The town itself consists of about 300 locals, a handful of expats, a couple of surf camps, and a couple of beachfront restaurants. It is located on a beautiful bay which is great for swimming, and located directly south of some excellent surfing beaches, accessible by foot.
The town's first tourist ventures were the result of Dale Dagger, an ex-pat turned sailor whose boat beached on Gigante bay. Since then, the town has undergone development, with resorts like Guacalito de la Isla and Rancho Santana coming onto the scene.
The cheapest way to get to Playa Gigante is by bus. You have three options:
1. From Rivas, take the hourly bus toward Las Salinas. Get out at the first entrance to Gigante. From there you can either walk the 5km into town, or if you are lucky, thumb a ride.
2. If you would prefer to avoid the walk, a school bus 'El Bus Amarillo' leaves Gigante at 7:30am on Mon-Tues-Thur-Fri and goes all the way to Rivas. It comes back to Gigante the same days at 1:30pm and brings you right to the center of town. Ride takes about 1h30 and cost ~C$30.
3. From Tola, there is another school bus 'El Camion', operating Monday-Saturday and costing C$25. It leaves Tola at 12:30pm weekdays and 4:30pm on Saturdays, and Gigante every morning at 6am. The bus is easy to spot, it is colorfully painted with the handprints of the local children. A taxi collective from Rivas to Tola costs C$25.
A cab from Rivas should cost no more than $20.
There are also a few local businesses who offer a bus stop pick-up from the main road.
Everything you could ever want to see in Playa Gigante is accessible by foot. Some local businesses and fishermen will rent their pangas for a day of surfing or fishing as well. Kayak rental is available in town.
English is quite widely spoken in the town, more so than is typical for Nicaragua, although Spanish will help of course.
Camino del Gigante hostel run a great catamaran trip on Tuesdays for US$10 along the coast, stopping for swimming/snorkelling. All-you-can-drink punch included, open to guests and non-guests alike.
Options in and around town include :
Several options in the town. Prices are not as low as in some parts of Nicaragua (typically C$120-C$300 for a main dish as of March 2012) but food is generally very good in El Gigante and it's hard to go too far wrong whichever restaurant you choose.
There is wifi in some of the more expensive hotels, and at the hostel. The purchase of a coffee will get you the code.
There is a bus that leaves from in front of the "Blue Sol" Restaurant at 6 am, Mon-Fri, going to Tola or a 7:30 am bus to Rivas.
Hitch to the junction and take a chicken bus coming from Las Salinas to Rivas - you may even be lucky and get a ride the whole way. A taxi should cost no more than US$10-15 to Rivas. For Popoyo, take the bus from the junction all the way to Las Salinas.