The tops of wreckage emerge from the turquoise water at Nicaragua's Corn Islands.

Diving Nicaragua’s Corn Islands

Three distinct layers of reef, composed of more than 40 species of coral, protect the north side of Big Corn Island. The diving and snorkeling are impressive, and divers regularly see nurse sharks, eagle rays, and lots of colorful fish. The wilder Little Corn Island’s delicate reef system is unique for its abundance of wildlife and coral formations, including overhangs, swim-throughs, and the infamous shark cave.

Sunset on Awas near Parl Lagoon. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Planning Your Time on Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast

The Atlantic coast of Nicaragua is a land unto itself. The coast is languid and lazy, with sultry mangrove estuaries, white, sandy beaches, and a relaxed lifestyle. Bluefields is a quintessential Caribbean port town, with enough fresh seafood to wear you out, an oppressive afternoon sun, and a no-hurry attitude. Corn Island and Little Corn Island are another scene altogether with soft sand beaches and rustling palm fronds, plus an isolated feeling that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Reserva Charco Verde. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Where to Go in Nicaragua

Unless you have a few weeks to dedicate to your travels, it’s impossible to see everything Nicaragua has to offer–even then, you’d have a tight schedule. The best way to tackle the country is to learn about each region, then plan according to your interests and favorite activities. From vibrant nightlife to exploring history to outdoor adventures, Nicaragua won’t disappoint.

Moon Nicaragua, 6th ed.

Moon Nicaragua

This full-color guide to Nicaragua includes vibrant photos and maps to help with trip planning. Nicaragua expert Elizabeth Perkins teaches travelers how to best experience the wonders of this Central American destination, from hanging out on the Pacific beaches of San Juan del Sur and shopping for crafts in Masaya to partaking in the ever-evolving […]

The tops of wreckage emerge from the turquoise water at Nicaragua's Corn Islands.

Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua

Despite Nicaragua’s gorgeous shorelines, diving is a pastime only beginning to be developed, with only three shops in the whole country: one in San Juan del Sur and one on each of the Corn Islands. For those interested in snorkeling, it is best off the Corn Islands and some of the Pearl Cays.