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A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Little Corn Island...
Level Contributor
128 posts
10 reviews
A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

The question has come up several times in the past couple of months asking if the unrest in many areas of the mainland is affecting the Corn Islands.

The Nicaragua mainland is experiencing a very tough time right now. Peaceful protests in some areas have been met with violent reaction by the government. One form of protests are roadblocks intended to slow down national commerce. Some cities, like Granda and San Juan del Sur are more affected than the main city of Managua, which is fully accessible (except when some of the scheduled protests occur, which blocks traffic in select areas). It is still uncertain how long this period may last for the country.

The Corn Islands, part of the autonomous region of Nicaragua, remain calm, safe, and largely unaffected by the main national situation (other than a recent large drop of tourism). There have been no protests or unrest of any kind here, and that is not expected to change. The residents, businesses, local municipality, and excellent island police departments are all together on this. They don't call us the autonomous region for nothing, and we really are a world away from the rest of the country.

Transportation to get here also remains safe and reliable, and La Costeña is still maintaining a full schedule of flights and all major airlines continue to fly in and out of Managua. For those who time their flights well, when you arrive, you simply walk from the main International terminal to La Costeña and catch your flight to Corn Island without having to leave the airport.

If your international flight gets into Managua later in the day, there are good hotels across the street, and within a short free shuttle ride from the airport.

The airport has also remained fully operational at all times (in spite of some rumors).

Some local hotels and restaurants have closed due to the reduction of business, but most remain open and are hoping to weather out the situation. If you want to experience these amazing Caribbean islands with zero crowds, now is a good time to do it, especially since hotel rates here are deeply discounted right now. Dive Shops & snorkeling businesses are still running, hammocks are still swinging, the beaches are still as beautiful as ever.. and of course the beers are still cold, and the island people are still as beautiful and welcoming as ever.

Everyone has a different risk level for possible inconvenience that they are willing to assume when traveling, and it's true that for some areas of the country it's not a good time to visit. But since we are such a remote location, we are also well removed from the conditions affecting the mainland. If you do want to come down, as many people still are with no problems, it's also not bad advice to get trip insurance, just in case.

This was posted just for your basic information. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them honestly. The truth is, as a business owner all of us here are doing everything we can to keep our businesses going so that we can keep supporting our local workers and local economy, which is hurting right now. You'll find everyone here more accommodating and appreciative of your business than ever before. If you've been here before, you know how beautiful and serene the Corn Islands are and that hasn't, and hopefully never will change.

We continue to watch the situation in the mainland and hope for an expeditious resolution that best serves the Nicaraguan people. I'll post updates here (as, of course, everyone else is welcome to do) if anything changes.

Hope to see you down here soon :-)

We'll keep a cold one ready for you, and point you to that really sweet snorkel spot when you get here. (Oh, yeah, and Lobster season is back!)

26 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
168 posts
20 reviews
1. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

I really appreciate this post. I am scheduled to come to Little Corn Island arriving August 25th with a party of four people, all very excited, for an eight-day trip. The news has made a couple in my party worried, but I have assured them everything should be fine. As a Plan B, I have put together an alternative itinerary to another destination, but I am hoping it does not come to that.

We already have our Copa and La Costena flights booked. We already have a few nights accommodation booked. (This was booked just days before the issues began, if you can believe it.) Much of the rest of our time is playable by ear, and we have padded on a few days at the end (previously planned to spend on the mainland) to account for disruption, though I have to say that I really don't anticipate any. I have also reached out to my dive shop and my hotel separately to ask their advice, and they both assure me things are pretty much normal on the islands, if only with fewer tourists.

My only concern thus far is that I read that the ferry schedule from Big Corn to Little Corn has taken a hit, and ferries are reduced to one per day for the time being. Luckily the ferry time that remains in place (4:30pm BCI to LCI) is the one we were planning on taking, so our current itinerary remains intact.

It will take quite a bit to make me reconsider my plan to visit. I know there is some criticism against business owners on this forum for promoting visitation despite the problems, but I have not yet heard of a single negative thing regarding the current touristic experience on the islands in relation to the troubles on the mainland. In short, unless there is a major change between now and then, you can expect to see all four of us in late August! :)

Level Contributor
19 posts
1 review
2. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

John, are the only flights to Big Corn from Managua? Is it possible to fly from Honduras or perhaps from San Jose, CR? Charters? Do they even have immigration/customs on Big Corn? American Airlines has cancelled some (but not all) of their flights into Managua. Concerned other major airlines might follow suit.

We cancelled our trip to Nicaragua mainland for first 2 weeks of June. Hoping to come this fall, but not going to book anything yet. Have friends (Nicas) on mainland who have told us not to come at this time.

Little Corn Island...
Level Contributor
128 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Hi Derek,

It looks like you've been doing your research and understand the situation well.

American has temporarily suspended 1 of their flight arrivals and departures, but still have the 2 others running on normal schedules. The reason for the one change is that is their last flight of the day which requires the crew to stay overnight in Managua, and they put them up at hotels downtown.. Which is reasonable to be concerned about right now.

Good note about the panga schedule! That temporary reduction is due to lower passenger traffic, and was carefully thought out to make sure all 3 flights that come into Corn Island each day can make it over to Little Corn, and that the returning panga (the 6:30 am) allows everyone to make any of the 3 departing flights each day, so you will be fine there.

I do get that some people have other legitimate points of view about coming to mainland Nicaragua right now. I don't think any of them understand how removed the Corn Islands are from the what is happening there, at least so far. In fact, some of them have been coming to the islands during this period as well. And btw, I just returned from the US back to Little Corn last week and spent a few days on Managua before coming. Luckily there were no protests going on in the city then and I never felt unsafe at any point. Of course, that situation there changes daily, and I don't downplay that it's a serious one.

Just one suggestion... I've ever purchased trip insurance before, but maybe this trip would be a good time to check it out. That way if anything like delays or cancellations might happen, you'll be covered for any costs involved. This is a website that I found that lets you compare all of the companies, and pick based on your needs: https://www.insuremytrip.com/

I promise to post updates if anything changes here, and please feel free to check in about anything leading up to your trip.

Little Corn Island...
Level Contributor
128 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Hi JRH,

Although it's been planned to make Corn Island airport go international for some time, it still only has flights coming in from Managua airport. As mentioned above, that airport has remained trouble free, and it's very easy to catch the La Costeña flight to Corn Island after arriving.

As I mentioned in my reply to Derek (I meant that for my reply to you), AA has only temporarily suspended the one inbound and one outbound flight so that their crews don't have to spend the night in downtown Managua, which is pretty far from the airport. As you said, they still have the 2 other fights daily, and all the other airlines have been maintaining normal schedules as well.

Understandable about not wanting to travel to the mainland areas right now. I agree with your friends since what's been going on in many of the outer cites has been unpredictable. Let's all hope that things there improve soon.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
168 posts
20 reviews
5. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Hey John,

How's it goin a week after this post? I'd like to bump this thread periodically to get a sense of how things are evolving on the ground.

Thanks,

Derek

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
3 posts
36 reviews
6. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Thanks to all for the contributions here, much appreciated! I'd been hoping to visit at the end of July, but our hotel has recently informed us that they are temporarily ceasing operations due to concerns about their supply chain. Very sorry to hear this, but understood 100% --- and looking forward to coming back another time!

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
3 posts
36 reviews
7. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

A couple of quick additional points to my note immediately above:

- the hotel was clear that things have been quiet on LCI, echoing many of the comments here and in other forums about areas that are / are not being directly affected by unrest

- zero info about whether the supply issues they mentioned are specific to them or broader; people on LCI are the ones who can best answer this

- finally, I wish the best for the Nicaraguan people at getting through this difficult chapter of their country's life. I fell in love with the country about 20 years ago when I visited a sibling of mine who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nica, living for 3 years in the very south of the country on the Rio San Juan. People were great across our travels, opening their homes and being gracious to visitors from afar. Sorry to miss on getting back this summer, but I am certain another trip will come together another time.

Edited: 20 June 2018, 18:38
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
168 posts
20 reviews
8. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Hi Kevin, Would you mind sharing which hotel that is? If not, I understand, but I have not yet booked most of my lodging for my upcoming trip and I'd appreciate knowing which one I can scratch off the list of possibilities. Thanks.

Nicaragua
Level Contributor
2,550 posts
63 reviews
9. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Great and true post about if travelling to the CI.

Enjoy but with precaution

Little Corn Island...
Level Contributor
128 posts
10 reviews
10. Re: A good time to visit Corn Islands? In a word, yes.

Hi Derek,

Certainly, happy to update.

As always, due to the distant location of the Corn Islands, we remain unaffected by the political unrest of the rest of the country. Speaking only for Little Corn, a couple of hotels have closed up early for the season and to wait things out, but most places remain open: Little Corn Beach and Bungalow, Yemaya, Farm Peace & Love, Ensuenos, along with all of the local owned hotels like Los Delfines, Sea View, Las Palmeras, Carlitos, Graces Cool Spot, Elsa's, 3 Brothers, etc. As well as Green House and Christina's Guesthouse. And most of them are cutting prices right now due to the lower demand, so check that out by contacting them directly.

Besides the locally sourced farm items and seafood, things that come across the country to us from the mainland are a bit more challenging to get right now, but there is always the option of flying in many of our supplies, as some of us do when there are truck/boat delays. A couple of restaurants have closed early for the season (something they usually do anyway around September), and some local restaurant menus might be short on some items, but overall everyone is adapting. Tranquilo Cafe, Brigette's, Delfines, Rosa's, The Shack, El Bosque, Yemaya restaurants are open, among others. It's a bit more expensive flying stuff in, but I haven't seen any signs of price gouging on Little Corn.

The airports in Managua and Corn Island remain 100% unaffected. Flights, both international and local (La Costeña) continue to arrive and depart normally. Airport hotels are also fine if you need to do a layover.

The islands are definitely quieter than normal, much like it was when I got here around 1999. So if you don't like crowds, now is a good time to consider coming.. Walks on the beach, catching up on a novel or two, and having the hidden coves to yourself. Peaceful is an understatement on Little Corn right now.

Dive shops and snorkeling are still in operation here, and there's still a little bit of nightlife if you're looking for it.

We madly love Nicaragua and hope that things resolve themselves on the mainland before much longer.

I'll try to post again soon, and especially if anything changes.

I hope this helps :-)

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