Big Corn Island, Nicaragua
Big Corn Island is the larger of two islands 43 miles off of the mainland coast of Nicaragua. There is a paved road which runs 7.5 miles, the length of the island. It’s 18 cordobas or 75 cents per person for each taxi ride no matter where the destination. It is really nice knowing what the taxi fare will be as you come and go on the island.
We arrived by boat from Little Corn Island and had no hotel reservations or plans. We were visiting in June, which is considered the low season. We didn’t experience much rain over the two weeks while we were in Nicaragua, but it was extremely hot.
After we arrived on Big Corn Island, we found a taxi and asked the driver to please take us to any hotel with a pool and air-conditioning. We were desperate, after having no air conditioning on Little Corn, which meant we had no sleep the last few days.
Our driver took us to a great hotel, and as we were relaxing with a cocktail, we chatted with our server about what we should do for fun on the island. He suggested a horseback riding tour. We thought it sounded like an adventure, and Scott always wants to ride horses wherever we travel. Our new friend called his buddy and arranged for him to meet us first thing in the morning.
“John” our guide, brought us beautiful horses for our three hour tour (insert Gilligan’s Island theme song). We checked out the horses to make sure they looked healthy and were treated well before we rode; and these sure did. They were probably the nicest looking horses that we had ever ridden.
We slowly made our way down the road while John explained some of the islands’ history to us. He explained that the islands at one time were part of the Mosquito Coast and were frequently raided by pirates.
After a while, we turned off the road and he took us onto the landing strip of the airport! Now, who can say they have ridden horses on a landing strip? The area is open to the public at different times because La Costena only flies in and out about three times a day. People use the landing strip to cross back and forth and use as a shortcut.
Next, John took us through the jungle to the biggest beach on the island- Picnic Beach. The water was calm and the sand was fine. We stopped for a refreshment at the Picnic Center restaurant and rested in the shade. I was not used to being on a horse more than an hour or two and my body was worn out. John told us that at night the beach is quiet because biting sand flies come out.
At this point we were on our way again, and we were able to run our horses on the beach. I had no control over my horse, as it seemed to do as it pleased.
We passed by some swamps and saw some of the different Barrios of the island. As we were going through the jungle again, my horse started sprinting. I wasn’t sure why at first, but then I realized that my legs were being bitten up by mosquitoes and my horse must have been too! For the next hour, every time my horse would run, I knew we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes. What an intelligent horse I had! After we saw most of the island, we decided to call it a day. It was blistering hot and we were exhausted.
We really enjoyed our island tour by horseback and we were able to see so many areas and neighborhoods which we would have missed. Traveling by horseback is an incredible way to see the area at a relaxed pace, and we were thankful to have had that experience.