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“Know before you go”
Review of Derek's Place

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Derek's Place
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Know before you go”
Reviewed 6 April 2014

I will preface this review by saying this was my husband's favorite place that we stayed out of a total of 4 while in Nicaragua. The setting is picture perfect and the bungalows are artistically constructed with lots of island craft touches. There are many wonderful spots around the grounds to enjoy the ocean and lounging. A few details that are good to know, prior to arriving at Dereks may make your stay easier. Derek and Anna are not particularly service oriented and are brief or vague with answers to questions. You can enjoy the space by eliminating expectations or dependence on them. My first recommendation to anyone traveling to the Corn Islands and even Nicaragua as a whole-bring a flashlight or headlamp. We used ours nightly here as well as during power outages along the Pacific coast. Derek"s serves dinner 5 nights a week, not on Friday or Saturday night, and only at the time Derek's family wants to eat. So other times, if you have not prepared with food in your bungalow (no refrigeration-don't ask) you will need to take a walk down a dark jungle path to have food and drinks in the evening. This is completely doable if you prepare by familiarizing yourself with the trail during the day and have a light. One of our favorite places for meals and the closest is Little Corn B&B and Bungalows. They are open throughout the day from breakfast until 8:30. Every meal there was excellent. You can also head the other direction around the end of the island and come to the Yemaya resort. Much of this walk can be done on the beach so it's a little easier to see, once you clear the coconut grove. We had a couple of meals at Dereks and both were healthy and tasty.
We rented snorkel equipment from the dive shop at Derek's. I made the mistake of only trying on one of my flippers for fit before we left the area. Just an fyi-check both and make sure snorkels are working before you get too far away.
We enjoyed our "shower" outside our bungalow which was a large barrel of water and a small bowl. Might not be for everyone, but definitely in the spirit of the location. Not sure if there are other forms of "showers" at Dereks.

Room Tip: Try to get clear details from owners beyond what is on website.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank WideWorldGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2014

Arrival at the island
Having not found accommodation at the Little Corn Beach and Bungalows, we ended up staying at Derek's for 6 days. From where the boat arrives, it is a 20-30 min walk through the forest. We were met at the dock by the very charming Lolo, who carried our cases in a wheel-barrow all the way to Derek's. Lovely rustic start to our stay on the Little Corn island, so far in line with what we had imagined this to be.

The Bottle House
We were shown to our cabin, the Bottle House. As the name suggests, the walls of this cabin (some of them anyway) are made with empty drinks bottles. An interesting touch. Derek showed us up to our room. Rustic, not in any way swish or boutique, but nonetheless with lots of charming details. The shower room does not have a shower- it has a big plastic tub, which you fill with water (which is not available all the time), and you use a little bucket to pour water over yourself. It's all part of the desert-island-living experience, right?
The best thing about Derek's is undeniably the location and the setting. You have the beautiful carribean sea right in front of you, and the forest behind. It really does feel secluded and tranquil here (other than the barking dogs who try to eat you every time you come home at night).

We found the host, however, intriguingly inept at communicating, let alone receiving paying guests. The few exchanges we had left us wondering why he was in the hospitality business at all. When we innocently asked whether we could have his mobile number, his response was colder than unpleasant. We got a "Why?" with a hint of visible and audible disdain in his voice.
A request for our light bulb to be changed met with a similar dismissive unresponsiveness.

Dining
We ate dinner at Derek's once, and the food was OK. We thought it was slightly overpriced, but then we are in a remote location, so not unexpected. Dinner is a communal affair at Derek's which may or may not be to your taste. It might be a good option if you can't be bothered to walk for 20mins through the pitch black forest to get to another eatery. I found this really quite scary at night, but I'm a total city girl. For me it was the hundreds of little crabs - as well as some big blue(!) ones - scurrying across the forest floor in complete darkness that really got me. Oh and the several crazy dogs along the way. The forest has no clear paths, so I found it very difficult to navigate with no light)

Overall, we would definitely recommend this place to someone we did not like - telling all our friends to avoid it, in favour of the Little Corn Beach Bungalows where we ate there several times, and were shows some of the cabins. Whilst they do not hit the category of rustic boutique, they do come pretty close) Contrary to Derek's, the management at LCBB was professional and friendly.

Little Corn Island is one of few remaining undeveloped islands. It has no cars, and no loud bars or discos. People obviously come here for the diving, which i found to be reasonable. Good for a week or so to switch off completely, but any longer for me personally would have been frustrating. (Perhaps I would have felt differently if I had not stationed myself so far away from everything else on the island)

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MaakT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2014 via mobile

Let me preface this by saying that my girlfriend made a mistake in our booking dates so we showed up one day late and were charged for the day we weren't there- that's fine, or bad... Take our $85


Now that being said... We walk up and Anna instantly starts in on us about how we will be charged, how we cost her money since she could have rented it to guests who would have "bought things from her"- so we should feel guilty for paying for a room we didn't use?

We ask for a late checkout the next day (later than 10am, like say 11 or 12) and are told absolutely not since someone might want to walk by and rent it... So we check out and watch our room sit unused, uncleaned etc

For 80$/night you might think there was a gym, but really all you get is a 30+ minute walk to get anywhere else on the island. I can imagine Anna thinking we are just whiny Americans, but she was incredibly rude, the place is a total rip off, the rooms are ok, she makes her cook go ask if people want dinner instead of doing anything herself, and she is inflexible and rude.


Worst place I stayed in Nicaragua or on little corn. If you don't like working with people, stay out of hospitality!

Derek seemed like a nice laid back hippy guy from our brief interaction.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank travelguy9981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DerekofDereksPlace, Owner at Derek's Place, responded to this review, 16 May 2017
Yes, it could have happened as you reported. There are only five rooms so the bookings are very important, the nights cannot be had back (not like selling sodas and the unsold can be sold next day) but if people know they cannot make it and we can rent it out to someone who would like it we can often make a compromises with the originals afterwards, depending on the situation.
As far as late checkout, the cleaning girls only work half day so they only have a limited time before they go home, otherwise the room stays a mess and the people are charged. Nothing personal, just business policy.

Take care and good luck,
Derek

PS: I don't usually quote Ronald Reagan, but he once said a hippy looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah. I am not a hippy! Just eccentric perhaps, haha.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 March 2014

Really mixed feelings about this place, but ultimately would not recommend it.

The bungalows are adorable, loved the rustic charm, location is super with a cool onshore breeze, the food is fine, not fabulous but fine. Missy, the dive instructor, is terrific.

Honestly the only problem with this place are the hosts. Specifically Anna, who is simply not hospitable.

Classic scenario:
Me: "Hi Anna, the bulbs are out in our bungalow, would you mind replacing them? No rush".
Anna: "You have to talk to Derek. That's his department".

My favorite example was the day they refused to feed us because we had forgotten to order lunch and there "was not enough food".

We had just spent the morning diving with their instructor (who is fabulous). We came off the water after four hours, tired and hungry, to be told that we should have ordered in advance and there was not enough food.

We offered to eat whatever was available, leftovers, a sandwich, anything.... The other guests, already gathered for lunch, were embarrassed and startled as Anna reacted with completed indignation and stormed away from the table, "how can you put me in this position?".

The server in the kitchen refused to give us plates to eat leftovers and we had to walk 20 minutes to the village at 2pm to get some lunch.

And this with a child? I was traveling with my 13 year old son. We were staying for six nights, and both of us were taking dive courses, ie good guests to have.

Some other classic moments were when we saw fresh milk being delivered (a rarity on the island) and I asked if my son could have a glass. He had been five days without fresh milk and was very excited at the prospect. "No, I need it all to make the cheese" was the reply.

Next day, Anna was eating the homemade cheese at breakfast. "How did the cheese work out?", I asked, knowing it was her first time to make it. "You can't have any. It's just for us. I can not give it to everybody". I am not kidding. That's verbatim.

Honestly, we are laughing now and even at the time, because it was so comical. "No, there is not enough food!!@#$" my son would mimic Anna. But really, this is no way to treat guests.

My son initially described staying there as being like house guests, because you had to fend for yourself and not expect to be waited on. But later he revised his opinion, "If we were house guests, they would give us plates to eat leftovers."

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank Dublin-DC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2014

We visited Little Corn Island in March 2014. Upon arrival we did not have reservations anywhere. We asked everywhere for accommodation our first night and could not find anything available. We stumbled upon Derek's Place. They had a last minute cancellation which freed up a nice cabin with 2 double beds in a nice cabana. The bathrooms had soap made by Anna, one of the owners. The setting on the beach with green grass was beautiful and there were relaxing hammocks around the property. Unfortunately, they only had the room available for one night but it was an excellent stay. We did go back and scuba dive with them and had a great time. High recommend!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dbcarswell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
nyc
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2014

Loved it! Interesting array of reviews on the site. We stayed in the Beach House which has a kitchenette (no fridge) which we made use of for daily breakfasts. There are critters around so I would recommend keeping food in the pots or hanging ala bear bagging it. The kitchen also lent us a large tupperware to keep food in. Else you can rent space in the kitchen's fridge for $1 per item per day. We just bought stuff that didn't spoil outside the fridge (eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, coconut bread, pineapple, rum, wine). If you are wondering what you may want to bring -- oil, salt/pepper are not supplied there although you can buy them in town or bring them in yourself. The Beach House has its own shower whereas the others use a shared one. The shower setup itself is a bucket system which was actually great I thought -- homemade soaps are provided. There are 2 small bedrooms upstairs, may be tougher for some taller people bc they are kind of in the attic. I was mostly comfortable there. If you are claustrophobic, this may not be a good hut for you. The downstairs has a bathroom, kitchen, and spacious front room as well as a wrap around deck with chairs, benches, and a hammock. This hut is the one closest to the beach. All the huts are uniquely made with mostly recycled materials. They are spaced out and have excellent views of the water.

The food was delicious - we had 2 dinners and a breakfast. It is on the pricier side but is all you can eat. Try it for yourself and if you don't want to eat there, the walk was not bad into town. I'm 6 months pregnant and was able to manage. The beach is extremely swimmable and clean. Derek and Ana were interesting and dynamic people to be around.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bluebird79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Karlskrona, Sweden
Level Contributor
126 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2014

For the most part we enjoyed our stay at Derik's Place. It is secluded. It is romantic. We stayed for 6 nights and would have happily stayed for more if we didn't have to go home.

We went into the stay with pretty low expectations given the reviews we had read. And we has two sets of friends who had stayed there before - one loved it and the other thought the value was pretty low. So we were delighted to find that it suited us just fine. We don't mind rustic (we camp and backpack a lot) and so we didn't mind the walk. We also didn't mind the bucket showers - in fact the bathroom was rather sweet.

We went into it knowing we would eat most of our meals elsewhere. In fact we ate most of our breakfasts at Derik's ($5 + $1 for coffee) but at every other meal elsewhere (Lunch was around $8; Dinner $15; Beer $2) Usually we just ate breakfast and a late lunch/early dinner. Prices at Derik's were 30-50% higher than other places on the island.

Over the 6 nights we stayed in 3 different rooms: Casita, Beach House and High Casita. The high casita was our favorite (well appointed, nice veranda) and the Beach House was our least favorite (the sleeping loft puts you right up against the thatch in the roof with an old wasp nest and mouse nest; the electrical plugs and wiring were rusted and more than a bit scary)

Ana and the kids were in Managua when we were there but Derik was around.

My one warning: During one of our moves between cabanas one of our Petzl headlamps 'disappeared' never to be found again. This was annoying because it made us have to do the walk back each night with only one light. We never got an apology. But it could have been worse. As for locking up your valuables the lock boxes in the rooms do seem to be new and you can set them with your own code.

Given everything we would stay there again (it is still one of the better options on the island)

Room Tip: Over the 6 nights we stayed in 3 different rooms: Casita, Beach House and High Casita. The high casi...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Akingfisher
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

Property: Derek's Place
Address: 54214, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region > Corn Islands > Little Corn Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 11 Speciality Lodging in Little Corn Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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