Imagine yourself swinging gently in your hammock strung up between two coconut trees on the beach, rum and coke in hand, listening to the blue waves break over the coral reef. Last night you were out dancing to reggae and soca music with the locals until 3am, and right now you can smell the seafood rundown is nearly ready for lunch. And you think to yourself, does it get any better than this?
This scenario could be in Big or Little Corn Island. But the question remains, if you are on one island, what are you missing on the other? Some people swear by one over the other, I say you can’t go wrong with any Caribbean island surrounded by reef, friendly people and great beaches. But let’s get specific and break it down to what travelers are looking for, shall we?
Both islands have some stellar beaches. While Big Corn’s beaches are larger, Little Corn’s beaches can be more secluded.
Picnic Center beach in Big Corn Island is a broad white sand beach that rarely sees more than a handful of people outside of the holidays. The dazzling color of the water really comes out during sunny days. Other great beaches include Brig Bay which has a sprinkle of small hotels on its shore and Long Bay beach which is pretty much deserted except for a bar and a couple of hotel/rentals at the far end. The South End also boasts some empty white sand beaches. Check out the shore line in front of Silver Sands hotel and Mama Lola.
Otto’s Beach on the North End of Little Corn Island is an excellent place to explore. Head east to visit the good snorkeling beach in front of Ensuenos and Farm Peace & Love. Down south are some excellent hidden gems such as the one pictured above. Visit Casa Iguana and follow the trail to the right to find that hidden beauty.
Winner: Big Corn Island with the variety of beaches available!
In Spanish I would call it the ambiente, in creole they would englishicize that and say ambient. The literal translation is “environment” but it is used to describe the feeling of the place. And this could be the biggest and most decisive difference between the two islands.
The first thing that attracts people to Little Corn Island is the fact that there are no roads or cars, only sidewalks and hand carts. This is probably one of the biggest differences between the two islands since in Big Corn there is a road that snakes its way around the perimeter of the island. And of course, there is an airport as well! Little Corn Island has its baseball field, a couple of bars and some great restaurants, most of which are centrally located close to the wharf. So the little island has more of a small island community feel where everyone literally knows everyone else. But for people staying longer than 5 – 7 days, the little island often starts to feel really small. The big island, on the other hand, has much more to offer a bored traveler. The big island trades the baseball field for a full-grown stadium and there is the culture house museum right next door. The bars are rockin most every night, but there seems to be less of a choice when it comes to restaurant variety.
You will see a much higher ratio of travelers to locals on Little Corn Island than you will on Big Corn Island. So if the idea of avoiding other tourists is important when deciding which to visit, that could be worth taking into consideration.
Winner: Little Corn Island with its forgotten Caribbean feel!
Looking to stretch your cordoba to the max or do you prefer all the amenities available for a good price? And on the beach! Well, both can be found on either island. There are budget backpacker options for $10 on both Big and Little Corn, but more interesting options are available if you have a few more dollars to spare. Two of the priciest hotels are on Big Corn and both offer more stars next to their names than I can count. But those stars are earned with the level of comfort they offer. On the little island there are some funky places right on the beach that look like they came straight out of a hobbit village. Of course there are some mid-range hotels that are a solid value for your dollardoba and a few one-off rentals that are real hidden gems if you know where to look.
For those of you who are keeping score, that’s Big Corn Island 2, Little Corn Island 2. So which one to choose? Well, my suggestion is to stretch your vacation a few days more and visit them both. Don’t feel like spending more time on one is taking away your precious paradise time from the other…they are both really, really beautiful and fun.
Anyone out there who can suggest a tie breaker? Feel free to comment below!