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“Only place that's not managed by locals...”
Review of Casa Iguana

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Casa Iguana
Reviewed April 5, 2009

... which can be either good or bad. If you like cheery American staff, lots of conversation and minding each other's business: go here! The locals of Little Corn hate this place and want to encourage tourists to stay at locally run accommodations (but don't expect much friendlyness there) which I can imagine of course.

Casa Iguana is -to my opinion- a bit overpriced, but has a lovely public room with a bar, book exchange, magazines, comfy chairs, board games and a great view over Little Corn Island's beach. The food is very good (especially breakfast) but like the cottages, a but overpriced...

Try to reach Casa Iguana from the beach side, not via the forest, as the guard dogs are not that keen on visitors. (Which is pretty strange when you're running a hostel...) Overall we had a good stay here, but for a more local experience you should walk along the beach a bit further.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank hapopstap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 19, 2009

My boyfriend and I stayed for 9 fabulous days and could have stayed longer. It took no time at all to relax into the groove of doing NADA but relaxing. Snorkeling was fabulous; although the reef was a good swim, we did it twice a day and we're no olympians. Food was fabulous w/wonderful presentation and healthy ingredient. Must admit we went for the seafood so nights they served beef or chicken, we walked to other eateries. Staff luminous, yet not in your face. Just the right amount of socializing if you want, or privacy if you want. Thouroughly enjoyed visiting w/people from all over the world and using my rudimentary spanish. But once on the beach, it was rarely occupied by anyone other than us! Paradise comes at an affordable price at Casa Iguana. Go NOW,

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank piepeople
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2009

We stayed there early February and were very pleased with every aspect of Casa Iguana.
The Casita was"Rustic" but lets be realistic when your on an Island like Little Corn you are going to spend very little time in your room. Our room Casita 2 was clean, roomy, and had a million dollar view of the Caribbean!!

Food - the food these folks pump out in that little kitchen is simply amazing, the last night we were there they did 52 dinners, Red Snapper with a buttery caper sauce over Polenta with snap beans. Pretty impressive for 15 bucks and this includes their signature cabbage salad and dessert. I would definitely recommend going into town and eating at Habana Libre, there Whole snapper and lobster on the grill are fantastic. Bridgette's was a great experience also, no menu there a nice young lady comes out from the kitchen and tells you what they have for the night. We had lobster tails in garlic butter sauce, it was 12 bucks and delicious.

The Panga Ride- there is no way to make this one sound pretty, its a harsh ride in rough seas, I found it a little nerve wracking but certainly wouldn't let it deter me from a return trip.

I don't mind eating breakfast and discussing sustainability and climate change mitigation with other travelers. Your going to find that granola, backpacker type here, no doubt about it. If that's not your gig Casa Iguana and Little Corn may not be for you. From me they get two thumbs up all around.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ESU1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2009

We found the accommodations at Casa Iguana safe and more upscale (though still rustic) for being on the more convenient (south) end of the island. The cafe in the morning, however, was full of backpackers hanging around for a free cup of coffee (even though they stayed elsewere), hippies and NGO people who talked incessantly about their work. They all were very nice, but very much the traveler/backpacker crowd. Not really the paradise and escape we were looking for. And though the service was very friendly, we found it elitist in that liberal, eco-friendly, vegan kind of way. You can see that by the top ten reasons you should NOT go to Casa Iguana posted on their web site (http://www.casaiguana.net/reasons.html). If you have an analyst, you need not apply. For real? I don't have an analyst, but it's that kind of vibe you feel when you're there. You better get laid back and loosen up, or else.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank joyNewYork_Ny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2009

My husband and I stayed a month at Casa Iguana and this gives us a unique advantage over other travellers staying a week or less have, for we got to see how and what goes on there. We are in our mid fifties...this resort is best for those in their twenties who really enjoy roughing it.

We are not spoilt, nor do we want everything to be top notched as our favorite hotel that we visit each year is a one star hotel in Cuba. I resent people putting others down because their opinion is not the same as their's, Trip Advisor is here to let people know how a traveller's experience was, not everyone is going to like every place...my experience is my own and I don't want to be put down because of what I write from the heart. Some people want to know about a resort, they need to hear the good and the bad so they can make an educated decision.

We only read great things about Casa Iguana, if there had been some negative reviews we may not have chosen this resort.

First, we stayed from mid Jan. to mid Feb. and most of the time the weather was windy and rainy. We were prepared for the weather having spent two months (Jan. and Feb. 2007) in San Andres Island (80 miles away) before. This is not the time of year to go if you want the sun. The amount of wind and rain surprised even us...I'd say we got maybe seven good weather days.

Therefore, the panga ride was horrific. There are two converging currents that meet between Big Corn and Little Corn Island and the waves can get really huge! Everyone has a panga story. I asked a couple from Wales how their panga ride was...."After ten minutes everyone was scrambling for the life vests, there was alot of screaming" she said. So that pretty much sums it up. You will not have a chance to be sea sick. The ride back to Big Corn Island is much ,more pleasant as the panga goes with the waves. The wind is another major factor in building the size of the waves. For three days the panga was cancelled because of weather so if you must get your return flight - January may not be a good time to visit. These boats are open, you sit low in the boat so the water is right there, you can reach out and touch it. If you have a bad back DO NOT go as the boat slams down on the waves with great force and there is only a small clinic on the island if you injure your back...they will not turn around and go back - it is a 30 to 40 minute ride.

Little Corn Island is a special place, it was worth the visit .

Because of the currents the beaches on the windard side of the island (which Casa Iguana is located) are covered with every concieveable type a plastic garbage from bottles to toothbrushes and the locals just ignor it. Most of the garbage comes from the mainland, Big Corn Island and Costa Rica. It may be upsetting to visitors who are use to pristine beaches.

Do not expect great snorkling or diving as the currents stir up the ocean bottom and there is very little coral to speak of as the sand kills it...but if you dive for marine life such as manta rays, sharks, porpoises and turtles then it's OK.

The woods are full of fruit trees, limes, banannas, avocado, mango and pineapples..that are free for the picking. There are no roads, just paths and no signs to tell you where you are...every path leads to someone's backyard...a smile will be greeted with a smile.

The resort is the most expensive on the island. It is located in a wonderful location, with a beautiful garden. The casitas are very pretty from the outside. But, you can do much better if cost is important to you. You can find casitas on the beach for 1/2 the price with inside showers and two double beds or a room in town with air conditioning and t.v., again for 1/2 the price. If I went back to the island I'd choose another resort...because the value isn't there. Because they are the most expensive they must be held to a higher standard.

Be prepared to live in a shed..the interiors of the casitas are substandard as is the workmanship. There are numerous holes that insects can enter...cockroaches, wolf spiders, temites etc.(we had them all visit us). We brought our own insect spray because of previous reviews. The furniture is mostly poorly handmade furniture, there is no dresser, nor a closet for hanging clothes just a bookcase and a hook on the wall. The towels and sheets are worn and need replacing. Yes, the showers are outside and they take some getting use to...the solar water heater only gives lukewarm at best ...I didn't think I'd miss a hot bath so much...try shaving your legs in a small cubicle while standing up ladies. Not one resort offers hot water so you can't hold that against them. You don't know what you'll miss until you lose it.

The casitas are OK for a week's stay but the cabins are only good for a night or two as one guest was over heard saying his cabin was "a dark dank hole". Don't stay in the cabins, for the same price you can get a casita on the beach with a inside bath that you don't have to share.

Now the staff, I agree with the other reviewers who said that the american staff are unproffessional. These staff seem to act as if they are on vacation too, if there is a problem you will be greeted with a blank stare and asked (if they speak) "What do you want me to do about it"? We were not the only ones who got this reaction. It took two weeks to get a light bulb installed in our casita. I won't even go into the response I got when I reported termites in our clothes...yes termite tubes running through our clothing and a thousand of the little critters crawling all over the place. They were in the bookcase where we had our clothing and the sink vanity. They knew over a week that we had termites and did nothing.

The staff would smile and say hi but so did every guest I met. These staff are unlike any I have ever met, they have no idea of what is expected of them.

The local staff are wonderful, friendly and work extremely hard.

The food at dinner was very good but over priced for what you can get on the island...go out and try the local resturants...they are as good or better. There is no menu, what is being served that evening is posted on a board. Be aware that Casa Iguana serves fish every other day, they offered beef only one night during our stay...other wise it's pork or chicken. I hope you like cabbage salad because it's a mainstay. If you don't tell them that you are eating out they will charge you anyway.

The breakfast is excellent...the coconut bread french toast is to die for.

I am glad I visited Little Corn Island as I have a thousand stories to tell and I got to meet some very interesting people from all over the world. But I cannot say that I would recommend Casa Iguana to my family (perhaps some) or my friends...I'd say go to Little Corn Island but don't stayat Casa Iguana...not until they improve. The owners live in the States, they are not on site.

I am glad other people had a wonderful stay there but unfortunately that was not our experience.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Happy_Girl52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2009

With so much world to see, my husband and I rarely return to a location we have previously visited, but we enjoyed our time on Little Corn so much last year that we made another trip to Casa Iguana this month. The negative reviews on this site surprise me; without fail, we found the staff to be helpful, friendly, and most accomodating. The Casa Iguana website (www.casaiguana.net) gives an excellent overview of the facilities and amenities available - if someone is surprised by the nature of the resort, he/she didn't do much research before booking. If you want up-scale comfort and a typical "resort" experience, or need to be entertained and pampered, go to Club Med. If you are looking for a low-key, low-stress vacation, Casa Iguana and Little Corn might be for you.

This is an eco-lodge on a very small island in an under-developed country. Water is heated with solar power and is available in limited amounts; electricity is provided by an on-site generator and there is no power during the night (take a small flashlight - you'll need it after dark). Cole, Gina, Daisy, Marta, and the rest of the staff at Casa Iguana are wonderful. They make every effort to be helpful - that said, there are limits to how much they can do to keep every visitor happy. All the employees we encountered, from the lodge manager to the groundskeepers, were professional, friendly, and honest. We sent laundry out to be washed, and the next day the clothes were back, along with the small amount of money that had been left in the pocket of my shorts. That wouldn't happen with the local laundry in my hometown.

One of the pleasures of traveling is exploring new cusines, and every meal we had at Casa Iguana was delicious. All meals are served in the lodge (some tables are on the back deck, overlooking the blue waters of the bay). Breakfast is basic - everyone should try the french toast made with fresh coconut bread, or the scrambled eggs with peppers, served with rice and beans. All breakfasts are served with a bowl of fresh, sliced fruits. The lunch menu is new, and I recommend the fish wrap with Thai peanut sauce. It is assumed you will be eating dinner at the lodge; if you're planning to dine elsewhere, notify them by 2 pm or expect to be charged for the meal. Meals are prepared with fresh produce from the garden and, often, fish caught that day. We enjoyed pork roast one evening; another night we were served a beautifully sauced fish over creamy polenta. This is the best food on the island, bar none. Beer, cocktails, and wine are available in the lodge. Happy hour begins an hour before dinner is served.

The casitas are basic. The powder room in the deluxe casita is small but adequate. For those of us accustomed to having unlimited privacy and hot water on demand, the outdoor shower is an adjustment. Best advice is to shower in the late afternoon when the solar hot water heater is at its warmest, and make it quick. The beds consist of a mattress supported by a platform of slats. It may not be as comfortable as the extra-firm king-size at home, but it's better than most beds at comparably priced motels in the States. Factor in the sound of the waves and the wind in the palms, and it becomes quite a bargain. The small safes bolted to the floor provide a secure place to store documents and money; anything of value that doesn't fit into the safe should be kept with you. Don't leave unsecured valuables unattended in your room. The locks on the doors will keep out the honest folks - someone who really wants in will get in. That said, I believe everyone on the staff is trustworthy. Use common sense, even on vacation.
One reviewer on this site mentioned the panga. It is a small craft that seats about 20 people, and is the way most visitors and locals travel between Big Corn and Little Corn Islands. The ride between the islands takes roughly 30 minutes, and they can be a rough 30 minutes, especially on the trip from Big Corn to Little Corn. The operators of the panga are businessmen, and getting across quickly is their primary goal. This year, we were given life jackets when we boarded the boat, and passengers are expected to put them on. On the return trip to Big Corn, the boat master wouldn't leave the dock until all passengers were securely jacketed. The seats in the rear of the boat give the least bumpy ride, and people sitting in the middle of each bench are the least likely to get wet. If you are prone to sea-sickness or think you might be, take a Dramamine tablet before starting. Expect the ride to be bumpy.
From the village and boat dock, Casa Iguana is an easy 10-15 minute walk along a dirt path through the jungle. Watch your footing - the path is uneven in places and there are often tree roots jutting up through the dirt. There is no lighting between the cement path on the village side and the boundaries of the Casa Iguana property; if you will be returning to CI after dark, be sure to have a flashlight with you. Again, use common sense. I wouldn't walk through there alone after dark, but I'd feel safer alone there than in the downtown of most US citites after dark. Little Corn has a limited police presence - you'll see the officer walking around, wearing a blue uniform and carrying an AK-47.

Some general thoughts about a visit to Little Corn: Get out and explore. You can walk around the entire island in a couple hours, even allowing for time to swim and a beer at Carlitos. If you have an opportunity to get involved with a local avtivity, do it. We spent one day helping with construction of an addition to the local school - it was a highlight of the trip. If you have the chance to attend a baseball game, take it. For a true fan, this is the game the way it should be experienced. Try the food at different places; the roast pork at Habana Libre is famous for a reason, and the fish soup available at most places is delicious. The waters around Little Corn are just spectacular. The colors range from turquoise to navy blue, with infinite shades in between. The water is warm, the white sand beaches are almost deserted, the tropical fish are fascinating. Watch out for the waves off the south end: they can get too big to kayak through. Keep an open mind and an adventurous spirit, and enjoy your time there.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Utah_Okie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2009

There seem to be quite a few delusional, spoiled reviewers on this site and I would like to just put in my 2 cents in order to help anyone else traveling to Little Corn Island.

First of all, let's face it - Little Corn Island is *not* the Bahamas, it is *not* Costa Rica and Casa Iguana is not a resort. It will be a bumpy ride to get to the island, you and your luggage will get wet, there will be mosquitos, there will not be hot water, and there will be times when the electricity does not work. If you're looking for the comfort of a traditional hotel room, look elsewhere and spare everyone else your whining & complaining. This would also do everyone else a favor who would like to keep Little Corn Island as it is - i.e. not the Bahamas or Los Cabos, but an authentic, untouristy, unpretentious island paradise where one can relax with a beer on an uncrowded beach and listen to the waves crash instead of the motors of jet skis and demands of tourists for lounge chair cocktails and umbrellas.

I found Casa Iguana to be exactly what I expected - rustic, shared bathroom and shower, small, simple cabin and spotty electricity - set within a beautiful seaside jungle, along a pristine beach, where the light shimmered through the trees and I could fall asleep to the gentle sound of ocean waves or light rain showers. The staff was extremely friendly, laid back, and helpful. Could they solve every single problem that arose such as cancelled boats or a loss of internet connection? No of course not! But Gina made a killer mojito, Mark, the chef, cooked some fantastic meals, and Cole, Kelly, and Daisy did everything they could to make my stay comfortable. Already I miss their friendly smiles and warm conversation. The same goes to the folks at the dive shop - unfortunately I did not have an opportunity to dive with them because of the weather, but I thought they were all very friendly and I'm looking forward to one day diving with them.

I would only recommend Casa Iguana to people who truly don't mind a "rustic" vacation (which is clearly not a few of the people who post on this site), and who appreciate the beauty of an unadulterated little island where the townspeople outnumber the tourists, there are no cars, and no obnoxious tourist traps, even if that means giving up certain comforts that might be offered elsewhere. I have travelled extensively to rustic and not-so-rustic places and have enjoyed both for what they have to offer. Casa Iguana is right up there as one of the best of the rustics (and, in my opinion, also outranks many of the not-so-rustics).

Thank you Casa Iguana!!! I can't wait to return!!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled solo
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5  Thank Suzy13018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 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: $20 - $105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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