Old-school Caribbean cool on Nicaragua’s Corn Islands

There are no roads on Little Corn Beach and no cars. Just trails and wheelbarrows.

“This is the coolest part of Nicaragua,” said Randy, his braided cornrows darkening with the setting sun. “There is no police, no politicians, none of those rude boys.”

No need. Little Corn Island is a little more than a half a square mile. If you can negotiate a couple of rock outcroppings, you can walk on the sand and past a sentry of palm trees all the way around the island in less than an hour. The only mode of transport on wheels here is a wheelbarrow.

Great Corn Island is 2.3 square miles, big enough to warrant one narrow road that loops around it but small enough to feel you’ve reached an untapped paradise. I have baked on beaches in 18 countries along the Caribbean, and my beach on Great Corn is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Only two simple bungalows marked a half-mile stretch of golden sand and gentle surf. Every morning at 6:30, I’d watch workers rake the sand before Costa Caribe, the local semipro baseball team, jogged along the empty beach in a hodgepodge of pitching sleeves and ballcaps.

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