Hotel Review: Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

An eco-conscious boutique hotel on a pint-sized island where yoga is a big focus.

All images courtesy Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa.

All images courtesy Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa.

The Resort: Part of the Colibri Boutique Hotels collection, Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa sits on Little Corn Island, 70 km off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Accessible only by boat, Little Corn Island is remote, undisturbed, and the perfect setting to unplug and recharge your batteries. Given that the island is entirely road-less, the route from Yemaya to the local village is via footpath in which you walk through the jungle, across a baseball diamond with grazing cattle and past the local school. Quickly becoming a go-to destination for yoga and wellness retreats, Yemaya has hosted a slew of well-known yogis and wellness experts, who have discovered the property for its quiet, zen-like atmosphere. The resort’s footprint feels spacious yet cozy with its tree house-feel elevated wooden pathways connecting the cabanas to the main room, spa and yoga decks. The property is impeccably maintained and the rooms spacious and comfortable, each with its own oceanfront patio.

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The Facts: With 16 ocean-facing cabanas sitting between two stretches of pristine beach, the resort is eco-conscious and committed to doing their part to maintain and contribute to the positive growth of the island. Little Corn Island has a typical Caribbean climate with a dry and a wet season. Generally the dry months are February to September and the wet months are October to early January. The official hurricane season is from June to November with the worst storms rearing their ugly heads in October and November.

Yemaya Yoga

The Experience: The resort places a great deal of focus on yoga as part of the experience, overseen by Wellness Director Rebecca Gonzalez who has ensured Yemaya is well-equipped for yoga of all types. Comfortably accommodating large groups, the ‘Jungle Deck’, their primary practice area is an elevated, covered deck smack dab in the jungle surrounded by Noni fruit and banana trees. The ‘Ocean Deck’ is their ocean-facing deck suitable for smaller groups or meditative practices. The facilities are stocked with top-notch gear and they have gone to great lengths to ensure all bases are covered. The attention to detail is evident with things like insect repellent and aromatherapy oils readily available, along with stocked shelves of yoga and natural healing books for the inquiring mind.

Yemaya Food

The fare at Yemaya is fresh, local, seasonal and organic. Chef Michael and his kitchen staff are clearly skilled with their culinary creations, and with their sights set on hosting more and more yoga and wellness retreats they are trying their hand at raw, vegan fare and knocking it out of the park. The resort boasts an incredible garden where they grow everything from lemongrass and cinnamon to an assortment of exotic fruits and greens. The menu changes daily based on what is fresh, but expect to find a variety of salads, a catch of the day, fresh seafood, amazing desserts as well as vegetarian options. There is also an impressive menu of juice and smoothies to choose from, the “Master Cleanse” made with freshly made passion fruit juice, beet root, lemongrass, lime & ghost pepper (they grow them in the garden!) definitely caught our eye.

The spa is a showstopper. From its perfectly curated spa menu to the attention to detail and the professionalism of the staff, Yemaya’s spa is the perfect enhancement to your visit. With touches like fresh lemonade and a post-treatment lemongrass tea with dates, Yemaya seeks to create an experience that aligns with the feel of the resort.  The spa sits amongst banana trees with winding wooden paths between treatment rooms with private outdoor stone showers for use during treatments. The staff is very thorough and mindful of personal preferences like music selection, draping style and choice of oil (who wouldn’t choose coconut?). The spa treatments feature local ingredients, further demonstrating Yemaya’s commitment to using what the land provides. The banana & sea salt body scrub is a perfect accompaniment to a massage and the scent of fresh banana will linger on your skin all day.

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Good to Know: Given that the island is accessible only by boat, it should be noted that you will want to be prepared for inclement weather. On a nice calm day, the Panga boat ride is said to be quite enjoyable, but on a windy, stormy day it can be quite the opposite, with the ride feeling like a 40min long rollercoaster.  Be prepared for possible motion sickness, wear something that you don’t mind getting wet and hold on tight. It would also be a good idea to travel with a waterproof backpack as opposed to purses or tote bags to keep your valuables secure and dry.  If you have any serious medical or mobility issues, you will want to factor this into your plans. Because of the resort’s limited power resources and commitment to being eco-friendly, there is no air conditioning in the rooms. Instead, rooms are equipped with high-speed fans and due to the cabanas close proximity to the ocean you get strong breezes through windows and doors. Yemaya encourages guests to use biodegradable products (sunblock, insect repellent, etc) as much as possible to protect their unique environment. Wi-Fi is available in the main lobby/dining room and was very reliable throughout the duration of the trip.

Room To Book: While you really can’t go wrong with all of the cabanas being ocean-facing with stunning views, we’re partial to Cabana 5 having been our haven for the week.  Sitting right on a grassy point leading down to the beach mere steps away, this cabana is in perfect proximity to a handful of swaying hammocks, paddleboards and kayaks practically at your fingertips and the spa a stone’s throw away.  All cabanas sleep up to 4 guests. Room rates include breakfast, morning yoga class, and use of beach activity equipment.

Price: $$$

Where to Find:
Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa
Northern end, Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
littlecornhotel.com
(+505) 8239-5330
[email protected]