How Do I Get to Little Corn Island?
Method 1 – The Quick and Easy Way!
If you plan your international flight well and get the right flight into Managua, you can be on Little Corn on the afternoon of the same day, in time to see the sunset! Several airlines that fly to Managua have flights with arrival times that allow you to make the afternoon flight to Corn Island and in turn the pm panga to Little Corn.
Flights Depart Managua to Corn Island at:
Flights Return to Managua from Corn Island at:
LaCostena Airlines has a website where you can make reservations in advance (note the website requires 2 days or more in advance if booking on-line)
The base round trip ticket cost is US$164.22 (including all taxes), but a few years back the airline introduced variable pricing and “other charges” when booking online so double-check their website to find their online price for dates you want to travel.
The cheapest ways to buy your tickets are by phone, by email, or in person. There are no additional fees when using these methods and you can find the phone numbers and email info under “Contact Us” on their website. Here it is as well…
Phone: call La Costena’s reservations office in Managua airport at (505) 2298 5360 (start with country code 011 if calling from outside of Nicaragua). Make sure they get your email address (and confirm it) and when you are through they will send you a copy of your ticket.
Email: They have 2 email addresses. One for inquiries “email@example.com” and another for reservations: “firstname.lastname@example.org” . It will take a couple of emails back and forth, and will need to provide the info about which flights you want, the full names of all passengers, and ultimately your credit card number, but in the end you will also receive an email back with copies of your tickets.
In Person: You can go directly to their ticket office at Managua airport and pay with cash or credit card. But remember, since flights can fill up in advance you need to do this at least several days before you plan to travel, so this might not be practical unless you’ll already be in Managua a few days before you plan to fly.
Got your tickets? You’re all set!
They ask you to check in about 90 minutes before flight time.
Baggage: If you check more than 30 pounds there is a fee of $1.20 per pound for additional weight. You’re also allowed one carry on.
There is a couple of snack bars inside the waiting area once you’re checked-in, after you go through their security.. A variety of snack food in addition to soda, beer, and liquor.
It’s 80 minutes from take-off in Managua to landing on Big Corn.. enjoy the view as you pass by lakes and volcanoes.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE ON BIG CORN:
Collect your luggage, catch a taxi (right outside the terminal door, $1 per person, 5-minute ride) to the municipal dock for the boat (Panga) to Little Corn. There is a pavilion there where they sell tickets for the ride. No reservations required!
BETWEEN THE ISLANDS:
The regular pangas leave at the following times:
From Big Corn to Little Corn:
- 10 am
- 4.30 pm
(Panga will generally wait if the plane arrives a little delayed.)
From Little Corn to Big Corn:
- 6.30 am
- 1.30 pm
The Panga ticket costs $5 (or 150 Cordobas) each way.
WHEN SHOULD YOU DEPART FROM LITTLE CORN FOR YOUR TRIP HOME?
You can generally catch the morning panga to Big Corn at 6.30 am for the morning flight back to Managua, and the afternoon one at 1:30 pm for the afternoon flight. Pangas are generally very reliable, and run about 99% of the time… as good, or better, than many other forms or transporation.
However, in the infrequent event that winds are predicted to be above approx 22 knots, we suggest that you depart earlier to make sure you will make your flight. We suggest that at those times that if you are on a morning flight that you leave the afternoon before, and if you are on the afternoon flight then you leave that morning.
Local Tip: While on the island, you can stop by Tranquilo Cafe for up-to-the-minute weather and wind updates.
If you want to eliminate any worry about the slight chance of a weather-related panga delay, simply plan to spend a day or two on Big Corn at the later part of your visit to the islands. It’s also good advice if you were planning to stay on both islands anyway: Little Corn first, Big Corn after. (And of course, based on our extensive expert experience, we recommend you spend the majority of your Corn Islands vacation here on Little Corn. 9 out of 10 tourists agree that that’s excellent advice!)
For those of you who have read or heard scary stories about the panga ride over, here is a great video clip showing what the crossing is usually like: “Official” Little Corn Panga Video
Method 2 – The Cheaper, But Slower Way:
Bus from Managua to Bluefields and passenger ferry from Bluefields to Big Corn
There is now a modern highway that connects Managua with Bluefields, and there are now buses that run several times a day between the 2 cities.
Effective late December 2019, the schedule is:
From Managua – 6am, 9:15am 11:15am 2:30pm, 5pm, 8:30pm, 9:30pm, 11pm
From Bluefields – 4am, 5:30am, 6:30am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 9pm, 11pm
The ride either way takes about 8 hrs.
These are their reservations numbers (as of Dec 2019):
2570 3565 Managua
2570 3564 Bluefields
From Bluefields to Big Corn, the Hilario Sanchez and Rio Escondido passenger ferries make trips to Big Corn three times weekly: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, taking about 5 hours and costs $12 each way. It makes the return trips back to Bluefields on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. No reservations are required, but it’s not a bad idea during busier times: 8844 5091. They depart at 9am going in both directions, and arrive at approximately 2pm at the other end.
So keep in mind that the travel time for the “Cheaper” way is about 14 hours, plus layover time, compared with 80 minutes direct from Managua to Corn Island, so it a method that is best if you have plenty of time to spend getting here, if not money.
You can also do a combination of the above: For instance, you can take the bus to Bluefields and then fly to Big Corn. This skips the long boat ride, and saves you about $40 on your round trip, compared to flying direct from Managua to Corn Island
Once you get to Big Corn, check the information about pangas to Little Corn above on this page.
Additional Travel Information:
Many airlines require you to be able to show an exit ticket from Nicaragua in order to board an international flight destined for Nicaragua (and some other Central American countries also). This rule seems to be randomly applied and if you’re backpacking then you probably don’t have one. Note that Spirit Airlines enforces this strictly and makes you buy a return ticket in order to board, even if you don’t plan to use it! If this happens, buy a refundable one. If you search online there is a company in Costa Rica that can buy exit bus tickets on your behalf and email you the details, even at short notice.
Please be aware that Little Corn is a small remote island and as such boat transport to and from the island will be dependent on good weather conditions, which is the case the vast majority of the time. There is no strict rule about it, but if winds are over about 22 knots then there is a chance of delay or cancellations. The decision is made by the Navy (Capitania) based in Big Corn and unfortunately, those decisions are not always communicated in advance, even to the panga drivers themselves. We recommend that you check forecasts before and during your visit here, and also that you have adequate travel insurance to cover you for potential travel delays.
Windfinder is a good website to check for wind predictions during your travel days