Corn Islands include Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island, approximately 70 km (43 miles) northeast of the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua off the Atlantic Coast city of Bluefields. The islands are tropical paradises in the Caribbean Sea with exotic fruit trees, native palms and surrounded by white sand beaches.
The islands were a haven for pirates and buccaneers in the 17th century with numerous shipwrecks and treasures still lay scattered along the turquoise shores of the Corn Islands.
The Corn Islands still offer a room for less than US$10 in a family-run hospedaje and excellent dinners from street vendors for US$1.50. Adventure travelers seek out the Corn Islands for their fishing (flats and offshore), scuba diving, snorkeling and open water swimming.
Big Corn Island (Isla Grande del Maíz; often simply referred to as Corn Island; Isla del Maíz) has an area of 10 square kilometers (3.9 sq mi). Little Corn Island (Isla Pequeña del Maíz), with an area of 2.9 square kilometers (1.1 sq mi).
The Corn Islands, along with the eastern half of present-day Nicaragua, was a British protectorate from 1655 until 1894, a period when the region was called the Mosquito Coast. At one time, the islands were frequented by Caribbean pirates. In 1894, the Nicaraguan government claimed the area.
As of early 2009, local authorities estimate the population of Big Corn Island to be 6,200, and that of Little Corn Island to be 1,200. The islanders are English-speaking Creole people of mixed black heritage. In recent years there has been substantial internal migration by Spanish-speaking mestizo people from Pacific Nicaragua, and, increasingly, by Miskito people from the Caribbean mainland around Puerto Cabezas. English, long the island's principal language, is being supplanted by Spanish and Miskito.