Surfing originally put Montañita on the map and we promise that this tiny coastal town won’t disappoint. Known as a place to catch some good waves, or learn how to surf in the first place, things have gotten a little more rambunctious recently. To put it simply Montañita has also become a massive party destination for backpackers in Ecuador (even touting ‘Full Moon Parties’ like the famous beach parties of Koh Phangan, Thailand). If you decide to head to this rowdy town prepare for at least a little bit of mayhem.
That’s not to say that partying and surfing are the only things that Montañita has to offer. There is also an amazing Spanish school which offers week long classes and surf lesson packages to those looking for a more sophisticated Montañita experience. The town itself can also be quite calm during the weekdays, where fruit shakes, yoga, and massages can easily replace cocktails if you so choose. Weekends however are a completely different story when Ecuadorians from the surrounding towns pour in, meaning that the bars and the beach will both be undoubtedly packed.
The saying goes that it’s easy to get stuck in Montañita and it’s not hard to see why. If the plethora of activities doesn’t get you the unrelenting hangover most definitely will. Luckily ‘Que pasa en Montañita queda en Montañita!’
Places to Stay:
- Las Cabañas: A two minute walk from the center of town is Las Cabañas, resort style accommodations for the budget traveler. This place has a Jacuzzi, pool, communal eating area, and both dorms and privates. Connected to the Montañita Spanish school many guests here spend their days practicing their Espanol and surfing, because of this The Cabañas sports a tights knit community which will make you feel welcomed the second you walk in. You’ll instantly make buddies to hit the beach with and order a few cocktails with when the sun sets. The Cabañas also organizes activities for guests such as volleyball games and Friday night BBQ’s.
Las Cabañas feels more like a resort than a backpacker hostel, that’s for sure!
- Nativa Bambu: Set high on the hill overlooking town this place feels more secluded and quiet than other places. Cabanas include their own private balconies complete with hammocks and incredible ocean views. A great full breakfast is also included in the price!
- Kundalini: With ocean views this tasteful hostel was designed with the aesthetics of Montañita in mind. The building itself was created without any environmental or visual impact on the community. The social area is seaside meaning you’re never far from Montañita’s main attraction!
Things to Do:
- Learn Spanish: Montañita Spanish School has been recognized as one of the worlds leading Spanish learning institutes and it’s easy to see why. Both private and group classes are offered for any level with the schools impressive selection of qualified and trained teachers. Plus when the classes end the town is your playground for putting what you’ve learned to the test!
Private Spanish lesson at Montañita Spanish School
- Surf: The waves are good, the surfers are hot, and the vibe is just right for testing out your own skills on a board. Head further into the surf to catch some pretty gnarly waves or stay closer in the white wash and mess around as a beginner. Classes are available as are rental boards.
Test your skills with surf lessons while in Montañita
- Go diving: Little known secret, that we were only recently let in on, Montanita has some of the best diving in the world! Otro Mundo dive school offers certification courses, one day dive experience, and even onward dive trips to the Galapagos if you fancy something pretty unforgettable!
- Yoga and Massage: After a whole lot of partying a little relaxation might be exactly what you need. Luckily Montañita offers plenty of options to take a deep breath and say om.
- Hit the gym: If you party hard you also have to work out (unless beer belly’s are your thing). Montañita has a few good gyms with modern facilities that can help you stay in shape.
- Parasailing: On Montañita’s main beach you can organize parasailing trips for a birds eye view of the town and sea.
- Party Hardy: Head down to cocktail alley and get ready to loose all inhibitions. The cocktails are strong and the general attitude means that as the night progresses anything goes. Plenty of discotecas crowd the towns streets with pumping bases and competing tunes, finding a place to dance is guaranteed.
Cocktail alley… $3.00 for any drink you can imagine
Some of the best nightspots in town
1. Cana Grill: Located right on cocktail ally this place isn’t hard to stumble into. A sand dance floor, dim lighting, and live bands make this a popular spot. Head here on Wednesday for a particularly big crowd.
2. Hola Ola: This spot gets going on Thursdays with one of the most popular lady nights in town. During the day the venue is an extremely popular restaurant with a great variety of western meals as well as Israeli specialties.
Hola Ola- restaurant by day discoteca by night
3. Nativa Bambu: This massive beach front discoteca is housed in a mighty impressive structure made of, you guessed it, bamboo. This place is the towns largest discoteca giving you plenty of space to show off your dance moves.
Montañita’s amazing beach, the reason you come in the first place
Getting There and Away:
- From Guayaquil direct buses head to Montañita daily, with the last one leaving at 4:30pm. If you miss that bus catch a bus to Santa Elena and then onwards to Montañita.
Where to Head Next:
- Ayampe: Ready to walk away from the party for a bit? This coastal town is the exact opposite of Montañita, expect days filled with surf and nights filled with nothing but sleep.
- Isla de la Plata: Touted as ‘the poor man’s Galapagos’ head here if you want to catch a glimpse of blue footed boodies, sea turtles, and whales without the cost of a trip to the Galapagos themselves.
- Guayaquil: Ecuadors largest and most populous city. This coastal metropolis is a fantastic hub for onward travel and commercial splendor.
By Tyler Protano-Goodwin