convince Cindy to try it (but Shhh! I am not telling her about the hammerhead sightings ;-)

Cathy and Robb headed off to the airport for their flight home and a couple hours later, we too hopped in a Taxi to airport.  We had heard that Costena Airlines was not the most well organized business in the world so we luckily got there a little bit early and went to the office. Two very nice, very large ladies tried to help me but didn’t really speak much English and finally got another girl to translate.
Boats in Big Corn Island harbor
  They had a paper ledger, no computers and of course couldn’t find my ticket.  As you can see in the picture, the planes are pretty small so missing the flight would really suck.  It ended up that my paper ticket was stuck to the back of another one and they did eventually find it.  All appears well…

The check-in area was really crowded with mostly what appeared to be locals and lets just say, they don’t pack light.  We finally made it to the front of the line where, after physically getting weighed at check-in (they actually make you stand on the scale with your luggage!  I was prepared to put up a fight if they gave me any crap about the weight of my carry-on bag since the average local boarding the flight seemed to weigh more than Cindy and I combined…)

Well we had no weight problems so they gave us the giant boarding pass you see in the picture and we sat in the waiting area and had a can of Pringles and Tona beer for lunch while we waited.
The dark trail through the Jungle to Casa Iguana on Little Corn Island
  The plane finally arrived and we piled out onto the tarmac (let’s just say that I don’t think the TSA would be impressed with the level of security…) and climbed aboard a funny little plane and took off for the short flight to Bluefields where we briefly landed before heading on to Big Corn Island where the airport is located.  The flight was scenic but bouncy so I watched South Park “Major Boobage” which you can watch here which always cracks me up (having grown up in the Heavy Metal era of the 70’s).

When we landed, we had been told to re-check in with Costena for our flight home which I dutifully tried to do.  When I finally got someone to the desk and explained that I wanted to check in, she nonchalantly waved her hand and said be there two hours in advance.
Cindy arrives at Casa Iguana
  I asked if there was a list and she just glared at me and walked away.  I suppose worse things could happen than getting stranded on Little Corn Island…

We had to grab a taxi to the wharf where you catch the boat to Little Corn and ended up sharing a ride with two Canadian girls on the budget travel circuit.  They were going to spend a few days on Big Corn so we dropped them off and then arrived at the wharf where a scrawny old man speaking with a heavy Jamaican accent told us we had to pay an “island tax” to enter the ferry area.  Eventually I got him to understand that we wanted to buy tickets for the ferry too which we did before wandering around the fairly squalid little village and stopping in at a local market to buy a large, watertight back to put our travel stuff in (supposedly the boat crossing can be pretty rough and wet).
The Grand Casita at Casa Iguana

The little harbor had some pretty little fishing boats in it and eventually the ferry showed up (really just an uncomfortable wooden speed boat). We ended up sitting next to a German guy in his late 60’s who has apparently lived there on and off for years named Haiko.  He is a German Buddhist who owns Casa Sunrise on the northern tip of Little Corn and was interesting to talk to if a little bit morose.  Since Casa Sunrise doesn't have any plumbing or electricity, I think we will stick with Casa Iguana...

The ferry pulled into Little Corn just after dusk and we were escorted to Casa Iguana with CJ who was one of the kids working at one of the two local Scuba outfits.
The Grand Casita even has attached plumbing!
  Our bags were thrown into a wheelbarrow and we followed CJ down the walkway (no roads on Little Corn Island) eventually turning into the jungle on the center of the island.  By this time it was pitch black and wandering through the middle of the island on a dirt path seemed a little bit weird but fun.  On the way, CJ told us about the dive training options available on the island and it sounds like it is really reasonably priced so maybe I can convince Cindy to take the plunge so to speak.  Her biggest fear is having to rip off her mask underwater and clear her nose (she hates to get water in her nose and eyes for some reason…)

We arrived at the main house at Casa Iguana which serves as the kitchen and bar and met Kelly and Mark the couple currently managing the place.
The Grand Casita living room
  Mark graduated from the Culinary Institute and we have heard good things about his cooking.  If you stay at Casa Iguana (and assuming they have enough guests and locales to support it) they serve a fixed price, local dinner every night that we are looking forward to.  Apparently tonight is out as there are not enough guests but hopefully more will show up.  Kelly gave us a tour of the property and showed us our options for rooms.  Since the “Grand Casita” was only an extra $10/night and had a big sitting area, a sink and “6 minutes of solar hot water” a day, we splurged and went for the upgrade.  It has a fantastic balcony with two hammocks overlooking Pablo’s Beach below and is pretty fun and funky looking.
Grand Casita protector - the "safe and harmless" Banana Spider

There are giant Land Crabs strolling around the property, digging holes and scurrying out of your way as you walk the nicely groomed dirt paths lined with Conch shells that are pretty entertaining.  Also, we discovered the cool Banana Spider who is somewhat of a guardian angel for the Grand Casita.

We asked Kelly for a dinner recommendation and she suggested Bridgette’s for fish and lobster on the port side of the island.  We walked over there and eventually stumbled upon her house with a dining room with three or four tables in it.  Brigette is a large, friendly woman who came out to greet us with a cigarette hanging from her lips.  We asked her what was good and of course she said “Everyting!”  and suggested we try the local lobster and fresh yellowtail.  Dinner was simple but tasty and washed down with Tona’s.
Brigette's Restaurant on Little Corn Island
  Some local kids came in to eat and at one point, the door to the kitchen opened and there was the chef, her husband, who was a skinny little guy with a cigarette hanging from his lips as he prepped our food.  Too funny!

We asked her about possibly buying some local rum.  She asked for some money and said she would go ask her friend who runs the store down the path that was already closed but he was out.  Since tomorrow is Election Day here, she said she would keep the money and get him to sneak her a bottle tomorrow (apparently there is no drinking on election day in Nicaragua…).  We wandered back the dark path with our little flashlights, climbed under the mosquito net and fell asleep listening to the lull of the little waves slapping on Pablo’s Beach below.

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Larry and giant Costena Airlines B…
Larry and giant Costena Airlines …
Costena Airlines plane
Costena Airlines plane
Boats in Big Corn Island harbor
Boats in Big Corn Island harbor
The dark trail through the Jungle …
The dark trail through the Jungle…
Cindy arrives at Casa Iguana
Cindy arrives at Casa Iguana
The Grand Casita at Casa Iguana
The Grand Casita at Casa Iguana
The Grand Casita even has attached…
The Grand Casita even has attache…
The Grand Casita living room
The Grand Casita living room
Grand Casita protector - the safe…
Grand Casita protector - the "saf…
Brigettes Restaurant on Little Co…
Brigette's Restaurant on Little C…
Little Corn Island
photo by: lrecht