Whether we like wearing them or not, masks are a traveler's way of life at the moment. Airports require them. Airplanes require them. We have been lucky so far on the Corn Islands with very few Covid-19 deaths so far. But unfortunately we have had some. Please help keep our islanders safe by taking simple precautions like wearing a mask when out in public here on our islands. You'll need to bring your own - we are remote and have limited supplies for our residents.
There are no direct flights from North America, or elsewhere around the world directly to Corn Island, however, that could be happening in the future. The Big Corn Island airport has been upgraded to become an international airport and flights are expected to come directly from Costa Rica to Big Corn Island at some point.
In the meantime, you will need to fly or drive to Managua International Airport, and from there, take a flight on La Costena airline. You MUST pre-book this flight ahead of time to ensure your seat, preferably a week or more in advance. You CAN fly standby sometimes, but flights are usually full! Their office is at the far end of the Managua international airport, so when you have a connecting flight, it's only a short walk to get there.
Please keep an eye on Central America travel groups, Nicaragua travel groups, and Costa Rica travel groups on facebook. Reading passenger experiences will be very helpful for you because things change frequently, and you can greatly reduce your stress level by being diligently prepared.
Certain times of year have more affordable flight costs. Keep an eye on Expedia, Flight Centre, Red Tag, United, and your other favourite airline and vacation website for deals.
You will likely be over-nighting somewhere along the way. If you have a stop-over for 6 hours or more, you can usually leave the airport and go poke around whatever city you happen to be in. (This is where back-packers have the advantage - no luggage to haul around with you).
Your flight costs to Managua on the major airlines will NOT include getting yourself to Big Corn Island - the flight on La Costena will be approximately $190 US per person (return back to Managua included).
If you choose to go by ground from Managua, you can hop on the 'chicken bus' (and don't let anyone tell you it's an Express bus. It isn't quick.) You will likely be overnight on the bus, arriving into Bluefields around 3 or 4am, then getting on a ferry for another 5 or 6 hours (or longer, depending on water conditions). You can also go from El Rama, which takes you on an overnight river cruise before entering the open ocean.
Depending on water conditions, the boat takes anywhere from 12-18 hours from El Rama (it is a port south of Bluefields where you can also catch a ferry to Big Corn Island). There was also a report of the Bluefields ferry taking 13 hours because it broke down in the middle of the ocean. It's an economical way to travel, but could eat up several days' worth of vacation time. Also, you will be on the boat next to livestock being shipped to the island. They are smelly. The ocean is wavy. The sun is hot. There is no cafeteria. The port-a-potties often have a line-up and you should bring your own toilet paper! Weigh those options carefully! Also, these boats do NOT travel every day.
If you are coming from Costa Rica by ground, we recommend connecting with either of these two companies - they both have excellent reviews from hundreds (if not thousands) of happy travelers:
Centeno Transportation Travel & Tours Nicaragua - Whatsapp: +505 7781 8155 (English & Spanish)
Pacific Tours - Alex Ruiz - Whatsapp: +505 8918 1935
For an in-depth read on what this mode of travel might have in store for you, read THIS from "Stop Having a Boring Life." Rob has traveled the globe, lived on Little Corn Island for several years, and really knows what he's talking about. Costs quoted are in the Nicaragua currency "Cordobas" ($C), otherwise are listed as "US".