You can get from Managua to Little Corn Island in a night and a day’s time by bus and boat, theoretically. Most people choose to take the hour and a half flight. We figured we would go the local route, enjoy the journey. It took us three days and two nights.
Our trip began in Granada with an easy hour to a bus stop in Managua. From there we took a cab through neighborhood after undistinguishable neighborhood of Managua sprawl to the bus station for Rama. We were delighted to see a modern bus waiting, surely equipped with a/c and reclining seats, both necesities for eight hours of night travel. We waited happily and watched as the English speaking Carribean people gathered.
The scene was entertaining until everyone started loading on to the bus. We joined in only to be told that we were on bus #2. I had seen it sitting there outside the station, full of all those field trip memories, and chosen to ignore it. They can’t expect people to sit for 8 hours on one of the knee-mashing old Blue Bird school buses that carried American children to and from school until they were old enough to be decommisioned and given to Nicaragua. We asked, and, that was percisely what they expected.
We were able to at least take comfort in the fact that the bus had been carefully repainted, adorned with blinking disco lights and streamers running through the inside and had a large disclaimer pasted on the front: “Yo manejo, Jesus Me Guia” (I drive, Jesus Guides Me). It’s always nice to know that God supports your trip, but we would rest easier knowing that the driver feel personally responsible for the safety of his cargo.
There was one real plus: the knee-mashers had been replaced with reclining seats, but then, ours were broken. We drove up and over the mountains where occasionally the driver lent the wheel to Jesus who tested our faith by taking corners way to tight and scaring the $%&/ out of us and eventually landed safely in Rama
The boat ride from Rama to Blufields is incredible. Three hours of smooth riding down a narrow river with virgin tropical forests on either side. We arrived in Bluefields ready to hop the ferry to Big Corn. Several people we talked to in Granada before we left told us bus schedules and had various suggestions of how to make our trip more comfortable. No one mentioned that there are only three ferrys a week from Bluefields to Big Corn.
The next day we got our things together early and headed down to the peir where we waited for the 8am ferry to finally leave at 1pm. At that point we still had a chance of getting to Big Corn in time for the last panga (skiff) over to the little island, but what we read is a 5 hour ferry actually took 9 hours. People on the boat kept saying “soon reach, soon reach”. We spent the night on Big Corn and took the first boat over in the morning. Paradise was waiting and well worth every minute of the journey.