What exactly is a "tropical island disclaimer" as noted on your home page?
We don't want anyone to be caught by surprise when they reach our little island and LCBB. We are NOT an air conditioned, 5 star (4, 3 or even 2 star) resort or restaurant with all of the comforts of home and your favorite local eatery. This is a remote tropical island that sometimes goes without power for up to 3 weeks (we do have a generator, actually we currently have 4, our primary large diesel is in Managua getting rebuilt, our secondary diesel backup has blown a head gasket twice, we are flying gaskets in from the US and we are now down to our 3rd back ups, two smaller gasoline generators).
We implore anyone considering travelling to LCI to become totally familiar with the magical yet potentially frustrating nature of traveling to a remote tropical island where the above factors and many more could potentially alter you original dream of seeing this beautiful little island. For example, LCI has no regular power, no mail service, no reliable phone service, no reliable internet, everything is brought to the island which incurs large costs for any business here and means you will pay more for anything that you purchase compared to the mainland. A good example is a simple floor fan, the exact same fan you can purchase in the U.S. for $25US is sold in Managua for $60US, that price does not include tax (15%) the cost of getting it purchased, put on a truck to Rama (a river port), put on an ocean going freighter which 4 days later brings it to LCI (if you are lucky), taking it across the island in a wheelbarrow. Worst part? Six months later the sea air will have ruined the fan and the process starts again. Please be aware that these costs and challenges happen with everything.
Please realize also that when we confirm your reservation, we reserve that space for YOU! When others try to reserve your room we say no because we promised to keep that cabin available for your use. So, if something happens that prevents you from arriving on your scheduled date, or causes you to want to leave early you will be responsible for that cabin for the dates that we reserved it for you and turned down all other requests. Please be sure to read our cancel/refund policies and we strongly urge you to get "travel insurance" so you are protected financially from any unexpected events.
We urge you to read our “things to bring”. Examples of must haves (although not a complete list, please check out the list on our faqs page) are: flashlight, bug spray, battery operated alarm clock (we have no wake up service), sunblock and a raincoat. Another BIG must have is trip insurance. Inexpensive to procure, it makes any of travels little problems the insurance companies cost and not the travelers.
Ok, so you have warned us about the OPEN panga ride that can be a bit rough/wet! Do you have any advice on how we might make the ride as comfortable as possible?
Well . . . while there is no fool proof plan, we can share with you what we do when we take the panga.
When you go from Big Corn Island (BCI) to Little Corn Island (LCI) you will mostly be traveling East. This usually takes you directly into the wind and the waves. If you want to stay the driest, ride in the middle near the bow (front) of the boat. But be aware, the front is the roughest ride (sometimes "rough" is an understatement). If you want to have the smoothest ride, ride in the stern (back) of the boat. But be aware, this is the wettest (and we mean "wet") place to be.
When we ride the panga from BCI to LCI we usually try to arrive early to the dock and select a seat either farther toward the bow (yet mid boat if we are more concerned about "dry") or a little closer to the stern (yet still mid boat if we are more concerned about a less rough ride). Remember, the captain of the panga has to take in to account ALL of the factors involved of driving the panga into the waves which means that sometimes the people in the bow get a huge bump and sometimes the people in the stern get very wet. Be safe and cover your bags with plastic bags and put important papers and devices in a zip lock bag. If this is not something that you think you can handle, you may want to consider changing your itinerary to not include LCI.
Some of my best travel experiences have been at locales such as Paradise Island Bahamas and Cancun Mexico. Given that I really enjoy that type of travel destinations do you think I will like Little Corn Island?
It is hard to say. Maybe, maybe not. Little Corn Island is the antithesis of highly built up, very convenient vacations destinations. If you are looking to experience something totally different and are bringing along a patient attitude, you might find the difference refreshing. If you are coming expecting to have yet another experience at least similar to the above mentioned places you will probably not be happy about this vacation choice. Be sure to read our whole FAQs page and do some research on the internet to help you decide of the Corn Islands (especially Little Corn) experience is for you and your family.
Did I read somewhere that Little Corn Island, Big Corn Island and Little Corn Beach and Bungalow were in the New York Times #1 best seller, 1000 Places To See Before You Die?
The new edition of "1000 Places To See Before You Die" made 200 changes from the last edition. One of the new additions was Nicaragua in general but also Little Corn Island and Big Corn Island. We are excited to have our own little paradise included. The popular travel book also reccommends Arenas Beach Hotel on Big Corn as "the" place to stay there and our own Little Corn Beach and Bungalow (LCB&B) as "the" place to stay on Little Corn Island.
"I like to eat healthy, what kind of options do you have at the Turned Turtle Restaurant?"
We seem to have a few people that have made comments that our food is not very healthy. We are not sure where they get this impression. None of our food (accept fries, onion rings and our fresh corn chips) are fried, all of our food is grilled. Breakfast options include fruit, pancakes and eggs served a number of ways. We offer fruit smoothies all day long. Lunch offers a choice of salad if fries are not your style and our menu inlcudes fish tacos made with fresh snapper, cashew pesto and grilled sandwiches. At dinner we offer grass fed filet mignon (250 cal., 52 g of protien and only 2 g of saturated fat), fresh snapper (110 cal., 1.5 g of fat, 23 g protien), chicken breast (144 cal., 22 g protien, 5 g fat), fresh shrimp and lobster and all of these choices are grilled, not fried. Almost all the food we serve is non processed food. We serve vegetables with every dinner (fresh broccoli, spinach, etc.) along with a salad or soup (gespacho or chilled coconut cucumber) and regularly feature an arugula hummus starter. Our parmesan crusting is mostly parmesan cheese and seasonings. We add only enough salt to flavor the food, we leave adding more to our guests taste. And of course you can feel free to skip the dessert that is included with every meal if you care to. We do make our delicious sauces with real butter though and you can certainly order that on the side if you wish.
We serve up what we think is a pretty dynamic menu, made with great care and prepared amazingly healthy and we hope very tasty all at once. You can see our menu on the Turned Turtle Restaurant page here on our site.
"Free Wi Fi", what exactly do you mean by that?
We do offer free wi fi and as far as we know we are the only hotel on LCI that offers in cabin availability. Due to the fact that we are on the remote eastern shore of LCI, the only viable alternative for internet service is via satellite. Most guest do not realize that this service is only available at a very high cost that none the less offers relatively slow and unreliable service (by typical north american standards). Bandwidth availability is also extremely limited.
Because of these factors it is necessary to manage our internet much more actively than most folks are used to. We have limited hours of availability (typically from around 12 noon to 9 pm), periods of no service at all (the service was down for over 3 months recently) and we ask our guests help in preserving the available bandwidth. Over use of our allotted bandwidth can mean a suspension of service for up to 48 hours (no available internet at all). Since we promised all available internet to you our guest we ask for your cooperation in not streaming movies or downloading huge files and not to share your password or computer while you are on the internet with non-hotel guests (those that do will have a substantial fee added to their bill). We know this is not what most people are used to when it comes to internet in the 21st century (the good news though is that you are on a tropical island that feels like the Caribbean 50 years ago) and for help and understanding we appreciate your patience.
We expecially want you to be aware that there may be times (we have gone up to 3 months without internet) that there will be no internet available.
Did I read somewhere that the Turned Turtle Restaurant actually charges for a glass of water? What is up with that?
Village water from the tap is free. Little Corn beach and Bungalow has created a unique program to the island which we call our "Purified Water Refill Program". Available to any island visitor or resident our program saves the visitor cash and the island some bothersome trash by attempting to encourage people to keep their water bottle and refill it with our purified water for a charge less than buying a new bottle. If you would like a glass of purified water we serve 16 ounces at a nominal charge (currently 25 cents). The alternative at other places on the island is to buy a small plastic bottle of purified water for $1, you spend more and leave behind more plastic trash when this happens. The proceeds from our program go to fund our island projects like our free spay and nueter clinics, beach cleanup programs, recycling and trash removal, reading house construction, etc..
Ok, so I have seen a couple comments on the internet about "tipping" at LCBB. What is all that about and what about tipping in general in Nicaragua?
Wow, who could have known how volatile a topic this is for some of our guests. At LCBB we make a point to let every guest know that tipping is TOTALLY VOLUNTARY at our resort! It is not added in to your bill in any way. But . . . should our guest decide that they would like to tip our hard working all Nicaraguan staff we respectfully ask that they do so at the end of their stay and leave their tip with the managers or owners. We also inform them that 100% of that tip is distributed to ALL of our employees (night watchman, maids, cooks, waiters, gardeners, laundry gals etc., etc). After over three years of running a reasonably functional resort on a small tropical island in a third world country we have come to the conclussion that tipping our staff individually cause so many behind the scenes problems, jealousy, laziness, inappropriate comments, lying to guests, theft (on this one, if we don't know how they got that "tip", shoes, money, whatever, they can say "they gave it to me" when they may have actually stolen something) destruction of the "team work" mentality that this practice is actually desctructive to our employees ability to maintain their job. Some have become so motivated to capture a "personal" tip that they have actually put themselves in physical jeapordy and/or caused the remaining staff to recieve nothing while they were personally handsomely enriched.
We pay excellent wages, provide a good work environment and good benefits to our employees. What we do is use the tips you leave as an awareness tool for each and every one of our employees. They all receive a nearly equal portion, but some receive a bit more and others a bit less based on their "level of customer service" in the previous pay period. "Customer service" entails many things, team work, on time arrival for work, smiling at customers, greeting customers, fulfilling their positions duties, working well with others, etc.. They are told why they recieved the share that they did and how they can increase their share in future pay periods.
It is easy to apply the standards of tipping and compensation that we all understand from where we are from (we certainly did for a while). But there is no substitute for experience when it comes to finding the best solution for this dillema on our little island.
If you stay with us, we humbly ask that you accept our recommendation so that the tip you leave behind goes to creating a better life for our employees as you intended as opposed to the potential chaos you may leave behind as we are sure you did not intend.
Most businesses in Nicaragua add a "propina voluntaria" (voluntary tip). It is added in to your bill and you have the option to "opt out". This is usually 10 to 15%. We do not add any tip, tipping at LCBB is totally voluntary.
Is LCBB ever closed during the year?
We do close for the month of October as it is very rainy on the island typically at that time.
What should I bring to Little Corn Island?
Things to bring :
•Bug spray (you will be visiting a tropical island, staying at a resort on the beach that is surrounded by jungle, there ARE bugs, we do all we can to mitigate them but they are innumerable and persistent)
What can you tell me about the weather?
First and foremost, weather is hard to predict especially here on the Corn Islands.
But generally speaking, Oct. - Nov. is the rainiest part of the year, in Oct. especially you can go for a couple days with constant rain. Dec. to Feb. you see generally improving weather. The further from Oct. - Nov. the better the weather gets. Mar. to June or so are typically dry and mild. June to Aug. is a slightly wetter time where a drenching 20 minute rain shower followed by blue skies is not uncommon. During this time you might also see towering thunderstorms. Sept. is Little Corn Islands secret month (typically), beautiful weather and the island to your self makes it (in our opinion) the best month to be here. LCB&B is closed from late Sept. thru the month of Oct.
To the best of our knowledge, there are no weather stations on the Corn Islands. So when you look at internet weather sites, you are probably looking at weather predicitions for Bluefields which is on the coast and has dramatically different weather patterns than the islands that are 50 miles away and in the middle of the sea.
How do I arrange for one of your staff to meet us at the LCI dock?
If you take one of the regularly scheduled panga's (typically departing BCI at 10:00am and 4:30pm each day) and have let us know which panga you will be arriving upon, you will be met by one of our staff holding an "LCBB" sign with a member of your parties name upon it.
However, if you have not let us know when you are arriving, or if you take a non commercial, not regularly scheduled panga we will not know when or where you will be arriving and will be unable to meet you. In that event, there will be "chamba" (piece labor) people at the dock that you can negotiate a price with to bring you to our place (for 2 people, about $5 is a fair price).
Wow, I read somewhere that your check out time is 9:30am. Why so early!?
We agree, it does seem a bit early. But here is our dilema. We want the people checking out to have the maximum time in their cabin before they leave. But, if you read about the panga ride elsewhere on this page you have seen that our incoming guests arrive around 10:30am. Not only do those newly arrivng guests expect their cabin to be ready when they arrive, but they often show up wet or frazzled from the very nature of that boat ride. So, we want to have their accommodation ready for them as quickly as possible so they can change clothes and/or relax.
We also strive to provide the cleanest possible accommodations which means that it can take up to 1 1/2 hours to clean a private cabin. But remember, we will treat you as an arriving guest with exactly the same respect as we treated the people that arrived before you and are having to check out by 9:30.
Your patience and understanding is appreciated as this is a very difficult situation that we have to deal with daily.
Can we get a "wake up call"?
Unfortunately, because we do not have a 24 hour desk, nor a telephone system we are unable to provide a "wake up call". You may want to bring a battery (or wind up) operated alarm clock if you need to be up at a certain time.
What time is "check in"?
The "official" check in time is 12:00 noon. But we always do our best to get our arriving guests to their properly cleaned and prepared room in as quickly as possible. Your comfort is our number one goal. We appreciate your patience.
Tell me a little about your Dining and Activities package? I am trying to figure out if it is the right option for me.
Our goal as a resort with the Dining and Activities package is to give guests that choose to spend a little more time at our resort as opposed to spending most of their time moving about the island a better value for their stay. The package comes with our informal promise that we will make sure that you walk away happy with your choice.
If you like to try a different restuarant for every meal or plan to spend your entire trip diving (although "fun dives" at Dolphin Dive are discounted 10% with the package) then the package is probably not for you.
On the other hand if you have looked at our menu (restaurant page) think our food and drink looks good and would like to get a discount (our D and A guests typically enjoy a 3 to 15% discount on their total bill including food, beverage and activities purchases over purchasing a la carte) on all the things included in our package (see package details on our "rates" page) then this may be just right for you.
A couple recent examples of actual guests one took the D and A package, one did not. Couple "A" took the package and after their stay realized a 9.6% overall savings as compared to if they had purchased a la carte. Individual "B" whom did not take the package but really enjoyed our food spent $277 with us and if they had utilized the D and A package would have only paid $220 a savings of $57 or 20.5% (this individual only drank 5 beers). Not everyone would save this much as the savings usually range from 3 to 15%. If you like beer, massage, yoga, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, etc. your savings will be on the higher end.
We recently enhanced the benefits of the D and A package to include an 8% discount on any purchases that were not otherwise discounted or included in the package. This means that EVERYTHING is cheaper for our guests that select the package.
Dining and Activities guests help keep us on our toes too. We strive to provide a quality experience in all ways (food, accommodation and service) so our loyal guests will never feel disappointed.
Your email with our reservation confirmation reccommended "trip insurance". What is that and where can I find it?
Trip insurance is a relatively inexpensive way to make sure that lifes (or travels) little mishaps are covered by a third party (the insurerer) so that you don't have to pay the price should something unexpected happen, such as flight canelations, baggage loss, illness, weather etc.. You can even choose a carrier or plan that will pay for a charter jet to take you to your home in the case of medical emergency (there is no hospital to speak of in the Corn Islands). It is suprisingly inexpensive and worth looking in to. Google "trip insurance" for a myriad of choices to consider.
I have e-mailed my reservation request and have not heard back from you. How often do you check your e-mails and what should I do?
We strive to answer reservation requests daily, whether we have availability or not. We respond with a "subject" line of "Little Corn BB" to help you see our response. If you would like, you can call us at our Restaurant/Bar phone, 011.505.8.333.0956 to verbally inquire or check your "junk" mail in search of our earlier response.
Do you need/have air conditioning?
LCBB is on the breezy side of the island. Typically, nature does the A/C for us. Get ready for disclaimer now. It is almost always 82 degrees F on LCI. When it is unusually calm, or electricity is off (electricity is typically is available from 2:00pm to 5:00 am, and village power has been know to go down for weeks at a time) the island can be hot, especially if you are sensitive to heat and/or humidity. Our bungalows were actually designed to maximize air flow, BUT, when the right (or wrong depending how you look at it :)) conditions exist certain bungalows at certain times can seem warmer than the ambient air temperature. On an on going basis we are improving things by increasing natural ventilation, altering design and adding floor and ceiling fans (in some bungalows). BUT IF YOU NEED AIR CONDITIONING, their is one hotel on the island that offers air conditioning during periods of electricity. We will happily refer you to that hotel. Gulliver style bungalows now offer rechargable power which keeps the fans running for a period of time after the village power goes off (see question below). If A/C is a major factor that makes your vacation pleasurable, please inquire with us and we will refer you to a hotel that offers A/C.
Did I read that some cabins have fans that run beyond the time that power goes off at approximately 5:00AM?
You may have. Recently, we have added rechargable power to our hotel electricity availability. Due to the limited nature of this change, only certain bungalows currently take advantage of this new addition. Renting a Master Gulliver Suite or a Master Suite Crusoe means that your bungalow is connected to the rechargable power source. This means that while Crusoe and Bunkhouse fans and lights go off around 5 am due to village power going off, the Gullivers will have power for the ceiling fan and the individual bed fans as well at the light in the bathroom and the loft light. So . . . if sleeping beyond 5 am in relative comfort is important to you, consider a Master Suite Gulliver or a Master Suite Crusoe bungalow.
Is there 24 hour electricity?
The island power is typically available from 2:00 pm to 5:00 am (although there has been times when the village generator has been down for up to three weeks). LCB&B has a backup generator (5 actually, see tropical island disclaimer above), we have the ability to provide our own power for at least a portion of the time. There are and will be times the village power will go down without warning, when it does it usually happens at night. This means that your fans and lights will not function (unless you have had the forsight to reserve a Master Suite Gulliver or a Master Suite Crusoe style cabin, and even then on rare times that will not be available, see tropical island disclaimer above). Generally electricity is available at LCB&B from 2:00 am to 5:00am. Read our "Do you need air conditioning", and "Do some bungalows have power available when there is no village power" questions above.
What type of plug in do we need?
All of Nicaragua, inluding Little Corn Island uses the standard plug used in the United States.
Can I use my hair dryer/blow dryer?
You can use your blow dryer, but only while village power is being utilized. Hard to believe but a simple blow dryer uses a BOATLOAD of electricity. Sometimes, we have power available but if it is from our generator (which is hefty but not big enough to power a bunch of blow dryers) at those times you will be asked to postpone the use of your dryer. If you do bring your blow dryer please use it sparingly and at the right time (when village power is being utilized).
Do you have ice available?
Ice is typically available at LCB&B. It is made with water that is safe to drink. Unfortunately, ice is also a very expensive commoditiy to have on hand.
Many factors make this so: Island power is only running about 12 to 15 hours a day, the one facility that makes bulk ice on the island frequently has mechanical problems with its ice maker, ice has to be brought across the island on a wheelbarrow and stored in a large cooler, all these factors and more make ice a real luxury on Little Corn Island.
We provide complimentary ice with mixed drinks and alcohol drinks purchased through our bar. BUT, if we offer ice for any other purpose, it is at a small charge. Or, if ice is in scarce supply we only offer ice for drinks purchased in the bar that normally get ice included. We hope you understand.
Can I spend my US dollars there?
Yes, US dollars and Nicaraguan Cordobas are both legal tender. If you bring US dollars be sure that the have no rips, tears, tape or marks on them so they will be accepted. Only Cordobas or US money (with no rips, tears, writing, marks or ink stains) are acceptable on the islands. We accept any size bill from our hotel guests to pay their hotel bill. But, we reccomend for spending money around the island that you bring some $10 and $20 dollar bills. There is no bank or ATM on LCI and change is a hard thing to find here.
Do you accept credit cards, travellers checks or personal checks?
LCBB is one of the places on the island that accepts Visa and Mastercard. We accept charge cards from hotel guests only (a 10% convenience fee is applied to any charges for the required confirmation deposit, if you choose to charge on a Credit Card at the end of your stay the convenience fee is 12%). Our credit card transactions are routed through the U.S.. This means that the payment you make with a card has to find its way back to Little Corn Island Nicaragua which has no mail service and no bank! LCBB has to get the money collected through CC transactions back to Little Corn to pay our employees, buy supplies and purchase other goods and services needed to run the resort. This is an expensive proposition and we apologize for the fee. To avoid this hefty fee consider bringing cash for the balance of your stay. We are unaware of any bank in Nicaragua that accepts travellers checks and for that reason, we can not either.
Is there a bank or ATM on Little Corn?
No. Be sure to bring all of the cash you will need for your stay. There is Western Union, Banpro and an ATM (occasionally out of money) on Big Corn. Consider bringing some $10 and $20's for spending around the island. Our resort accepts any size bills to pay your final bill.
Is the island safe?
Little Corn is a close knit community. Relatively speaking it is very safe. Rarely does anyone feel threatened on the island. We recommend that our guest always use practices that promote safe travel.
Where can I find more information about The Corn Islands, Little Corn Beach and Bungalow and Nicaragua?
Visit these links to learn more about all three:
What happens if I want to stay longer than originally planned?
Not surprisingly, this happens a lot. If you wish to extend your stay beyond your reservations we will do everything we can to accommodate your needs. We can even help to change plane reservations etc.
Are there other places to eat on the island then your restaurant the “Turned Turtle”?
Most definitely yes! We can recommend some nice places to eat around the island. One thing though, the service can be more laid back than ours, so you will want to go an hour before hungry typically.
Can I rent snorkel equipment on the island?
Yes. LCBB has some for rent and if we are out, we can send you to others that rent equipment as well.
Where are you located on the island?
Can I snorkel to the reef from the beach?
Yes. However, there is Tarpon Channel, an opening in the reef directly off shore from LCB&B. We suggest that you be aware of this and plan you snorkeling accordingly. Typically, it is safe to swim and snorkel right off the beach, but please use your personal knowledge about your swimming abilities and comfort levels to determine when, where and if you go snorkeling.
Are there any stores on the island to buy snacks?
The island has a few small tienda's with a limited (by North American standards) food and clothing items.
When I leave LCBB for my flight off of Big Corn, do I need to leave Little Corn the night before, and spend the night on Big Corn?
While anything can happen, we never have missed a plane by taking the morning panga to Big Corn the morning of our flight. The panga schedule coordinates with flight schedules, so enjoy another night on Little Corn, you will be glad you did.
What is there to do on Little Corn?
What's the diving like?
Will I be bored?
We hear this question a lot. Most people (there are some exceptions) arrive on the islands and after staying their planed time, end up either wishing they could, or actually change their plans to stay longer. I think we mentioned this is an enchanting island.
Are the Nicaraguan people friendly?
What vaccines should we have before we come to Nicaragua or Little Corn?
Recommended Vaccines for Nicaragua by the Center of Disease Control:
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
Hepatitis B - if you are exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or are undergoing various medical treatments.
Rabies - if you are in contact to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
Typhoid - particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region. As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles. The Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11 and 12 who did not receive it as infants
What are your “check in” and “check out” times?
Check out time is generally 9:30am. Check in just depends on when you arrive and if your casita is ready. We will be as flexible as we can be. Worst case scenario, if you arrive and your casita is not ready, we will be happy to watch your luggage while you go off to explore the island or take a nap in one of our custom made hammocks.
Is Little Corn suitable for children?
LCI is a small island and a relatively safe place. It is important to remember that the Panga ride from Big Corn is in an open skiff over 8 miles of ocean and that while you are here at the resort, the ocean is just steps away. Also, some of our accommodations have bedrooms accessed by bamboo ladders. If you feel uncomfortable with that for your children be sure to book a bungalow with all the beds on the first floor. So if all that doesn’t worry you, bringing children 6 and over may not be a problem.
When is the “rainy” season:
October and November are the rainiest months on the island. September is our little secret month. It is usually a great month to be on the island. December, January and February are months that you will see the tropical downpour and then it will typically return to a beautiful day. While some times, you may not see rain for a week.
March through May are probably the driest months. June, July and August seem to be somewhat like December through February.
Keep in mind, if it was easy to predict the weather, we would all be prognosticators. So, bring an umbrella or a rain jacket and enjoy LCI no matter what the weather. If you do get a rainy day or two, our bar has a nice enclosed reading and game area where you can while away the hours.
BONUS REASON: (see “This is Spinal Tap” the movie.)
Note from the owners: We appreciate our clients understanding when it comes to our remote location and the challenges it presents. But we want everyone who comes to visit us to know, we are going to do our best because “you are the reason that we are open”.
Are there any independent opinions about LCBB available?
Visit this site for another reviewers opinion: http://rightsideguide.com/little-corn-island-page/places-fah-stay-in-little-corn-island/
Safe travels and see you when you “reach”,
Scot and Kristine