28th of October – 01st of November 2013
Who knows me well enough is probably aware of the fact that I am not the biggest fan of just lying on the beach and doing nothing. But after talking to a few fellow travelers and reading what the Lonely Planet had written (…clear turquoise water, white-sandy beaches fringed with coconut palms, excellent fishing and an unhurried, peaceful pace of life), the Islas de Maíz (Corn Islands) on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua just sounded too good an opportunity to miss. So I booked a flight with La Costeña from Managua to Big Corn Island and back (round trip US$ 182,22 / 138,05 €). The flight itself is already an absolute highlight since it offers breathtaking views over the two islands as well as the surrounding reefs. The planes I flew with were very small with only 12 seats. Because of the small size they fly at a much lower altitude than commercial aircrafts hence turning the flight more into a scenic flight rather than a journey to get from point A to point B – definitely worth every penny.
Once I reached Big Corn Island, I immediately headed to Little Corn Island since I had been told by several people that this is the much nicer islands of the two – I was not disappointed. Little Corn Island is tiny and you can walk from one end to the other in about 45 minutes. Since I was there in low season, there was a large variety of accommodation available for very reasonable prices – beachfront huts for just US$ 10 / 7,58 € a night.
So what to do on Little Corn Island? Pretty easy: Laying on the beach and relaxing, which is exactly what I did for the rest of my stay.
Isla de Ometepe
05th – 7th of November 2013
The first time I saw the Isla de Ometepe was on the bus from the Costa Rica & Nicaragua border to San Juan del Sur. Even from the distance with my view obstructed by trees it looked absolutely stunning. The little island, which consists of two volcanoes connected by a small land bridge, is located in the Lago Nicaragua, the biggest lake in Central America.
Dineke, Danielle and I decided that the best way to explore the island would be by scooter. So we rented two scooters for the day (US$ 25 / 18,94 € each) and drove all over the islands, which in fairness isn’t all that big. The amount of paved roads is limited to a half circle on each island connected by one road in the middle. The scooters as well as their tires were completely run down which basically had to cause some trouble along the way. Just before returning them I had a flat tire due to the fact that it had been on the scooter forever resulting in no profile at all. But all in all we had a pretty good day.
The following day we decided to do a sunset cruise (US$ 5 / 3,79 €) which was offered by the hostel we stayed at. An hour before the sunset we went down to the beach and squeezed ourselves together with nine other people into a tiny boat that would normally probably only hold half of that. The situation was a bit funny because at first it felt a lot more like a refugee boat rather than a sunset cruise. After taking us about 1 km of the coast of the Isla de Ometepe, the “captain” switched off the engine and we waited for the sun to set. The fact that pretty much everyone on the boat was from a different country lead to some hilarious conversation in the meanwhile (the sunset beers might have helped a bit as well). Once the sun finally set behind the island it created an absolutely stunning scenery with the clouds above and on top of the volcanoes lighting up bright red. Probably the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life.
Unfortunately the weather as well as my motivation didn’t play along for climbing one of the two volcanoes; I guess you can’t have it all in life, right? The Isla de Ometepe truly is a beautiful place, especially if you do a sunset cruise with the right weather conditions.