There are places on this earth that are so special and so entirely perfect in their own way that a million words could not describe them.
Corn Islands, Nicaragua is one of these places. A paradise within a paradise, a place that time forgot to change, two lovely islands that I will never forget.
We arrived by plane. The Corn Islands are in the Caribbean Sea more than 50 miles off the east coast of Nicaragua. Big Corn has the airport, one tiny building next to a bumpy strip of pavement that locals drive and walk on right up until a plane is taking off or touching down, which only happens twice a day. Big Corn is home for most of the “Islanders,” as they are called, and we stayed here for three nights before heading over to Little Corn. We lucked in to arriving just in time for game 3 of the Corn Islands “world series”. Although small enough to drive around in about an hour, Big Corn had something like 7 or 8 baseball teams, one for each major neighborhood, and we were rooting for the underdog team The Toros.
I could go on and on about perfect sandy beaches, cheap and delicious local lobster tails, friendly faces and perfectly curved palm trees swaying as the florescent Caribbean sun set, but I have about ten thousand pictures to post that can tell it better than me.
We stayed at Ike’s Place, a simple guesthouse like many others but so memorable for one reason – Ike. A host in every sense of the word, Ike made us feel welcome like family from the moment he picked us up from the airport. Our fridge was stocked with beer and there were always two hot cups of coffee waiting for us when we rose in the morning. He sipped Flor de Cana with us while we ate barbeque on the beach. The comforts of his waterside home spoiled us before we left to spend the next ten nights on rustic Little Corn Island.
We knew that Little Corn didn’t have much in the way of ammenities. No grocery stores, no ATM, no roads. Part of the island’s charm lies in it’s seclusion from the rest of world. Electricity was scarce. Some days it came on around 4 in the afternoon and shut off at 3 in the morning. Some days it never came on at all. We passed the time on the beach and in hammocks, sipping Tonas with salty expats and fellow travelers. The locals here are poor, to say the very least, but everywhere we looked people were happy. Stray dogs roamed around, picking up food and affection door to door. Children navigated the island paths, cruising to and fro through the woods to who knows where. We took turns scuba diving with sharks and rays in the warm Caribbean waters.
Sadie met a little friend when we moved into Grace’s Cool Spot guesthouse. Little Audrey was just a few months older, but much scrappier, and delighted in smushing poor Sadie’s face into the sand and pirating her toys whenever the adults were looking away. Regardless, the girls played daily, connected by a mutual love for Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies played on our Ipad.We returned to Big Corn and Ike’s Place for two more nights, appreciating electricity and refrigeration more than I ever thought possible, and ate our weight in grilled lobster. We were truly living the sweet life on these two tiny islands, in a small corner of a great big ocean, a dot on the map of this beautiful, diverse, unexplored world.