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How to get to Little Corn Island – no flying!

Getting to the Corn Islands on a budget the backpacker’s way. Step by step directions from Managua to Little Corn Island. Itinerary, times and prices.

We had 10 unreal days on Little Corn Island, diving, snorkeling, running, picking fresh fruit and drinking vodka out of coconuts we collected. The initial plan was to stay for 3 or 4 days. We had such a good time and did it so cheap that we ended up staying much longer! See our Complete Backpacking Guide to Little Corn Island.

I read some horror stories online about the overland trip to Little Corn Island. It was quite an adventure and much cheaper. So if you are a backpacker with time and a limited budget I will recommend this option over flying.

Getting to the Corn Islands
Getting to the Corn Islands, Managua to Little Corn Island.

Getting to the Corn Islands from Granada

This is how we got from Granada to Little Corn Island (total $40) and back to Managua ($30).

It was actually quite fun, take sun cream and motion sickness tablets if that is a problem. ENJOY!!

We did it the following way:

– Granada – Managua, (bus, C29)

From Granada arrive to Managua at UCA bus terminal; take taxi or bus 109 to get to Mercado Ivan Montenegro bus terminal from where bus departs to El Rama.

– Managua – El Rama (bus, 6 hours C160) departs Mercado Ivan Montenegro bus terminal

– El Rama –Bluefield (speed boat, river, 1.5 hours) bus+speedboat C414

– Bluefield – Big Corn Island (The Rio Escondido, C250, ferry 6 hours)

– Big Corn – Little Corn (speed boat, C150, 40 min).

Instead of a speedboat you can take a slowboat between the Corn Islands. There used to be a cargo ship ‘The Captain D‘ doing a slow trip directly from El Rama to Big Corn Island. This is not an option anymore since it sank recently (2017).

Getting to the Corn Islands

Alya walking around Little Corn Island.  Getting to the Corn Islands from Granada to Little Corn Island and Back.


The Rio Escondido is the only reliable boat going from Bluefield to Big Corn. It only does this trip once a week, Wednesdays 09:00. To catch this boat you have to take the  bus from Managua to El Rama Tuesday 21:00 arriving in El Rama at 03:00. There is an area to wait for the speed boat that leaves at 06:00.

If you walk around the street corner there are cheap empanadas and coffee for sale. Trust me you will be bored, tired and hungry. The boat and bus ticket can be bought as a combination in Managua at the bus terminal, and then you have a guaranteed seat on the speed boat. Try to buy your bus ticket in advance, or at least arrive a couple of hours early. We could only get standing tickets and were very lucky that there were cancellations and we got on the bus that night!

Here is the route with a map and prices as given by Rome2Rio July 2017.

Getting to the Corn Islands
Getting to the Corn Islands, it is a long trip!

Getting Back to Managua

To get back you have more options, you can go back reversing the same way on Thursdays. Another option is to take a cargo ship. There is no schedule and there are a couple of them a week. We took the Islano D on a Sunday it works out cheaper than the ferry. Our ride on the cargo ship, The Islano D, was interesting it looked like a refugee ship crossing to Europe.  Most people were sitting on the deck. If you want to travel in a bit of comfort buy a hammock.

Speed boat Little Corn to Big Corn C150 ($5). The Islano D went all the way from Big Corn to El Rama for C250 ($9). It departed from Big Corn at 09:00 (it only actually left at 11:00), arriving in El Rama at 23:00.From El Rama we took bus 160 to Managua for C160 ($6). The bus left at 02:00 arriving in Managua at 07:00 C25 ($1). Thus Little Corn Island to Managua $21

Getting to the Corn Islands
The ferry on the way back.

 Flying to the Corn Islands

It is a magic little island an the boat trip is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea. Luckily there are flights! Fly to Big Corn Island and take a speed boat (Panga) to Little Corn Island.

There are several flight options with La Costena Airlines. Daily flights leave Managua at 6.20am, 11.30am and 2pm. Return flights are at 8am, 1pm and 4.30pm.

Return flights: $164

Managua to Bluefields $60

Bluefields to Big Corn $60

Little Corn Island Hotels

We stayed in Three Brothers a very basic place, nice location close to town not on the beach. Think the cheapest spot on the island. Very popular with backpackers, easy place to meet travelers, we had a great time here. There are some cooler spots on the beach.

Christina’s guesthouse is another nice place, central location, clean, friendly staff, nice vibe, good budget place.

Elsas and Grace’s Coolspot are two cool budget places on the beach.


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sarah sexton

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Hello,, I am traveling with a teen and a 9 year old and kind of want a private beach house but wondering how you eat there? is there a cook or do they have stores or restaurants? Not sure how it works on corn island. And do you think bluefields is worth a few day stay?

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 4th of June 2020

Hello, Sarah! Many guesthouses on the island have a small restaurant where you can eat. There are a couple of grocery stores and fruit stalls where you can buy pasta, noodles, cans, vegetables, etc. We used to buy freshly baked coconut bread for breakfast at a local bakery, it was delicious. From what I remember there were at least two proper restaurants with breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. One was Italian, they had great food we ate there quite a lot. We stayed in Bluefields on the way back and didn't really like it I'd rather spend more time on Little Corn. Safe travels!


Saturday 16th of November 2019

Hi! This is so so helpful, so thank you! We are travelling to Little Corn Island in a couple of weeks time by ferry! What kind of bus was it that went from Managua to El Rama? I'm guessing just a standard bus, not a sleeper bus? For health reasons I need at least 9/10 hours of sleep per night so I'm worried about the bus running throughout the night haha! Is there a bus that runs in the day so that i could spend the evening in Bluefields before catching the morning ferry? Thank you :)

Stingy Nomads

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Hello Emily, thanks for reading. Apparently there is a new direct connection from Managua to Bluefields, I found this online so this is not personal experience. The schedule is: From Managua – 9am, 2pm, 9pm, 6am. Apparently transporte Camilo Ortega Saavedra, leaves from the dock from Bluefields at 4:00 a.m. and from Managua at 9:00 a.m. from mercado Iván Montenegro. Flying is also an option. Safe Travels


Thursday 19th of April 2018

Hey! I am thinking about going to little corn in the next few weeks. I think your post is extremly helpful so thank you for writing! I was just wondering if you would recomend that i make a booking at three brothers hostel before going or would it be fine just showing up? Thanks!

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 19th of April 2018

Hello Sara, glad you found our post helpful. We just showed up, when I was there you could not book, you can now. We had a great time at three brothers, it is a a backpackers type place, we made good friends here, but there are some other cool places on the beach. Maybe book at least a night or so that you know after a hectic trip you have a bed booked when you arrive. I inserted a link for booking in the article. Enjoy and safe travels!

allison r

Sunday 3rd of December 2017

Hi! Just wondering - Why did you head straight to the islands? Did you feel that visiting other cities and areas just not interesting enough or saved for another time?

Thanks! Alliosn


Stingy Nomads

Monday 4th of December 2017

Hello Allison, we did travel around Nicaragua for a while and had a great time. We did the standard tourist trail, Granada, Leon, Ometepe and a handfull of other places. That was before we started Stingy Nomads and I never transferred my other Nicaragua entries to this blog.


Sunday 10th of September 2017

Hey guys, great info! Just wondering if you know if the bus actually stops in Matagalpa? I see on the map that it passes through.

Stingy Nomads

Sunday 10th of September 2017

Hi Jess, thanks for reading. Matagalpa is not on the route, the bus passes through Juigalpa.,-86.3500814,8.21z Safe Travels!

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