The Corn Islands are two Caribbean islands forming an archipelago roughly 70 km (43 miles) east of the Nicaraguan mainland.
Throughout most of the 20th century, the economy of the islands was based on coconut production, and commercial-scale lobster and shrimp fishing commenced in the 1960s. Today, the tourism sector has become very important.
The largest of the two islands is known as Big Corn Island or Great Corn Island and is roughly 10 sq km (3.9 sq mi) in size. The smaller of the two islands is consequently named Little Corn Island and covers an area of 2.9 sq km (1.1 sq mi). Big Corn Island is where a majority of the population lives, and also where you find the only airport.
The Corn Islands are surrounded by great dive spots, and scuba diving schools and trip organizers are available. Examples of animals that frequent these waters are green sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, barracudas, and hammerhead sharks.
For historical reasons, the official and majority language on the Corn Islands is Caribbean Creole English and not the Central American Spanish that dominates in most of Nicaragua. It should be noted though, that in the 21st-century migration from the mainland has made Spanish more widely spoken on the islands.
Coordinates: 12°10′N 83°02′W
Region: The South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua.
A lot of the people who visit the Corn Islands come for scuba diving. A healthy reef filled with interesting dive spots is located near the islands, offering world-class diving opportunities. Many of the dive spots are no deeper down than 15 meters (50 ft) and accessible even for novice scuba divers. There are several dive schools and dive shops available where you can purchase a scuba diving course or dive package. Here are some examples:
At 113 metres (370 ft) above sea level, the highest point in the Corn Islands is the peak of Mount Pleasant Hill on the northern side of Big Corn Island.
On Little Corn Island, the highest point is Lookout Point, which is 38 metres (125 ft) above sea level.
The Corn Islands have a tropical climate and are strongly impacted by the trade winds. The driest part of the year is February to April, but the trade winds normally bring at least some rain even during this part of the year. The months June – December all have, on average, more than 20 rainy days each. This doesn´t mean that it rains non-stop around the clock though; there are usually a lot of sunny hours as well on a rainy day.
The official hurricane season for the Caribbean Sea is from 1 June to 30 November. For the Corn Islands, it is very unusual to get a hurricane before mid-August.
The airport on Big Corn has connecting flights with Bluefields and Managua. For more information, contact La Costeña airlines.
If time and comfort are not much of an issue, it is possible to travel by slow cargo ship from mainland Nicaragua to Big Corn Island two or three times per week. Most people prefer to catch the ferry from Bluefields instead (or fly in). The ferry goes once a week and takes around five hours one way.
Fast boats called pangas go from Big Corn to Little Corn three or four times per day. They are susceptible to the weather and will be cancelled if the sea is too rough. Even in good conditions, it is common for passengers to get rather wet from the sea spray.