When my husband and I were planning some of our travels for the Summer, we both knew we needed a tropical getaway. We wanted to get away from real life, totally relax, and just shut off. We also wanted to do all of that in a place neither of us had been to before. Long story short, after a ton of research and totally reasonable flights, we settled on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.
Before we started our research about where to go, I had never heard of this tiny island off the coast of Nicaragua. But the more I read, the more I realized that it’s a hidden gem that’s really not going to stay hidden much longer. More and more tourists are taking the long journey there, trusted travel magazines are calling out it’s beauty, and Nicaragua in general is quickly becoming a go-to spot for young travelers in search of both laid-back vibes and exciting adventure (you can actually surf down an active volcano!).
The days we spent on Little Corn Island were just what we needed to totally recharge. While any tropical getaway usually does the trick (there’s really nothing a few piña coladas and sunshine can’t fix), LCI forces you to shut off in a way other places don’t (the population is about 500). WiFi is really spotty (the horror, I know, but after a day, you honestly won’t even miss it), we only saw one TV on the entire island in a bar in town (ONE!), there are no cars on the island at all (just one walking path to get into town), and while there are a ton of water activities you can do, the main thing is to just . . . be.
Where to Stay
Since this was the first proper vacation for us in a little while, we decided to treat ourselves and stay at the luxury resort on the island (we deserve it!), Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa. But don’t let the word “luxury” fool you, because Yemaya is not an out-of-control-expensive place. Anyone can stay here and it won’t severely break the bank (standard rate is about $335/night, and breakfast is included). If you’re in the mood for a hostel/B&B type of place, we heard great things about Three Brothers Guesthouse ($20/night, right in town) and Little Corn Island Beach & Bungalow ($179/night during the high season).
The best thing about Yemaya is its size. It’s small, so even if the resort is full, the staff goes out of their way to make you feel like you’re their only guest (the manager, Marco, is the BEST). When we got off the boat after arriving on the island, the managers were waiting in the sand to greet us with fresh watermelon juice and warm towels. And in addition to the oceanfront suites (you literally open your door and the ocean is right there), the showers are also half-inside/half-outside, the beach has perfectly placed hammocks, and the beach bar has swings for you to sit in while you sip ridiculously delicious cocktails and smoothies. They also offer snorkeling trips, sunset cruises, yoga, and chocolate-making classes (the Nicaraguan chocolate is next-level).
What to Eat
If you stay at Yemaya, you don’t need to go anywhere else for food. It’s amazing. Breakfast includes dishes like an omelet with chili sauce and island cheese, poached eggs with rustic flatbread, grilled coconut bread with butter and mango preserves, muesli with dried mango leaves and homemade granola, and the BEST coconut french toast I have ever had (I was so sad when I took the last bite). For lunch, you can munch on freshly grilled fish tacos, coconut cheese quesadillas, shrimp tostadas, fried conch, and veggies fries. And the dinner menu changes every day, depending on what’s fresh from their garden and what fish they just caught from the sea. Our dinners included sweet potato soup, fried whole fish, roasted eggplant, and grilled beef with artichokes.
Breakfast was my favorite — SO good!
Their veggie fries, which are sweet potato fries, are very different, but I could have easily eaten two orders by myself. I’m not sure, but I think they’re fried in coconut oil, and aren’t completely coated, so they’re basically healthy, right?
And their desserts didn’t make us feel guilty at all. They were pretty small portions, and everything was so light and fresh that you didn’t feel weighed down immediately after. And even though it’s technically not dessert, we had so many smoothies. I loved the Island Time, which is passion fruit, pineapple, papaya, honey, and lime. And Ultan loved the Workout Reward (it basically tastes like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in liquid form), which is banana, raw cacao, peanut butter, almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.
What to Do
Like I said, if you’re looking for an action-packed vacation where you’re constantly sightseeing and on the go, this definitely isn’t the spot for you. But if you want to soak up the sun, swim in crystal clear Caribbean waters, sip on cocktails on the beach, and wander into town whenever you feel like it, then you need to go here ASAP. In addition to the typical water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and kayaking, you can also track down the dipped palm tree next to an abandoned ship (see very top photo of this post), and the swing hanging from a palm tree (if you stay at Yemaya, both of these things are about a 5-minute walk down the beach in opposite directions).
You can walk the single path to get into town, which takes about 30 minutes, and stop and marvel at the massive baseball field the locals like to play on most days. Once in town, you can discover new beaches and grab a Toña beer at one of the waterside restaurants. (Note: if you walk into town at night, you have to bring a flashlight!).
And on your way back, you can grab some fresh mangos from the trees next to the path before you lay on the beach and take in some truly epic sunsets.
Have I convinced you yet? 🙂
*The only thing I’ll note: there are stray dogs all over the island. While most are sweet and totally harmless, one aggressively lunged at me for no reason when I walked past him, so just be aware. A vet visits the island once a year for shots and spaying, but it can still be a little scary.