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“One of the best places in the world, EVER!”
Review of Casa Iguana

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Casa Iguana
Oriental, North Carolina
Level Contributor
52 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“One of the best places in the world, EVER!”
Reviewed April 20, 2011

A couple of quick notes for the readers on this review: Little Corn Island is not for everybody. If you are expecting Pina Coladas by the pool, room service, ESPN, and a wild nightlife, head on over to the million plus all-inclusives in Cancun or wherever and leave the traveling to the rest of us. If you have small kids, consider a Disney cruise/trip. (For the most part. Some seasoned kids could handle this)
If you want to experience life on a true Caribbean island as it should be, read on.

I will try to help the readers by not repeating what is in many of the reviews following this one, but to some degree it is going to happen.

Arrivals on LCI (after a rough but fun panga ride!) are met by representatives from Casa Iguana who take your luggage and escort you to the property. Along the way, you will receive a briefing on the island and the local hotspots. All of this is a huge help. Check-in is seamless-helped by an ice cold Tona-and your bags are taken to your room.

Casa Iguana is a little piece of paradise on LCI. It is a preserve that is expertly maintained. They grow much of their own fruit,produce and meat. The grounds
are painstakingly manicured. Indeed, many of our pictures are of the various walkways on the property. Rooms are rustic but extremely comfortable. We stayed in Casita #5, which was perfect. Great view of the beach, close enough to the lodge, yet with some privacy. During our week there, we never needed the mosquito netting and had zero problems with bugs. We had a private bath and an outdoor shower. The outdoor shower was very refreshing after a day on the beach. While the rooms are very comfortable, hopefully you are not in them much-we were not. We did spend some afternoons in the hammocks on the porch, having a cold one and watching the waves.

Since we are at the end of the beach, there was not alot of walk by traffic, creating a semi-private beach. Many days we did not see another person until noon or so. The snorkeling right off the beach is good and on calm days you can go way out to the break and see quite a bit. The beach is beautiful and groomed each morning. Frank will come by and crack open some coconuts for you for a $1. Very refreshing after a long snorkel. There are also 2 more private beaches just pass the lodge.

The lodge. What can I say? It is beyond amazing. The view from the deck simply cannot be described to your friends back home. Think Tahiti on steroids. The picutre on their website does not do it justice. We just came back from Australia and this view rivals if not beats anything we saw there. The food is gourmet in every respect. Kelly, the chef is simply outstanding. (she went Southern on me a couple of nights and rivaled the food from home-great job on the pork!!) My only complaint is we did not get up early enough the first few days to have the amazing breakfast. The 3 course dinners are sublime, and despite other reviewers opinions worth every penny of $15.00. We ate at many places during our stay and she is hands down the best on the island. We spent many afternoons on the deck, watching the rays and fish swimming around at low tide. Brandon makes an extrodinary rum cocktail, using freshly squeezed juices from the property. My wife fell victim to these on her birthday!! He is a great bartender and even better fly fisherman, if you want some lessons or a guided trip. Beers are always on ice, which I appreciated. (take a collapsible cooler with you to haul beers down to the beach)
There is fresh water available from a well 24 hrs. Perfectly safe, as is the water in the rooms.

The location is perfect. Town is an easy 5 minute walk. The other beach front properties are straight up the beach 5- 10 minutes.

I always try to include the challenges in my reviews so the property can improve and the readers will have a better idea. Simply put, I do not have any. We extended our trip while we were down there and came soooo close to doing it twice. It was a flawless stay. I give a great degree of credit for this to Juan Carlos, the General Manager. He has assembled a top notch staff focused entirely on customer service-and he can cook!

On a personal note--thanks to the late night ring hook gang: Doug, Dave, Aussie Jeff, Katherine and the rest for letting us into your community. Y'all are the best. We had a blast. Jackie is still the only member of the "No-Hook" club! Please give our love to Walker, Gizmo and Stella. We are sending a care package of doggie treats for them.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank NCSTATEGUY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
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English first
Ashland, Oregon
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2011

Get here before tourism takes off on this island with no roads/motorized vehicles! Little Corn Island is a gem. And if you are going to visit, you must stay at Casa Iguana. Hands down, it is the best location on the island.

Casa Iguana is on acres and acres of property , has access to three private beaches, it's own working farm, a "clubhouse/lodge" serving literally gourmet breakfast, lunches and dinners, and has complimentary free water, tea, and coffee all day (plus super nice bartenders staffing the main lodge all day) with the most amazing view on the entire island...maybe even the most amazing ocean view I have ever seen from a lodge?). There is nothing else on the island that can compare (or ever will compare) to Casa Iguana due to it's sheer location and size of private land.

The casitas (shared bathrooms) and cabanas (private shower and bath) are definitely rustic -- they are in need of a makeover. But for a reasonable island get-a-way, it was totally fine. Just be fore-warned. The room is where you sleep, not where you hang out. That's what we believe, at least. But the lodge totally makes up for it.

Casa Iguana is about a 15 min walk on a path through the jungle into town, 60 minutes to the North side of the island. The Casa Iguana property is extremely safe, and it is on the "windy side" of the island...which means that it is rarely sweltering (which is not the case for the the opposite side of the island...it is HOT over there!!) This is important to consider when you are planning your trip to Little Corn Island.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank raisedbedgardener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
36 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2011

We stayed at Casa Iguana for 5 nights in March and it was amazing! They promptly respond to your emails to book reservations and are waiting for you when you get there off the panga! It is about an 8 minute walk from the village.
We stayed in a Cabana which was $45 during the high season. It was a basic cabin with a double bed/mosquito net and desk with a safe. Best of all was that our cabana faced the ocean and on this side of the island you get a nice cool breeze and a great view from your hammock. The communal bathrooms were ok... rustic showers and an outdoor sink and they were cleaned daily. (One night someone left a chip bag in the bathroom tho and I had my first ever run in with a cockroach! eeek!)
The property is beautiful, a maze of palm-lined paths (bring a flashlight for sure!). Flowers everywhere and definitely go exploring and find private beaches within a 10 minute walk!
The lodge had free internet (painfully slow!) Drinks were a little bit on the higher end as was the restaurant food (tasted great tho!) What a view from the lodge's deck!
All of the staff at Casa Iguana were great, friendly staff at the lodge that will chat with you and give you travel advice or recommendations. The grounds staff were some of the friendliest we've met and would always say Hi.
Snorkelling was also great right off of the beach, we saw sting rays, eagle rays and a multitude of beautiful fish!
All in all, staying at Casa Iguana on Little Corn was the highlight of our trip to Nicaragua!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank cjsmith60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2011

Casa Iguana consists of a series of simple but charming bungalows nestled into a small hill on the southeast side of the island. It's the first of the beach bungalow-and-hut establishments you reach as you make your way from the more populated west side of the island to the largely tourist enclave along the eastern coastline, and it's easily one of the nicest.

The hotel's grounds are lush and tropical, and bungalows rustic and basic but comfortable: clean, comfy beds with mosquito nets; porches with hammocks (if possible, try to get a bungalow with an ocean-facing porch); a few rooms with power outlets and private outdoor showers. Inside, the bungalows can get a bit damp from the humidity, especially the ones further inland that have less open access to the ocean breeze, but while you're here you shouldn't be spending much time indoors, anyway.

We opted for one of the cheaper bungalows with shared, communal bathroom (a small hut located in the center of the hotel's garden-like setting). The showers are cold water only, but this is a common feature in budget lodgings across Nicaragua and actually refreshing given the tropical temperatures.

The staff here is friendly and casual; I got the impression that many of them are expats on extended stays of their own, working at the hotel in exchange for food, lodging, and some diving. The restaurant serves delicious New American style fare. Their $15 prixe-fixe dinner (with good vegetarian options available), which we tried a few times, is very good to great - inventive, fresh, and thoughtfully prepared. This is one of the more expensive meals you can buy on the island, but it's very reasonable given the quality of the food and the beautiful cliffside ocean views you can soak in at the restaurant's covered outdoor deck and main dining area.

I didn't get to do any diving during my stay, but I met several people who did, and they all had very positive reviews of their experience using the local shop affiliated with the hotel. The one potential downside of this place (or upside, depending on how much you'd like to get away from it all) is that internet access, available only at the restaurant-slash-reception area, is slow and expensive. If you need to spend any extended amount of time online, a quick trip over to the internet cafe at Delphine's is a better bet.

Also, if you're set on staying here, make your reservation ahead of time or take the morning panga to the island, as this place books up quickly.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank michida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2011

Little Corn is changing, if slowly inexorably. A "luxury" resort (for Little Corn) is under construction. A seaplane allows visitors to bypass the pounding trip from Big Corn by panga. And Casa Iguana now allows guest to flush waste. (Don't ask.)

Accommodations range from plywood on posts to larger plywood on post with an outside shower (solar heated). If you mind shaving or brushing your teeth at a single central sink, miserly with water, or showering, etc. at the same central facility, best stay elsewhere.

Management claims that most visitor seek simple island fare. Either management is wrong or the majority once again is daft. The $15 three-course dinners here are extraordinary, a fusion of fresh ingredients and subtle preparation. The salads are particularly fine.

Overall there is a pleasant sense of summer camp, with young staff and free-and-easy travelers.

Casa Iguana is a fantastic bargain. Last I must offer thanks for the large ice chest open to all on the front porch.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank stronghill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Davis, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2011

My wife & I just returned from Little Corn. We stayed at Casa Iguana and had a very relaxing time. The Grand Casita # 12 had a fantastic view, the food was outstanding and accommodations, while basic, were comfortable & private. If you are looking for fancy, this is not the place, however if you are looking for getaway without lot of tourists, some of the best snorkeling anywhere. great food all over the island, friendly people and lots of time to relax, this is the place.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GB&BB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 14, 2011

My boyfriend and I went to Little Corn Island for a much needed vacation, and stayed 7 nights at Casa Iguana. We rented a Gran Casita, and it was absolutely perfect- 2 futons, our bed, and enough room to stay inside and read, an area to make our rum cocktails, and the much beloved hammocks out facing the ocean. Unfortunately, for night time, there was no light on the back-porch where the hammocks were- we never wanted to go inside! It was so delicious sleeping with the windows open, the fresh breezes coming through, and waking up to the gorgeous ocean and sunrise each day. Every morning we woke up and thought: this is paradise!

Staff was awesome, I agree with other posters- no problems there. We had dinner at the lodge our first night, and while it was good, we are more into trying local cuisine and flavors. One night at the lodge there was fried chicken, another steak... I didn't travel to Little Corn to eat comfort food! Of course, eating outside of CI means carrying a flashlight and having an adventure - so I can understand why people appreciate the convenience. Similarly, the breakfasts were delicous, but again, we would rather try local spots (that were about half the price).

My only true complaint was that the beach right in front of CI was usually pretty dirty... We would end up walking up the beach to sit in front of Elsa's, because they would clean & rake their beach. At CI, the sand would be raked, but only up to a point: if you tried to get close to the waterline, you would be accosted by bottle caps, soda bottles, washed up flipflips, toys, etc. Yes, its not CI's fault that these decaying pieces of plastic wash up on their shores, but its a true downer. If everyone else is cleaning their areas, why couldnt CI?

Overall, a great place to stay.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank annieb723
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Iguana

Property: Casa Iguana
Address: East Side, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region > Corn Islands > Little Corn Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 7 Hotels in Little Corn Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Caribbean as it used to be: An island, a culture, and a way of life that hasn't yet felt the impact of the 20th century. Opening its doors in 1994, CI became Nicaragua's first eco-lodge. Relax on its 40 acre reserve and explore its secret coves, jungle and farm. Whether or not you are a guest at Casa Iguana, we invite you to join us for our famous breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy cocktails and lounging in our lodge to take in the best view on the island and meet interesting people! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Casa Iguana Hotel Little Corn Island
Casa Iguana Little Corn Island, Nicaragua - Corn Islands

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