Friends of Casa Iquana

In Search of Memories

In our first few days on Little Corn Island, we made the trek from Ensueno’s at the north end to the south end to see what remains of the once prosperous resort, Casa Iguana.

When we worked there in 2002-03 it was a sought-after destination for adventure travellers from around the world. Many came there to fly fish off the beach while others came to dive in the cerulean waters cradling the untouched reefs. Island people we’re meeting now talk of how great the place was and many praise the efforts of Grant and Kathy the original owners.

As we got closer to what was our home for 4 months, the scene became heartbreakingly bleak. Roofs had collapsed or were blown off in the last high winds, decks were rotting and everything that could rust had. Carefully, we walked up on the main deck in front of the lodge.

The deck has the best view of the eastern side of the island – a sight we remembered. Nature had taken its toll with the beach below us. Significantly reduced in width, we could see the damage to the shore as it headed north.

We sat for a while on the bench seat just north of the lodge. It was the place where we would come to sit and take in the beauty of the island.

It was also a place where we used to take portraits of visitors. I offered a service where visitors would pose and for a small fee I’d process the photo and email it to them!

This is Pami and Danielle. Their baby was born on Little Corn:

On this day we sat there surrounded by the literal devastation of a Little Corn icon.

This was our little house:

We’re hearing stories and opinions but most people just shake their heads and wonder like us, how this could happen. The current owner, Mary from Chicago has been silent according to long-time residents.

As we walked away, we happily remembered the good times we had there. Goodbye Casa Iguana.

We find some friends!

And… on a lighter note – we were reunited with our dear friend Maribel – a lovely lady who worked hard in the kitchen of Casa Iguana. We formed a deep and loving relationship with Maribel and we were very sad to leave her in 2003. She wasn’t hard to find as she runs a small store and a restaurant called “Mango’s Pizza”. As we approached Maribel’s place we came face-to-face with another lady Marta, who worked along side Maribel!

She was just walking down the path with Elsa who we now know is the Mum of Vilma – (we stayed at her place “Villy’s” on Corn Island). We used to hang out at Elsa’s to take a break from Casa Iguana.

At that time, she served a limited menu… “Fish or lobster, Coke or beer.” We exchanged hugs with Marta and Elsa, walked up to Maribel’s store.

As she turned around, Maribel said, “Oh, Chris and Heather!” There were LOTS of hugs… and a few tears too.

We reminisced about the fun we had and talked about our lives since. And, we also talked a bit about Anjelito. She was very sad when we mentioned him. Her store was busy so we didn’t stay long. We agreed we’d come back for dinner – the next evening. Going to be fun!

Pizza Night!

Maribel’s little business is perched on the edge of the south west shore of the island. The absolute perfect place for a sunset dinner. We arrived and her waitress brought us a couple of beers to watch the picture perfect sunset.

Maribel’s store was very busy so we didn’t have much time with her – we enjoyed her yummy pizza instead!

When we went to pay her, she refused and insisted she buy our dinner. Thanks Maribel!

Another reunion

The next morning, we were walking into the village after breakfast with Dave when we walked by two young, very beautiful island ladies. As we passed on the path, one of them said, “Chris & Heather?’ “Yes?” “Hi, I’m Doris, Maribel’s daughter and this is my friend Karen. It’s so nice to see you!” We were flabbergasted. Feels like we never left. Although, Doris did look a bit more grown up!

Doris before on the right:

Doris today – on the left and her friend Karen on the right:


Before we wrap up this installment of our Nica adventure, a number of folks have been asking us about the state of recycling on the island. We’ve discovered they do in fact have a plan.

Metal is collected around the island and stored in woven plastic bags. We’re told four times a year the collected cans etc. are loaded on to a boat and shipped to the mainland where they continue to their destination for processing.

Recycling on Little Corn Island

A similar thing happens for glass. Plastic is the the demon. NO plastic is recycled here. Instead, it is collected by most residents and then it’s burned along with other burnable garbage. Not the best solution, but it’s better than ignoring the problem and the plastic ending up in the Caribbean.

Coming next time… A look at Ensueno’s and our new home called Troy’s Place. More chats with Dave and just enjoying the incredible natural beauty of this island.

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