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Corn Island Pangas

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
20 posts
21 reviews
Corn Island Pangas

My wife, 12 yo daughter and I will be coming to Nica for 10 days in early September. We're strongly considering going to Little Corn but are concerned the boat ride between BCI and LCI maybe be scary for our daughter. We've heard it can get pretty rough. How difficult is on a normal day? And a day with bad weather? What's it usually like in early September?

I wander the world
Level Contributor
4,825 posts
25 reviews
1. Re: Corn Island Pangas

It will be interesting to see what info you get. My feelings is the answers are far to subjective to be of help.

The panga do not run in weather they consider bad.

I have noticed of late, weather patterns the world over are wonky, I would not bother asking anyone about possible weather.

With all the said, you could plan to stay on Big Corn and take your daughter out to watch the panga..she may feel better about it once she understands the score.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
20 posts
21 reviews
2. Re: Corn Island Pangas

Thanks NomadicbyNature. Completely understand how subjective this is and that I'm asking people to speculate on the weather. I probably should have asked for people to share their experiences on the panga trip from BCI to LCI to see how the rougher ones sound. Maybe I'll repost that.

And thanks for the suggestion about staying on BCI and checking it out first hand. Then we could decide whether to move to LCI.

Paris, Canada
Level Contributor
7,937 posts
20 reviews
3. Re: Corn Island Pangas

I have not been to the Corn Islands but I just read a recent trip report and this person said that the small boat can seem unprepared to manage the huge waves. He said the waves can be several meters high and that he was quite worried at a certain point.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
20 posts
21 reviews
4. Re: Corn Island Pangas

thanks, Sonja. I think we read the same post, which made us begin having second thoughts about the crossing.

I wander the world
Level Contributor
4,825 posts
25 reviews
5. Re: Corn Island Pangas

Ahh then, let me give this another go.

I was on Big Corn for a week in Feb, I also wanted to see Little Corn. I have a thing about sea view rooms and noticed once settled in on accommodation on Big Corn I could see the panga running back and forth. The weather, as it has been the world over, was not as past Febs with glass flat seas. We had wind with huge waves and pouring rain. There were days the panga looked to be skimming the very tops of the waves then crashing down upon them, it looked all kinds of rough. I have no fear but I do get sea sick, in such close quarters I was concerned enough about embarrassing myself in the boat I started asking around about the trip.

The panga ride takes about 30 minutes, there is also the option to take the slow boat which is close to two hours. I was leaning toward the slow boat until someone said, "you don't have time on the panga to get sick, sit in the third row from the back, you will stay dry and the boat will not bounce as much as the front."

The universe decided to take pity on me the morning I had planed to go, it was the first day of glass flat seas. I arrived early to find myself chatting with one of the panga guys. He confirmed what I had heard from others, third row forward and all will be well.

I didn't find the ride over to be any kind of worry. I had planned to stay on Little Corn for a week but there was talk about bad weather coming in, the local fisher persons were taking their boats out of the water. The panga guys said if you have a flight out over the next three days you better get off the island tomorrow morning. The ride back was not any more difficult than the 1st trip.

Paris, Canada
Level Contributor
7,937 posts
20 reviews
6. Re: Corn Island Pangas

Yes, of course it will all depend on the weather. It could be a smooth ride or a bumpy one. Four days ago another person said that the sea was incredibly high.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
22 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: Corn Island Pangas

My husband and I were on both islands for a few days last month. We were prepared for the worst with the pangas after reading comments here on TA and elsewhere. We had plastic bags to cover our luggage in, foldable anoraks, etc. Didn't need any of it. Both ways the pangas were totally fine because the weather was totally fine. We had our GoPro and iphone out taking video and pictures. Really, the worst part about it was how hot it was between the warm, Caribbean sun and the fact that the boats are filled to capacity. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again and even though our luggage didn't get wet, I would bring bags and cover them just in case. If you are still concerned, your best bet is to get there a little earlier and get seats in the middle of the boat and in the middle of the row. Both islands were beautiful and full of friendly people--enjoy your trip!

Colorado
Level Contributor
47 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: Corn Island Pangas

Full disclosure here . . . we have a hotel/restaurant on LCI. This is from our hotel FAQs page:

"Ok, so you have warned us about the OPEN panga ride that can be a bit rough/wet! Do you have any advice on how we might make the ride as comfortable as possible?

Well . . . while there is no fool proof plan, we can share with you what we do when we take the panga.

When you go from Big Corn Island (BCI) to Little Corn Island (LCI) you will mostly be traveling East. This usually takes you directly into the wind and the waves. If you want to stay the driest, ride in the middle near the bow (front) of the boat. But be aware, the front is the roughest ride (sometimes "rough" is an understatement). If you want to have the smoothest ride, ride in the stern (back) of the boat. But be aware, this is the wettest (and we mean "wet") place to be.

When we ride the panga from BCI to LCI we usually try to arrive early to the dock and select a seat either farther toward the bow (yet mid boat if we are more concerned about "dry") or a little closer to the stern (yet still mid boat if we are more concerned about a less rough ride). Remember, the captain of the panga has to take in to account ALL of the factors involved of driving the panga into the waves which means that sometimes the people in the bow get a huge bump and sometimes the people in the stern get very wet. Be safe and cover your bags with plastic bags and put important papers and devices in a zip lock bag. If this is not something that you think you can handle, you may want to consider changing your itinerary to not include LCI."

We see LOTS of kids at our place from 1 to 81. Almost without exception they actually get along fine with the panga. If your child likes Disneyland, they will probably like the panga ride (sometimes it is rough, sometimes it is like a mill pond). Plus for the parents the ride is only $6, lasts 30 minutes and the salt spray is thrown in free!

You may want to check out some of the hotel website FAQs pages for LCI hotels to get lots more info on your trip.

Hope you love Nicaragua!

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
23 posts
9. Re: Corn Island Pangas

When it is windy the pangas won't run due to high waves which can mean that no one gets on or off the islands for a few days at a time. We got "stuck" on LCI for a few days in February (wind was blowing 20mph+). But it wasn't a big deal because we did this trip right in the middle of our vacation in Nica. I would recommend the same so you don't have to worry about missing a flight home. But its worth the trip! The pangas can be an adventure and you can get SOAKED, so be prepared. The engines will shut off on the boat at times as well, but they seem to get them fired up again pretty quickly.

Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
23 posts
10. Re: Corn Island Pangas

missing your B&B for the past few months since our return! Hope to get back there one day!