You have to really want to get to Little Corn Island, off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.
First, you take a flight to Big Corn Island from Managua, via La Costeña airlines.
Yes, there is a Big Corn and Little Corn island. The Little Corn locals refer to Big Corn as the “big island,” although it’s only 10 square kilometers. Little Corn is tiny – a mere three square kilometers of wild foliage, palm trees and sand, all fringed by a fantastic coral reef. You can walk the entire island is an hour. To arrive, you take a boat from Big Corn after flying there. The boats are pangas that skim across the 15 kilometers of open sea that separate the two islands, in about 40 minutes.
Once on Little Corn Island, you can stay at the southern end of the island where most of the restaurants, bars and guest houses are located – the “happening” side of the island.
Or you can decide, like I did, that if you’re going to go to so much trouble to go to a hard-to-get-to, rustic, tiny little island then you should get away from it all as much as is humanly possible. After all, isn’t a place like this meant to get away from the masses, however insubstantial those masses might be?
If you said yes, then Farm Peace & Love is for you. Located at the quiet northern end of Little Corn Island, where there are only a handful of other places to stay (that are all scattered away from each other with nice space in between), Farm Peace & Love is run by Italian transplant Paola and her husband Bing, who is from the island. This laid-back organic farm has been their home for 15 years, a few acres of beautiful flowers and foliage, coconut trees, vegetables and tropical fruits. It sits right on a bay of white sand, and you can sit all day with only a handful of people ever passing by.
Farm Peace & Love is a hotel or bungalow alternative, offering just two guest accommodations. The first is a private guest suite in the east wing of the main house, where Paola and Bing live. The second, where I stayed, is the separate self-sufficient private cottage at the back of the property. It’s secluded, built on stilts. Both accommodations offer private baths, cooking kitchens and breezy patios with a hammock for relaxing.
Here, you can do as much or as little as you want. The atmosphere is relaxed and unhurried. Decide hour by hour whether you want to sit on the beach and read, snorkle, go fishing, wander down the little-touched shoreline where your footprints might be the only ones, or ride on horseback to even more remote spots of Corn Island.
Paola makes some delicious three-course authentic Italian meals for you, if you let her know in the morning that you’d like dinner. A couple of nearby places are also close options for eating: Esueno’s and Derek’s Place also offer meals, and you need to wander over in advance to arrange with them as well. Derek’s has a new little dive shop as well, very convenient if you wish to get in some scuba diving.
The main town is only a half-hour walk through the island paths – which can be muddy, especially during the rainy season, and very dark at night. Bring a flashlight.
The accommodations are simple and comfortable, quiet and private, and the clear blue sea is worth getting there. Nearby offshore coral reefs offer a wealth of snorkeling and scuba adventures; I saw nurse sharks, eagle rays and dozens of colorful tropical fish.
On my visit I met Shirley and Gary, a retired couple from British Columbia who have been coming here for twelve years. They spend three months snowbirding from the Canada winter, snorkeling and fishing, cooking most of their own meals in the kitchen of their Farm Peace & Love cottage, and occasionally trekking over to the “big town” side of the island. But really, once you’re here you get rather lazy about that – in a very good way – and rather happy to be away from civilization.
In fact, Paola says that is how she ended up on LIttle Corn Island in the first place.
I grew very tired of civilization,” she told me. “In fact, I hated it.” She traveled from Italy to various parts of South and Central America; a Venezuelan friend told her about Little Corn Island and she had found home.
If you really want to get away from it all, Farm Peace & Love on the north side of Little Corn Island is the place to be.
- Try to take the morning flight to Big Corn Island, to arrive at Farm Peace & Love before dark. You can ask your panga boat driver to drop you off at the north end, or Bing can come around to the ferry landing to pick you up. If you arrive after dark, as I did, you’ll have to make the 45-minute overland trek, which is not very fun in the dark, along muddy paths with your stuff.
- Definitely bring a flashlight, sunscreen and insect repellent.
- This is a side of Nicaragua that is rarely seen; unlike the Spanish and indigenous people of the mainland, the Corn Islands have more of an African, Creole influence.
- Nicaraguan cordobas as well as U.S. dollars are accepted.
- You have a mini-fridge, so that beer, wine and of course Flor de Cana rum will be well put to use.
- There are several dogs, as well as horses and goats at Farm Peace & Love, so if you have a problem with animals it might not be the best place for you.