The panga trip from Corn Island to Little Corn is a legendary thrill-a-minute ride . And, good to see the only thing that has changed is the approach to safety. Due to the tragedy in 2016 when a panga capsized and 13 Costa Rican tourists died, there is a new approach. When buying your $5 ticket in the building next to the wharf, you must provide your passport so the number can be recorded. (Not the first time in Nicaragua we’ve done this) Most people on our boat wore the life vests provided.
In the past, life vests were used as seat cushions due to the panga’s contortions during the ride. If your seat is in the front, half the time you’re suspended in mid-air waiting for the boat to crash back into the sea after rocketing over a huge wave. If you’re in the back, you’re guaranteed to get wet as the ensuing splash engulfs everyone. We noticed a lot of young Lonely Planeteers covering their backpacks and some even had plastic garbage bags to shove everything in. Our ride was as described above, except for the added cheerleading team! Five lovely young people from Spain were sitting up front and the girls screamed every time we became weightless! Waaaahh! It was definitely too much fun!
With our vertebrae still attached, we made it to the little island safe and sound. We had a water taxi ($8 per person) take us from the panga dock to Ensuenos, a rustic resort on a spectacular northern beach.
Caretakers Phillip and Brigit from Switzerland welcomed us and we moved into the work-of-art cabana called ‘Casa Roca’. With it’s woven palm roof and free-form concrete floor created over rocks (rocas) we were treated to a very close-to-the-earth experience.
Our bed was suspended above the undulant floor and were happy to see a cube shaped mosquito net to keep the bugs out. It worked not only for the bugs but the land crabs that crawled up the walls during the night.
Over dinner prepared by Ensueno’s staff, we got to know our new Spanish friends from the panga ride. They were all teachers on a work exchange program between Spain and Florida.
Wonderful to chat with them and three other members of a German family. The Mum was a EU diplomat who worked at the embassy in Managua. Fascinating to hear all the countries this lady has worked in all over the world. Oh, and the dinner? It was way more money than we usually spend on a meal ($20) but it was worth every penny. Three courses, the middle one featuring freshly caught fish – it all made for a very yummy treat. And we didn’t feel like making the 30 minute walk back to town.
We slept very, very well. Thanks to a comfy bed with only the familiar sound of the surf crashing on the reef offshore… it was a good night.
Sunrise at Ensuenos:
The next morning we had our own quick breakfast of PB and coconut bread and we headed off to our friend Dave’s place.
If you’ve just joined our blog, Dave is an old friend we’ve known since we were teenagers. After our first trip to Little Corn, we told Dave about the island and he ended up buying a piece of property and building a dome shaped ferro-concrete house. (Guaranteed to withstand a hurricane!) We hadn’t seen him in over 11 years and this was going to be a big surprise…
We walked over to Dave’s place but it was locked up.
Hmmm… “He must be in the village”, we thought. We continued to walk down the hill to the west side of the island where breakfasts were being served by the various restaurants. We looked in all of them but still no Dave… Then, as we were headed south on the path, there he was, coming towards us! We sat down on a bench and waited. Just as he flip flopped by, we said, “Hey Dave. What’s happening?” He looked sideways, saw us and said calmly, “Holy shit. You made it back.” BIG hugs all around and we just reveled in the beautiful feeling of long-term friendship.
We followed Dave to his favorite breakfast spot and spent the next hour or so just catching up.
He has some incredible stories about his early days in Nicaragua and building the house on this remote island. Knowing some of his life’s history, we told him he should write a book!
After our first meeting with Dave, we’ve been over to his place for a number of breakfasts and dinners and along the way… We’ve met Rob Lloyd of YouTube’s SHABL (Stop Having a Boring Life) fame. Now if you don’t know Rob, he’s a world traveler who now has an intimate relationship with Little Corn…
Heather, Dave and Rob:
He’s built two houses here… and the big one “Alta Vista” is an incredible structure he’s now renting out for a year.
Turns out, Rob has formed a great friendship with Dave. In fact he’s been very helpful and supportive to our dear 76 year old friend. Thanks Rob!
We first discovered Rob when we were searching online for any mention of Dave. Didn’t take long for Rob’s YouTube Vlog to come up – the episode where he was helping Dave to sell a piece of his property here.
So, our first reunion has been super successful! In the next blog entry, you’ll meet more of our friends on Little Corn Island.