Saturday, January 1, 2011

Corn Island

Hola. I am writing from the incredibly picturesque island of Corn Island. There are actually two islands: Big Corn & Little Corn. This is a very remote part of Nicaragua. The islands are about 50 miles off the Caribbean coast of the mainland. Unless you come by plane the trip is not far the faint of heart. From the capital city of Managua you have to take an overnight bus ride of 6 hours. You take the bus to where the road literally ends. If you take the overnight bus you can arrive at the river port city of El Rama in time to take the panga (speed boat) for the two hour trip to the Caribbean city of Bluefields. From there it is merely a six hour ferry ride (usually a very rough trip across the open sea) to Big Corn Island.

The islands (and much of the coast) were part of British Honduras during the colonial era. The islands were long neglected by the government in Managua and have remained relatively isolated.

Folks speak a Creole dialect of English as the main language. Many Spanish-speakers have moved here recently as tourism has brought jobs to the local economy. The islands run on their own time.

The boats which leave the port may or may not leave on a given day. You just have to go to the port each day and ask the each boat captain. Don’t bothering asking the port office. They will tell you they don’t know.
There is a lot of good food here. You can eat fried plantains, fresh lobster, shrimp and coconut bread. My favorite dish is lobster in coconut milk.

The landscape is incredible. The water is a crystal clear turquoise. Palm trees line the pristine beaches. My personal favorite story is when I wanted a coconut dish and the cook said “Ok, just give me a minute to get a coconut off the tree.”

If you come here, come with time. Nothing happens quickly. But, who cares you are on a mostly unknown Caribbean island. Life is good.