A hidden gem of an island in the Caribbean, in a place you were least expecting it: Nicaragua.
If you're looking for an island paradise but don't have a huge budget or want to get away from the crowds, Little Corn is your answer. The island has no cars, no chain hotels, no swimming pools - all transport is by foot (or helped by a wheelbarrow), accommodation consists of eco-lodges ($20-50) and beach side cabanas ($15-50), and there's plenty of room on the beach as well.
The island has been saved from mass tourism due to its small size and limited fresh water resources, which restrains the number of hotels you can build on the island. The island's character is also shaped by the complete absence of night clubs (and the crowds that flock there), but the flipside is a uniquely relaxed and peaceful atmosphere - you'll feel like you're on another planet.
The island is a haven for divers and snorkellers in particular, with over twenty dive sites within 15mins by boat and two dive shops with three to four dives every day. The diving is also among the most affordable in the Caribbean with 'fun dives' costing $35 (and multiple dive discounts available).
You'll need a flash light to walk home at night, as there are few street lights as you walk home through the jungle (don't worry - the creature you're most likely come across there is a hermit crab!), but when you get there, the night sky seems limitless because of the lack of artificial light on the island.
To get there, fly to Managua and catch either the morning or afternoon flight with La Costena, the Nicaraguan airline, to Big Corn Island (flight prices are fixed - return costs $164), and catch a 45min water taxi ride from the municipal port to Little Corn ($6). It may sound complicated, but once you arrive on Little Corn, you won't want to leave.
Information on the islands: www.bigcornisland.com/
Wikipedia page for Little Corn Island:
Little Corn Beach & Bungalow:
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