Eager to finally see the Caribbean coast of Central America, I splurged and purchased myself a round-trip ticket to the Corn Islands for $165, and after bidding my friends and the west coast adios, I made it to Little Corn Island via motorcycle-bus-taxi-plane-taxi-boat. On the bus, I bumped into three Australians I had seen and exchanged pleasantries with ever since El Salvador, and realizing we were all headed to the same place, we shared a taxi, played cards in the airport, and hopped on the plane together.
Landing in Big Corn Island, we caught the last boat to its sleepy baby brother, Little Corn, but the journey was not yet done. Arriving as the sun was setting, we trekked through the firefly-bedazzled jungle to the less-developed but more beautiful side of the island just in time to miss what would be the next day’s stunning vista.
Seriously in need of “me time,” but wanting to be a team-player (and stay within my budget!), I shared a bungalow with the Australian girl. It wasn’t the Ritz Carlton, with it’s holey mosquito nets, sandy concrete floors, and lackadaisical sagging porch, but it was on the sand, with an attached bathroom (!), mere meters from the water, and $12.50 a night per person. Better than the Ritz, if you ask me. That night we all went to dinner at the local lobster joint (woe is me, a vegetarian on a sandy island in the middle of the Caribbean!), admired the full moon, and crashed into our sandy beds.
The next morning I awoke to the postcard views: a palm-fringed baby powder beach cascading into aquamarine water, with a sky to match! Now this is the kind of place I could spend an extended amount of time without guilt or boredom. I whiled the first day at the beach, shamelessly working on connecting my freckles.
That evening, my friend Alex, whom I had first met in Ometepe and then later in San Juan del Sur arrived from the mainland, and our little group of new friends and one-month old acquaintances went to the village disco (an outdoor grassy area spattered with moldy plastic chairs and wooden benches, overseen by a rickety wooden shack cranking out reggae and top 40…the approach involved getting nearly attacked by foam-mouthed dogs).
The next day was much the same: morning swim, eat, hammock nap, afternoon swim, eat, etc. The best thing about this beach (to me–but probably not to environmentalists) was that it boasted a very narrow stretch of sand between the wooden lounge chairs and the water, so I was able to literally crawl from said chair to take a dip without any help! This is a major bonus for me, as I hate having to depend on someone’s charity piggyback whenever I want to go for a swim.
On Sunday, my roommate left, and forgetting my vow for “me time,” Alex and I ending up sharing a bungalow. We went snorkeling out to a reef right from our beach, and saw all kinds of beautiful wildlife (including a very docile Nurse shark). The next few days alternated between glaring sunshine and its partner sunbathing and hurricane-esque storms. I was in heaven, but alas, after eight days on the Rasta-infused island (with nothing to eat but rice, beans, eggs, and coconut bread!), I had to say goodbye to the Corn Islands and Nicaragua.
Next up: Costa Rica.