(puedes leer esta entrada en español aquí)
once a year go some place you’ve never been before – Dalai Lama XIV
(yeah, I’m not really sure It’s his quote, but I’m gonna use it)
Before planing for the next trip I’m about to tell you about, I wanted to go to New York or Boston; but my sister said “why don’t you go somewhere you haven’t been yet?” So I started thinking where?
The thing with travel, just like many people have said in the past couple of days, is that once you get the bug, It never leaves your body, it becomes a necessary thing, and you start working towards that goal: going away for a couple of days to somewhere you haven’t been, or to a special place you need (not want, because it’s not about wanting, the feeling you have is a need to get to) to go; to experience new things, to meet new people. Having said that, here’s my story of how I got to a little place that’s dreamy and it’s like a little piece of paradise, that’s so freaking near my country, it’s crazy I haven’t been to.
While I’m writting this, I’m still not sure If I’m gonna say where exactly did I stay; because It’s one of those times, you want this place all by yourself and like we were talking during this trip with the other roomies, people have the Midas touch, only backwards, every single beautiful beach near Bali, (the DiCaprio beach for example) is now ruined, and filled with trash, and that’s because of travelers. So if you go, I beg of you, look after your trash, do the most for the environment.
I decided to go to Nicaragua, to a little Island called Little Corn Island (yep) in the Atlantic coast of the country. Getting there is easy, but you have to be ready to stand in line, wait and wait some more. I got a local flight from Managua to Corn Island (that’s the big Island) for $200 USD, you can buy it at La Costeña’s website, and for an extra 20 Cordovas (that’s the local currency, which at the time for my trip was 30 cordovas for $1) they take you to the docks where you wait for a panga (a big boat for 30 people max + bags). Half an hour before the departure you’ll have to be ready to buy your tickets, otherwise you’ll be stranded on the main island until the next day.
The trip from the main island (Big corn island) to little corn island is about 30 mins, give or take… It depends on the sea actually… But when you get there… oh boy, it’s amazing. To the place I was staying you could get by boat, or you could go by foot, and it’s a 30 mins walking thru the forest, so just keep in mind the weight of your luggage. At first I was gonna walk, but after the 30 min trip from the other island to this one (I was sited right on the ledge of the seat because we didn’t fit right) I was sore, so I choose to go by boat ($8 per person)
Getting to that dreamy part of the island is like 8 mins max. I got there and I shared the water taxi with two other girls who where from Toronto but had been like 2 weeks roaming around Managua, León and Granada. We got to the compound, and Philippe, who was running the place while the owners were away, showed us around where the bathrooms, shower, kitchen and the rooms (mine was the attic of one of the houses) where.
After a quick swim and sunset watch, It was dinner time. That same day I got to meet other 3 guest who where staying there for a couple of days: Alex, Manu and Ariel. They told me about their trips in Nicaragua, where were they from and how many days they where staying, great group of fellows, funny as hell and great to talk to.
So day 2, me and the Canadian girls, Lindsay and Christina, choose to go snorkeling in the morning for 1 hour. The guys that have the water taxi charged us $15 per person for the 3 places tour and we got there with Wolfgang, who is one of the guys helping the owners run the compound. When we got underwater, oh god. I don’t remember having an experience so amazing, besides the fact that I had an underwater camera with me so I could record anything I saw. After the first spot, watching a manta ray, tons of “Dory” fish and a lot of coral, we got to the second spot where I got seasick because the waves were hitting hard; the third spot was more calmly. We saw a nurse shark and then it was time to get back.
The girls and I where supposed to go to the town to eat some Rondón but some of the other guest bought some fish some guys reach to sell so most of them stayed at the compound, but for Christina, Lindsay and me it was time to hit the road and go through the forest to have lunch in the town and make reservations for dinner to try the rondón. We say goodbye to some of the other guest who were leaving that day and took the 30 minute walk under the midday sun to get to town and have lunch. Beware… If you ever get to this part of the island and want to walk to town, wear some snickers, don’t go in flip flops like I did… bad idea… Got to town, ate a burger ($8) and a beer ($2) at Tranquilo’s because they where out of ceviche (fun fact 1- If you’re low on cash you can take out money at their place, they’ll charge you 10% but you’ll get cash, and 2- there’s not that many places in that island that sell ceviche, and if you find a place, it’s not that cheap). The walk back wasn’t as fun as I imagined because of the flip flops, but it was ok. If I’d gotten by foot on the day that I arrived I wouldn’t have made it… I would have hated my self all the way…
At night we went again, this time wearing sneakers, and got right on time for the last minutes of the happy hour (4pm-7pm) at the Beach bar, right on the shores of the town and enjoyed some $3 drinks and $1 rum shots; then we walked to a place called El Bosque to have Rondón ($38 for 4 plates + a bottle of water and a coke) and then back to the beach bar for some live music and more $1 rum shots and then, when everything dies there (12am) we moved to the local reggae bar which is just 5 mins walking from there and it has pool tables and in the lower area, a dance floor and a drinks area.
After walking back to the compound at 2 am (only recommended if you are kinda sober and remember the way from earlier walks) and if you have a flashlight with you, you can stop and look up to see all the stars you don’t normally get to see when you live in any city. There are some other places you can go and search for food; right next to a hotel called Yemaya there’s a little cafe where you can get some beers and something to eat; also you can try and walk the island by beachside; go and see the sunset in a place called the Lighthouse, go (night) diving with the guys at Dolphin Dive, some of the guys said that there was a little farm that sells organic vegetables you can buy or you can just chill reading a book or meditating while listening to the beach.
So last day in the compound I woke 5 am for a last swim, our boat was leaving at 5:30 am to get to the other side of the island at 5:45 and stand in line until 6am when they started selling the tickets. So, the whole hut where I was staying where leaving on the same day; we got 5:50 for the tickets ($5 each) and almost didn’t make it, one of my hut-mates was the last one on the 6:30 am panga; which connects to the first flight from the main island to Managua (8:15 am).
It was an amazing trip, I met great people, got amazing experiences, saw the stars you normally don’t get to see, and the best of all, being a millennial who is always online, sharing, reading, uploading and texting, was the chance to step away from a screen, leave work behind, the need for sharing where I was, when, what was I doing, with who, how was I, just ended the second day… Of course, when I got to town and got signal of course I was texting and uploading pics, but I was relaxing being able not to do so. Being unplugged with no wifi, no signal, not even a easy way of charging the phone, sometimes might just be heaven.
So if you have a chance… take the chance, go to Little Corn, the people are nice, the town is quiet, except at night where there’s party and live music, just be nice and take care of the environment.
Tips: take sunscreen A LOT of it, solar powerbank, a book or two, snorkel equipment -or you can rent it there, but’s not the most sanitary thing to do-, waterproof camera; flipflops and sneakers, bug spray, if you are into photographs try to take a bendy tripod to shoot some timelapses or taking some night/starry pictures; take cash, lots of! The fact that you are in Nicaragua doesn’t mean it’s really cheap, it’s not that cheap.