El Transito is a fishing village that hugs the Pacific Ocean on the coast of north-central Nicaragua. Home to about 2,200 people, it’s reached only by an hour-and-fifteen-minute rumble along a dirt road from Managua.
Although relatively unexplored by tourists, the village has a crescent-shaped beach and world-class waves that are attracting more and more surfers, who stay in lodges by the water. At dawn on a typical weekday, a bus horn pierces the quiet, calling those who travel to Managua for work. During weekends, the town livens up as young people flirt and loud music plays through the night and into the morning. The power may cut out intermittently, but that never stops the party.
There aren’t many job opportunities in El Transito; the most common work is fishing for men and domestic service for women, who are paid the equivalent of about six dollars for an eight-hour-plus day. The 2013 high school graduating class had twelve kids, of whom just two went on to further education. Conditions are less than ideal at school; the teachers get only one copy of the main textbook for each subject, and children rarely get to see it. Instead they might see black and white copies of a few pages.