50 miles east off the east coast of Nicaragua, the Corn Islands have been only a blip on the tourism map, thanks to their remoteness and lack of infrastructure. But the allure of these two tiny Caribbean islands, with their white sand beaches, swaying coconut palms and clear turquoise waters is no longer a secret. Visitors have begun spreading the word about the pristine beauty and tranquility of Big Corn and Little Corn Islands, and on November 1, 2014, Yemaya Resort & Spa opened on Little Corn Island, offering a new hotel option for visitors.
“Until now, Little Corn Island was a well-kept secret among backpackers looking to get off the beaten path to beautiful places with simple, rustic and budget accommodations,” said Garry Lesesne, US expat and Yemaya builder. “With Yemaya, the island can cater to yoga retreats and soft-adventure travellers searching for unique back to nature experiences, but with comfort and services at a higher standard.”
Yemaya is located on the tranquil northern tip of Little Corn Island, straddled by two gorgeous white sand beaches. Step out from your luxury cabana into the water and you are swimming in a natural aquarium teeming with life and color. Take a kayak out for an hour or two exploring the reefs, go beach combing for shells and driftwood, or simply lay back in a hammock and count all the different shades of blue you can see between the beach and the horizon. There just aren’t many places left untouched and pristine, and Yemaya is one of them.
Yemaya is a perfect place for yoga retreats with ten booked before the property even opened. “We are finding that yoga teachers are looking for places that are tranquil, surrounded by natural beauty, and able to meet their specific menu and services requirements” say Michael and Julia Bitton, husband and wife managers of Yemaya. The resort’s 16 cabanas can sleep 4 people comfortably. All are on the oceanfront with sweeping views of the sea. The cuisine is based on what is fished from the sea and picked from Yemaya’s organic garden. It will be a fusion cuisine with hints of island cooking, Thai and vegetarian.
Little Corn Island is less than 3 square km in size, with 800 permanent residents. You can walk from Yemaya all the way to the sound end of the island in one hour on the beaches. The island culture is a Creole mix of African, from the days of pirates and slavery, Spanish and coastal indigenous people. The language, the food, the music are all unique to the Corn Islands. Little Corn Island’s elders do not permit anything motorized on the island, so transport is by foot, bicycle or horse.
Rates at Yemaya are $300 for two people in a cabana per night, including Continental breakfast with fresh fruit, homemade granola, the island’s traditional coconut bread, toast, fresh juice and coffee. The cabanas comfortably sleep four people. Additional adults are $35 each per night; children under 16 are free.
To reach Little Corn Island, guests fly on La Costena Airlines from Managua, which takes about 1 hour. The flights are twice each day to Big Corn Island. From Big Corn Island, guests take a 30-minute boat ride (in a small panga) to Little Corn Island. (If you take the morning flight you are on Little Corn by 9 am).
For more information on Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa and to inquire about reservations, visit: http://centroysur.com/reservations/