Featured ISLA Beach and Destination: El Transito, Nicaragua
Nestled in a mile long crescent shaped cove in northwest Nicaragua, El Transito is a timeless glimpse of Nicaraguan coastal living. The village functions almost entirely as a fishing village, as each morning and each afternoon the local pontoon boats negotiate the high surf with careful precision to come and go with the day’s sustenance.
Each year during the Spring week of Easter the sleepy village transforms itself into a unique and eclectic destination getaway for the family and friends of the fishermen, and for the Nicaraguan owners of the many vacation homes that lay dormant for most the year. During ISLA’s first year as an organization, this little beach and its festive transformation become one of the first destinations of international operations for ISLA. We have made it a point to work alongside the Red Cross of Nicaragua by having a presence in this town ever since. This past year marked the first ever ISLA training course in the country of Nicaragua, the course lasted three days, involved over 40 participants from all over the country and took place at the local school and on the local beaches of El Transito.
The beach’s surf and its vicinity to other great surf breaks makes El Transito a great destination for tourists. And despite the increase in tourists and surfers to the area in recent years, the region remains relatively untouched in today’s industrial tourism standards.
Very simple and minimal sleeping accommodations can be found by walking the main dirt road of the village. There is one small market at the main intersection of the coastal road and the other road that eventually gets you to Managua, the nation’s capital. The fishermen’s catch can be purchased as early as the moments the boats get ashore, where the rest of the town will be there to bid alongside you for whatever catch the fishermen have.
ISLA will continue to provide assistance, supplies and volunteers during the busy Easter week, and utilize El Transito for its training course for Nicaragua lifeguards.
Nicaragua’s Summer (dry season) are between the months of October and March, even though the weather and water are warm year round.
The best swells are SW and SSW, but both W swells and NW swells will bring good waves. The best season is November to March where swell is rarely smaller than waist high, and usually much larger. The offshore winds rarely get too strong, and a typically side-shore wind will blow in the afternoons.
El Transito is very remote. From the capital city and international airport in Managua to El Transito, you will not see any other major town (unless you come through the colonial city of Leon). A taxi from Managua to El Transito will cost $30 – $40 and take about 2 hours. You can also rent a car in the airport or make arrangements with your housing accommodations. The road can be rough, especially after a rain storm, as much of it is dirt or washed out.
Nightlife and Restaurants
A few restaurants line the main road of town, all serving the typical Nicaraguan diet of plantains, fish/chicken/pork and gallo pinto (rice and beans). Nightlife is minimal due to the low population, but several restaurants will stay open late and sell liters of Tona and Victoria, Nicaragua’s two most popular beers. There are NO ATMs in the town, nor anywhere nearby.
Click to view El Transito on Google Maps
Read more about our trips to Nicaragua.