Although many ports seem to be rather ubiquitous when it comes to cruises, some of the very best ones often get overlooked. Nicaragua’s Corn Islands are one great example of this phenomenon. Despite being very well known among Nicaraguans, the Corn Islands – known in Spanish as Las Islas del Maiz – are virtually unknown by most other people. Cruise ship passengers who stop here, then, are routinely surprised by the charm and beauty of these islands. Whether you stay on Big Corn Island or head over to look around at Little Corn Island, you are bound to have a wondrous experience here.

Sightseeing & Things To Do

By getting off of your ship when it docks at Big Corn Island, you can find out why so many Nicaraguans flock here for their own holidays in the sun. Pristine beaches, quiet streets without any cars and delightful hiking opportunities all converge to make Corn Island a truly idyllic port of call. Give it a chance and you are sure to create a bunch of memories that will last for the rest of your life.

Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island are not typical cruise ports of call in that they are not packed to the gills with an abundance of tourism-related attractions. Despite the dearth of historic buildings and cultural sites, though, you’ll find plenty to do to keep yourself busy when visiting the Corn Islands. Try out:

A Boat Trip Around The Islands

Sure, you might not feel like sitting on yet another boat after being on your cruise ship for so long. However, taking a smaller boat around the Corn Islands can be a real treat. Along the way, you’ll be able to stop and explore remote, tiny beaches that are far from the beaten path. At the same time, you’ll be able to see a whole other side of these stunning islands.

Hike The Hills

Big Corn Island has an interesting topography that boasts a fine array of gently undulating hills. Hiking around these hills is a popular local pastime, and you can easily get in on the fun when stopped at the Corn Islands. Strap on some decent hiking shoes and hit the trails; you’ll see a wonderful mix of sumptuous plant life and might even see some of the interesting wildlife, too.

Rent A Golf Cart

As tiny as the Corn Islands are, vehicle traffic is understandably kept to a minimum. If going around on foot isn’t your cup of tea, though, you can rent golf carts at several different places on either island. It’s a fun and carefree way to explore the islands without wearing yourself out.

Try The Water Sports

Like so many other small islands, the Corn Islands are a great place to try out an abundance of different water sports. Try your hand at snorkeling, scuba diving or even ocean fishing while visiting. No matter which activity you engage in, you are bound to have an incredible time.


There are a handful of shops and stores on each island, but no distinct shopping district per se. Since there are no motorized vehicles - other than golf carts - on either island, it is safe and fun to roam about on foot looking for things to buy. Just don’t expect to max out your credit card on either one of the Corn Islands, since there simply isn’t a massive number of stores in which to do so.

Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship

Since the Corn Islands are so small, there isn’t exactly a broad selection of locally made good to choose from. However, the usual assortment of souvenirs can be found on either island; consider picking up a nice handbag or even a pair of sandals to remember your visit to the Corn Islands by.

Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine

Coconuts are a huge part of the local economy, so you can find a nice array of dishes that feature coconuts on the Corn Islands. The most popular? Coconut bread. You can find it at many of the small restaurants on either island, but it is also sold on the street and near the dock regularly as well. Be sure to try it out and think about picking up a little extra for a snack later on the ship.

When, Where, and How

When To Go

For the most part, mid-November to mid-May is the best time of year to come to either Corn Island. That’s because it is the dry season in Nicaragua, so you don’t have to worry about your time outdoors being spoiled by lousy weather.

Where You’re Docked

Cruise ships dock over on Big Corn Island. There is then a ferry boat that will transport people over to Little Corn Island, if they like. It should be noted that these are small islands, so the logistics of getting around are not difficult at all to manage.

Which Cruise Ships Go Here?

Many of the major cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Corn Island. A few of the largest cruise lines that stop at Corn Island are Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. However, there are many other options available in terms of ships, dates, days at sea and in port when it comes to Corn Island.