Big Corn Island

Take Bluefields, divide the population by 10, double the per capita happiness and add the clearest water you will ever see, then you will start to get an idea of what Big Corn Island is like. The island is surrounded by beautiful beaches of alternating volcanic rock and golden/white sand. About 1/3 of the land is taken up by airport, the rest is stretched into cozy neighborhoods, a few seafood processing plants and the baseball field. This is where Nicas come for vacation, and located only an hour and a half by plane from Managua, it is easy to see why.

Map of Big Corn Island Dec 2012


From Wikipedia: The Corn Islands, along with the eastern half of present-day Nicaragua, was a British protectorate from 1655 until 1894, a period when the region was called the Mosquito Coast. At one time, the islands were frequented by Caribbean pirates. In 1894, the Nicaraguan government claimed the area.

Under the Bryan–Chamorro Treaty of 1914, the islands were leased to the United States for a period of 99 years. The terms of the lease made the Corn Islands subject to U.S. law, but they remained Nicaraguan territory. The lease notwithstanding, the United States never maintained a significant presence in the islands. Once the laws of Nicaragua became common law, all these communities, which were ruled from Bluefields until the autonomous laws were enacted in the 1980s with U.S. acquiescence and the Nicaraguan government directed the local administration of the islands. The right of the United States to use of the islands remained until April 25, 1971, when the lease was officially terminated by the denunciation of the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty under the presidency of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, on July 14, 1970


The population of the islands numbered 6,626 as of 2005 (census of population, May 28 to June 11, 2005).

As of early 2009, local authorities estimate the population of Big Corn Island to be 6,200, and that of Little Corn Island to be 1,200. Distribution of tourits is estimated to be roughly 25% at Big Corn Island and 75 at Little Corn Island.

The islanders are English-speaking Creole people of mixed black heritage. In recent years there has been substantial internal migration by Spanish-speakingmestizo people from Pacific Nicaragua, and, increasingly, by Miskito people from the Caribbean mainland around Puerto Cabezas. English, long the island’s principal language, is being supplanted by Spanish and Miskito.

For another good source of Corn Island information, visit

Anything I missed or changes to be made? Let me know!


4 Responses to “Big Corn Island”

  1. Rob26 April, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Great article, looking for some historical data and you ranked tops.

    Tips hat,

    • Casey1 May, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Rob, glad to know I am cornering the market on historical data of Corn Island! Your blog is one of my favorites, by the way. I read it regularly.

      Keep up the good work!

  2. Stefan15 January, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    Do you have any info on the grocery stores on Big Corn Island? Plan to visit BCI for 2 weeks in April with my 2 year old. Will be renting a self catering apartment. Need to know what kind of food I can buy on the island. Thanks

    • Casey15 January, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Hi Stefan,

      In Brig Bay there are a couple of small shops where you can buy the basics, rice, beans, oil, some fruit and veg, etc. The place to buy beef is at a small slaughter shack by the end of the airport on the picnic center side. It opens a couple of mornings a week and you have to get there early to get the good parts. Nothing is refrigerated. Fish can be bought either on the street in Brig Bay or at the Pasanic plant where you can buy it frozen by the pound. Around the island there are some other small shops around and you can buy lobster and fish by asking around, but you won’t find anything fancy in the stores here. Bring your garbanzo beans and trader joes chocolate pretzels because you won’t find them on the island! Coconuts, bananas, fish, cassava and malanga are everywhere. Time to learn to cook island style!

      Have a good trip!

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