Time Out

CORN ISLANDS, NICARAGUA

Corn Islands     Photo: Courtesy of www.bigcornisland.com

Two chunks of sand 40 miles east of Nica­ragua, the Corn Islands are the Caribbean in its primal state. Beaches are empty and wet-T-shirt contests won't make landfall for another 20 years. What to do? Just wander around with a snorkel, a cerveza, and a grin. The puddle-jumper from Managua leaves twice daily for the airstrip on Grand Corn ($165 round-trip; lacostena.com.ni). The "Grand" part is relative—the island is about four square miles. Dive Nautilus runs trips out to a sunken 400-year-old Spanish galleon ($20; divebigcorn.com). Sleep in a bungalow at Casa Canada, where the owners arrange guided jungle hikes (cabanas from $115; casa-canada.com). For dinner, spiny Caribbean lobster runs about $15 at the restaurants near the dock (try Lidia's Place). A trip to Little Corn, a patch of sand 30 minutes north via speedboat, is a must. The Dive Little Corn shop rents snorkeling gear (from $15; divelittlecorn.com). Crash at Casa Iguana, a wind-and-solar-powered eco-lodge (doubles from $35; casaiguana.net).

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