How much to budget for Corn Island?

Hey, something to celebrate! Nicaragua was recently named second on LP’s list of top budget travel destinations. That means for North Americans it ranks #1 because getting to Bangladesh is about three times as expensive as a round trip ticket to Managua. But before you buy your ticket, you will need to take into account how much you want to spend.

So where is the cheapest place to go in the cheapest country to travel in? Who cares? You want to get to Corn Island and need to know how much to budget.

Artist’s rendition of Captain D. cargo boat

Corn Island is not the most expensive place to visit *coughsolantiname islandscough*, but it is close. That does not mean that a visit will break the bank by any means…you can still find cheap beds near white sand beaches. But the fact of the matter is that the high cost of transport has driven prices up for most goods, and that increases costs of most services as well. So how much are we talkin?

General prices

You can expect to pay a range of prices for different goods and services on Corn Island, depending on what they are:

Camping $5 – $7 hammock or tent, beach included
Backpacker quality $10 – $20 for single bed, shared bath, fan, table, beach
Couple quality $20 – $75 for double bed or cabaña, ensuite bath, beach
Family quality $50 – $100 for bungalow or cabin, ensuite bath, beach

Eating out
Snacks $.50 – $1 for soda cake, pico, pati or fresco
Street food $4 – $6 for fried chicken or pork, rice and beans, salad, fresco to drink
Cheap menu $5 – $7 for  fried chicken, chop sui, appetizers
Normal menu $7 – $10 for  fish, shrimp, beef or soup
Expensive menu $10 – $15 for rundown, lobster, Italian

Renting snorkel gear for a day $10
Snorkeling trip from some dude who walks up to you in the street $20 – $50 for 2 – 4 hours
Snorkeling trip set up by a hotel $30 – $50 for 3 – 6 hours, may include lunch

Fishing trip from some dude who walks up to you in the street $50 – $100/person, half day, may be using handlines
Fishing trip set up by a hotel $50 – $200/person, half day, rods and reels, may include lunch

Diving for people who have never dived or want a refresher course $40 – $70
Diving for people who know what they are doing $35 or less if bought in a package

Walking around the island is free
Renting a bike $10 – $20 a day
Renting a golf cart $15 – $20 for a couple of hours
Taxis are $.75 during the day, $1 at night or with luggage

Five days of expenses

So what does it really cost to visit Corn Island? I recently visited Big Corn Island for the world-famous Crab Soup Festival and recorded all my expenses from the ride over from Bluefields to the ride back. Keep in mind I was on a very tight budget so I was really pinching cordobas to be able to afford to get my return ticket!


So maybe you are saying to yourself, wow, $25 a day? That sounds cheap. But I want to go to Little Corn Island… how much does that cost? Well…there are places to stay on LCI that start at $15 like Grace’s Cool Spot, meals cost another $1 – $3 more than on the big island and activities can be another 10% – 20% more, but it still beats a lot of Pacific coast destinations and attractions.

But I want to fly there! Well, tack on another hundred-someodd bucks for a flight from Managua.

Ouch! Well, what other ways to get to Corn Island are there? Glad you asked:

First class snorkeling in Big Corn Island