Twice daily flights from Managua deliver a few handfuls of astute beach lovers to the Corn Islands, 70km off Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. Life on Big Corn and Little Corn is about as simple as life can get. Forget the luxuries normally associated with the Caribbean, these islands are so far off the tourist map that you'll have trouble paying more than a few dollars for a lobster dinner. English is the lingua franca, thanks to the islands' long history as a British protectorate from 1655 to 1894.
Accommodation is simple, relaxed and as basic as can be, and that's the secret of the Corn Islands. You're not here to be pampered or look good, you're here to escape from all that, to draw breath, and to revel in the sparse beauty of the beach, the sky and the blue-green sea. Take your snorkel, a powerful sunscreen, and a moderate mosquito repellent. Leave the rest behind.