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El Transito

El Tránsito has a reputation as a very isolated fishing village, but the seaside spot can actually be easier to reach than El Velero and offers more services than Miramar. A riptide current and lava seawalls also create nice swells close to shore (sometimes a little too close – this can be board breaking territory).

The rough dirt road between the old León-Managua highway and El Tránsito can be the most daunting transportation challenge…until you realize that pickup trucks run frequently between the highway and town. The trips cost between C$15 and C$20; if you’re lucky enough to flag down a private vehicle you may even be able to get there for free.

El Tránsito, like many coastal areas, was destroyed by a tsunami in 1992. The Spanish government helped rebuild much of what was lost, with most residents moving up a hill and away from the sea.

The town center is paved, but there is not a whole lot of interest (other than a park in homage to the Spanish), so head down the increasingly rough streets to the seaside, where you’ll find local hangouts like Bar Primavera (Mains: C$200 to C$350; 505-8-603-1013; open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; from the high school, two blocks south). Owner Jenny Castro-Ordeñana serves up nacatamales and a mouth-watering daily fish plate. She can also help you find a boat to rent or a room in town, although you’re better off walking along the beach to the stunning Ocean Hotel, located at the same site where one of Samosa’s generals once had his extravagant vacation home.

Owner Roger Wittenmyer has revived the general’s amazing swimming pool (built behind a lava rock wall and fed by waves lapping over the top) and has completely rebuilt the upper complex.

The hotel’s five rooms (three in the main building and two cabins) are as clean and elegantly simple as the breeze off the sea. The rooms ($65 to $75 or double during high holidays) have air conditioning, queen beds and, even in remote El Tránsito, wireless internet. Ask for Room 3, which also has a private balcony.

The hotel has several terraces where you can jump in a hammock and take in the sweeping views of the beaches below. Ocean Hotel’s remote location also means that you’ll probably have the entire complex to yourself.

Wittenmyer can arrange for airport transfers, boat rentals and special meals, if you call him in advance (505-8-431-2191/ 505-2-645-4568;

Advance reservations are recommended.

To get to El Tránsito, hop on any of the regular buses that travel between León and Managua along the old highway (express and micro buses use the new León-Managua highway) and ask to be let off at the entrance to town. Pickup trucks make regular stops to take passengers the rest of the way to El Tránsito.




Other places nearby El Transito: Puerto Sandino, Poneloya, Padre Ramos Estuary & Nature Reserve, Chichigalpa, Jiquilillo, Chinandega, La Paz Centro, Potosi, Playa Aserradores and Puerto Morazan.

By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
26 May 2009

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