Updated March 19th, 2019.
Surfing originally put Montañita on the map and for this, we promise that this tiny coastal town won’t disappoint! Known as a place to catch some gnarly 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 excellent 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 ‘Lo que pasa en Montañita queda en Montañita!’ (What happens in Montañita, stays in Montañita!)
Where to Stay in Montañita – Top 5 Hostels & Hostels From $5 US/Night!
1. Hidden House Hostel – From $5 US Per Night
If you’ve come to Montañita looking to party, then follow the music to well-renowned surf hostel Hidden House Hostel! Boasting budget dorms from just $5US per night, great surf lessons and the cheapest big beers in town, Hidden House is the perfect spot for meeting other travellers. With different activities every night, it won’t be long before you’ve broken the ice and are playing wingman for your new travel buddy in one of Montañita’s many clubs! With great communal areas and a party vibe, this is certainly the best hostel to get the drinks flowing! Check out our full review of Hidden House Hostel, Montañita here.
2. Esperanto Hostel – From $8.50 US Per Night
For the perfect balance of sun, surf and social scene, make sure you head to Esperanto Hostel. Unlike some of the party hostels in town, Esperanto Hostel offers a buzzing backpacker community without the messy follow-up. Here you can enjoy evening activities like BBQs and beer pong or instead take in the beach sunset from the hammocks on the upstairs balcony. All of the staff at Esperanto are outstanding and really go the extra mile to make your stay special. Dorm beds start at just $8.50 US per night and includes a decent breakfast. Wake up to the sounds of the sea and spend your days surfing the waves! Read our full review of Esperanto Hostel here.
3. Hostal Moai – From $9 US Per Night
Located far enough from the chaos of town but close enough to be convenient, Hostal Moai is a popular spot for travellers. They offer both dorm beds from $9US per night and private rooms from $42US. Breakfast is included in the room rate and goes down a treat with hungry surfers! There is French toast or eggs, fruit salad, fresh juice and either tea or coffee. With plenty of hammocks, this is a great option for backpackers looking to chill out, a stone’s throw from the beach.
4. Montañita Cabañas – From $19 US Per Night
A two-minute walk from the centre of town is Montañita Cabañas, a resort-style accommodation for the budget traveller. 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 practising their Español and surfing, because of this The Cabañas sports a tight-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.
5. Kundalini – From $23 US Per Night
With ocean views, this tasteful hostel was designed with the aesthetics of nature 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!
The Flashpacker Choice! Nativa Bambu – From $140 US Per Night
Set high on the hill overlooking town this place feels more secluded and quiet than other places with an enormous swimming pool complete with ocean views. Cabañas include their own private balconies complete with hammocks and incredible sea views. A great full breakfast is also included in the price. Stay here if you really want to treat yourself!
Things to Do in Montañita Ecuador
Montañita Spanish School has been recognized as one of Ecuador’s 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! Find out more about their Travelling Classroom Immersion program here.
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 whitewash and mess around as a beginner. Classes are available as are rental boards.
On Montañita’s main beach you can organize parasailing trips for a birds-eye view of the town and sea.
A little-known secret, that we were only recently let in on, Montañita has some of the best diving in Ecuador! Otro Mundo Dive School offers certification courses, one-day dive experience, and even onward dive trips to the Galapagos Islands if you fancy something pretty unforgettable!
Yoga, Massage and Health
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. 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.
Nightlife in Montañita
Head down to the cocktail alley and get ready to lose all inhibitions! The cocktails are strong and the general attitude means that as the night progresses anything goes. Plenty of discotecas crowd the town’s streets with pumping bases and competing tunes, finding a place to dance is guaranteed.
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 specialities.
3. Nativa Bambu: This massive beachfront 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.
Getting to Montañita
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: Ecuador’s largest and most populous city. This coastal metropolis is a fantastic hub for onward travel and commercial splendour.