These Underrated Caribbean Islands Are A Great Spot For A Laidback Tropical Vacation

Life can be stressful, and with the winter woes coming shortly, one escape might just be visiting some idyllic islands. So, if life has been getting you down? It's time to start planning your next getaway. When you want somewhere serene and unspoiled, it seems like the options are getting slimmer by the minute thanks to the large influx of travelers in a post-pandemic world. Where on earth is left that the masses haven't caught onto? It turns out, Nicaragua has one of the world's finest slices of paradise.

The Corn Islands are two small islands located approximately 50 miles off of Nicaragua's east coast. Appropriately named Big Corn and Little Corn, the bigger of the islands is less touristy, and most travelers head straight to Little Corn. Little Corn is less than two square miles in total size, so to call this place a hidden gem is no exaggeration. It's the perfect spot to hit if you're looking to kick back and relax. If you're interested in planning a trip here, there are a few things you'll need to know before heading your way to this Central American oasis.

Big Corn vs. Little Corn

Now that you're in on the secret of this Nicaraguan idyll, you'll want to know which island to visit. As mentioned, there's Big Corn and Little Corn. Little Corn draws the majority of tourists, but it's possible to visit both.

Big Corn is overall less of a tourist jaunt, and while the island isn't necessarily big in the grand scheme of things (in total, it's approximately four square miles), it's big enough that getting around via cab, golf cart, or the island's designated mini bus makes navigating much easier. One of the most popular activities is scuba diving. Corn Island Dive Center is a trusted place for your underwater activities. If you've ever wanted to get PADI-certified, this locale has you covered.

Little Corn, on the other hand, is the main draw. The best thing to do on this little island is, well, absolutely nothing at all. Little Corn is all about relaxation. So much so, that there aren't even vehicles allowed on the island. The only ways to get around Little Corn are to either walk or ride a bicycle. If you do find yourself wanting something a little more adrenaline-pumping, take that PADI certification you acquired in Big Corn and put it to use by diving along side hammerhead sharks in Tarpon Channel. If that sounds too intense, Little Corn Island Yoga Retreat is a great place to amplify the calm.

When to go and how to get there

Getting to the Corn Islands might be the only stressful thing about a vacation there. While Nicaragua is geographically close to the U.S., the time and effort it takes to travel here might feel like you're going to the other end of the world. First, you'll need to fly to Nicaragua. Nicaragua's capital is Managua (which happens to be a great place for surfing), and the majority of travelers fly into Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport (MGA). From there, you have two options. The longer and more scenic route is to take a bus from Managua to Bluefields, which is a cool seven hour ride. From there, you can take a ferry to Big Corn Island. The ride takes about six hours, and the schedule is infrequent, typically only running twice a week.

The easier, quicker way to get there is to fly. La Costeña is the designated airline that flies to Big Corn, with flights departing from Managua.

It's difficult to paint any time of the year as a bad time to visit the Corn Islands since it all depends on what kind of vacation you're looking for. However, there is one month that is best to avoid the islands due to torrential rains. October is the wettest month in the Corn Islands, and while June to October is technically rainy season, October is consistently the worst month to visit weather-wise. November to May is dry season, but November can be fickle when it comes to sunshine.