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“Our perfect hippie dream house experience with own dive center”
Review of Derek's Place

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Derek's Place
Reviewed 7 December 2013

We finished our 3-week Nicaragua holidays here. This was the best we could do. Derek's Place is beautifully located on the northern shore of the island and we always had a cooling wind that made the sleep here the best in our whole holidays. We were one couple and 2 friends traveling together, so we rented the biggest house (beach house) that in my opinion is also the most beautiful one. It has a spacious living area, a large kitchen, 2 small sleeping rooms upstairs (very low ceiling as it is directly under the roof... this is actually something that not everybody might like, but you can ask Derek and he will give you a additional mattrass that you can place in the large living room and sleep there if you prefer) plus two very large terraces outside. This house is located only a few metres from the shore, so you are living super close to the beach.
The food is very tasty and plenty. We prepared breakfast most times on our own in the kitchen, as some of us are vegetarian/vegan and most breakfast dishes that were vegetarian included eggs. But anyhow you could enjoy a fruit plate or some bread with self-made marmalade if you prefer (or all the omelettes and other eggs that were available). Lunch was actually the best food in my eyes, at it was cheaper (8 Dollar) and plenty. You can eat as much as you want, as all the dishes are placed on the table and you can just take whatever you like. Dinner is more expensive, but normally also more fancy with grilled meat or fish. If you prefer vegetarian, they always do their best to offer you something extra vegetarian, but mostly I was happy and satisfied just to leave the meat/fish aside.
The place itself is somehow magical. It is overgrown with soft green grass, some half wild parrots are living here together with Dereks dogs, cats and chicken. The beach is beautiful and inviting for a swim and best of all: There is a diving center on site with the most lovely diving instructor you can imagine. After having had a dive for the first time in our lives, my husband and I decided to do the padi open water course here. This was the best decision we could have made. The course is a little bit more expensive than in the big diving centers in the village, but we had the instructor Missy all to ourselves. Here are no big groups. We also saw her several times going out with the boat only with one additional diver. And we did our course always only the two of us and her. She is also a person that seems to live for the diving sports like noone else I have met. She was super passionate and also very serious about us learning all the important security stuff. We felt super safe with her and to dive with her and to experience her beautiful and joyful nature was a gift. Thanks again for the beautiful time! So if you want to dive or learn diving: do it here in "the little dive shack by the sea".

Room Tip: The beach house is the best, spacious and airy.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank davidnico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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59 - 65 of 150 reviews

Reviewed 3 December 2013

This was my boyfriend and my first trip to Nicaragua and we really couldn't have stayed at a better place. You take a ferry from Big Corn Island to Little Corn Island and then it's a bit of a hike through a jungle path to Derek's Place. Just when you begin to think that you may have made a horrible mistake, you start to hear the waves against the shore and the dirt path widens out and your gaze settles on the grouping of charming cabanas that is Derek's. Ana greeted us right away and showed us around the place, showing us our cabana (a charming two room hut with a surprisingly comfortable bed, electricity, plumbing, and a small porch with hammock and chair). Derek's is set a bit away from most of the other hostels on Little Corn Island which was both an asset and a drawback. It felt more remote that way and the two of us being in our early thirties, we didn't really fancy hanging out with the backpacking kids that were staying at the other hostels on the other side of the island. It felt like a real "get away". The beach that was steps away from our cabana had so little foot traffic it felt like our own private beach. The only drawback to the remote nature of Derek's was that at night as there are few streets or street lights on Little Corn, it gets pitch black and the dirt paths that take you to the other side of the island were a little daunting at night. Overall we loved the entire stay. The last night we were there we had a nice long chat with Derek, Ana, and a friend of theirs. Overall great place perfect for couples, friends, or even small families.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lele D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2013

We loved Derek's Place, though we think it should be Derek and Ana and Lola and Suraya's Place - an amazing family, delicious healthy food, and simple cabins by the beach surrounded by nature and the sea. If I had to plan this trip again, I would spend all my time right here! This is the perfect destination for anyone who truly wants to get back to nature, but not for those who need internet, hot water and cell phone service on site.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank maracujagirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2013

The place looks very pretty and I don't want to take away from that, but the reviews on this site are very misleading.

The hotel is run by Ana and Derek, and you will eat with them at their table for most meals (place is secluded). Which would be fine, except for the fact that they are extremely negative, very angry depressed people. Seclusion they have, but you can tell they are not happy. Ana gets angry at pretty much everything anybody does. She's a very bad communicator, expects you to obey her rules, even though she doesn't tell you what any of them are. She is clearly very depressed and angry, and it's sad, but also not good to watch her take it all out on her family and her guests by belittling everyone and giving angry stares. The negative energy is infectious and always palpable when she is around. It usually revolves around money etc...they are the kind of hippies that act like they are very chill and laid back but are very uptight when it comes to money and will treat guests very poorly if they are not getting every last dime from them (tours, boat rides, laundry, prcey meals)

Keep in Mind, this is all VERY important because you are basically living with them and there is no other communal space other than their living room (the cabanas are tiny). They make you feel like you are intruding on their personal space when you eat meals with them, even though you are paying for the meals and they are incredibly overpriced for the region (although the meals were tasty). Derek is a good cook, and probably a better person than Ana, but he has clearly spent too much time around her negative energy. He acts like he's your daddy at the dinner table which is very awkward.

Steve was a breath of fresh air, he is more positive, and actually tries to talk to guests and make them feel comfortable.

p.s. - if you fail to heed this warning, well, so be it...

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank Joe T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2013

Loved loved loved this place. Been telling all my friends about it. Costa Rica and Panama have their perks but Nicaragua is a gem and this place might be the best one. A truly rustic, low key and unique destination. We slept well, and ate well. How can you beat fresh fish caught right off the coast of the island. The bugs are not an issue about 90% of be time because of the constant ocean breeze. My expectation for the diving accommodations were exceeded, they had better equipment than anyone else I have dived with in the Caribbean, the night dive was stunning! Derek an his wife made us feel like family.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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3  Thank Natalie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2013

When you leave Derek's place, you'll feel like you're leaving home. It's absolutely the place to stay if you're really looking to enjoy the island in its natural form.

My boyfriend and I stayed here for one week, and both agreed that we were so glad we hadn't stayed in the touristy feeling places like beach & bungalow. There's something hypnotic about the grounds...bouncy grass, chickens milling about, local kids playing by the ocean, complete seclusion from the rest of the island, and a strong sense of community among the guests who stayed there -- something I thought I wouldn't like, but actually came to love. Come to think of it, most of the things I thought I wouldn't like about the place, were actually the things that made the experience so special. The showers are buckets, from which you pour bowls of water on yourself, an after-beach ritual that made my showers at home seem rather overdone, to be honest. The wind was strong, but unnoticeable After two days on the island, and a blessing at night to ward off the heat and Mosquitos. The family dinners were delicious, and though I thought this would be obnoxious to have to eat with other guests, it actually inspired a lot of human moments between people who would have otherwise remained strangers. The trek to town, which we did just about every day, can be done either by beach or jungle, and came to be a great reason to explore the island and take in the scenes around you. The walk at night seems long and a little scary (crabs, spiders, rogue jungle chickens), but became somewhat of an adventure, especially after a few shots of rum in town. The occasional roach in the cabin became just another moment in which to relish the realities of island life. Ana and Derek are great people who have crafted a life for themselves and their children on a tiny island. They take a few days to get to know, but once you do, you realize that your experience at Derek's place is a direct result of their genuine desire to share their little piece of home with their guests.

Walk twenty minutes on the beach, and you'll be in town. Walk five minutes the other way, and you'll be on the best white sand beaches the island has to offer. Bring a flashlight, bugspray, sunscreen, flip flops, and a bathing suit. You won't need anything else.

What I appreciated most was the fact that they left so much of the place undone. That is to say, they didn't try to force the place to be something that would appeal to your average American tourist, instead they made it comfortable, but let the island's beauty steal the show. Our experience there was magical, relaxing, and truly special. I'd absolutely recommend it to anyone who is looking to really get away from it all.

Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
7  Thank Melanie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2013

We immediately felt misled by all the positive reviews upon arrival. We'd read a lot about Little Corn and excitedly booked the two story house (which is really a one story house with a sweltering attic where people hit their heads on the low ceilings and lie in their beds awake) at Derek's place for a few nights. The walk is as advertised—a long way from most of what's on the island. The little beach there is nice. But basically nothing else was as the other reviews suggested. Maybe this place is good for diving? We heard it had the least expensive dive set-up on the island. We didn't stay to find out.

Anyway, to flesh out our experience: When we arrived, Anna hurriedly showed us the house, the lengthiest part of our welcome being a demonstration of the tedious door-barring security system and an admonition to hide our valuables, because otherwise someone would see them and break in and steal them. She also told us to open the upstairs windows, which would help with the bugs at night. Additionally, she told us that many of the lights were out, but she'd send Derek back to fix them (why this hadn't been done before we arrived was a mystery.) We unpacked and waited for the communal dinner at eight, since we didn't want to hike back to town in the dark and we were tired from the day of traveling. Derek eventually came by and fixed some but not all of the lights. We took "showers"—which involved scooping harvested rainwater from a bucket over our heads with a bowl.

At about 7:30 we went over to the "living room," which is a covered area by the kitchen. Derek was on his computer. His parents were visiting, on their computer and reading. His brother was there, too, sleeping in a hammock. We had brought books with us but expected some kind of greeting, or invitation to have some water or buy a beer, or anything in the way of salutation. No such thing was forthcoming. Eventually we just sat down and read. After a little while I stood up and asked Anna about water. She pointed to a cooler in the corner. Then I asked about other drinks. She explained how all that worked as if the question were an annoyance.

The communal dinner was awkward and far too expensively priced for what it was. We retreated to our accommodations and suffered, sweating on the old spring-loaded bed, bugs swirling around our inadequate mosquito net set-up for a number of fitful hours. We made it through just one night before having a difficult conversation with Anna about our unpleasant experience, at the conclusion of which she required us to pay for all three nights although we were only going to stay for one—my wife had made up her mind that we would leave the island if Derek's was the only place available to stay.

In any case, I'm not inclined to write negative reviews, but based on our night's experience, I really couldn't recommend this place to anyone. Your money will be better and more pleasantly spent at Little Corn Beach and Bungalow or Casa Iguana, in my opinion.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Ybanov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Derek's Place

Address: 54214, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region > Corn Islands > Little Corn Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 11 Speciality Lodging in Little Corn Island
Price Range: £8 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Friendly eco-oriented hotel. Solar panels and windmills. Right on the beach, 15 minute walk through the beautiful tropical foliage. For those seeking quiet and tranquility at an affordable price. Welcome, one and all! Snorkeling, restaurant with wood-fire oven baked food, and nearby horse-back riding. Have a good day and a wonderful stay! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Derek`s Place Hotel Little Corn Island
Derek's Place Little Corn Island, Corn Islands, Nicaragua

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