A bit more than 40 miles off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is Big Corn Island. With her sister, Little Corn Island, they make up the las Islas del Maíz. Formerly a British protectorate for over 200 years (1655-1860), the Corn Islands and the eastern half of Nicaragua was called the Mosquito Coast. This area was annexed by the government of Nicaragua in 1894. In consideration of the formerly British subjects, the official name here is in Ingles, Corn Island.
The Corn Island beaches were frequented by Caribbean pirates.
Fancy has not been introduced to this lovely beach place yet. So enjoy it or at least consider a short beach vacation while you can avoid mass tourism with its subsequent hordes. The beaches on Big Corn Island are out of this world. The diving and snorkeling is memorable for your cheap beach holiday. When you get out of the water, there will be options for where to have that cold beer. A good number of people visiting the area, go right over to Little Corn. In a few ways, the remote Grand Anse beach is comparable.
Where is Big Corn Island? 12°17′N 82°59′W
Tourism is going to come. For now at least, lobster and shrimp dominate the economy. Lobster is on the menu, everywhere. It will be delicious and cheap. The abundant conch is a nice little bonus. Get some seafood tacos on the beach for a dirt cheap meal. While here, keep your head in the game, please. Don’t eat lobster tails under 5 inches or 5 ounces.
Picnic Beach on Corn Island is a nice fine sandy beach with soft lapping waves. During the day this beach spot is great. However, after dark there are flies. They are nuisance when after it rains. There are also a number of really cool remote beaches on the way out to the South End.
History of the Corn Islands
On the 27th of August, 1841, slavery ended. That’s the most important day in the history of the region. Colonel Alexander McDonald pulled into Southwest Bay Harbor with a warship, gathered the plantation owners and proclaimed all slaves were now free men per Queen Victoria and the Miskito King.
The newly freed men and women partied that day by making a huge soup of crabs, plantains, breadfruit and yams. The celebration lasted for a couple days. Big Corn Island celebrates two full days earlier than Little Corn Island, because the party started and nobody thought to let their friends on the other island know! Crab Soup festival honors this event each year.
Once slavery ended, the local economy shifted from cotton to coconuts. It was a lot easier and supplied the islanders with a decent income.
Big Corn Island Beaches and the US
Jump ahead 70 years, and the island were leased to the US Government for 99 years in 1914. With the lease, the Corn Islands were subject to the US. Nothing was ever done with the islands by Uncle Sam. The Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle, unilaterally terminated the lease in 1971.
The climate is classified as a tropical rainforest climate.
Because development of this beach area has been ignored historically, the scuba diving is great. The reefs have not been destroyed (knock wood). “Barracudas, nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks, green sea turtles, and spotted eagle rays are some of the marine life that can be seen around the islands.”
My pal, Jonny Hey, generously provided these images and some of the insight into this location. Thank you Jonny once again for your help.
Hard to get to, but worth the effort.
Je ne sais quoi