For Ben’s short trip to South america we decided to head to the coast and stay in one spot for a couple of days. Could not recommend Montanita enough, it is the perfect place to spend five nights by the beach and experience both the chilled atmosphere a surf town brings along with the fun party spirit at night. I only wish we could have had more time exploring more of the beaches up the coast as I have heard they are equally if not more beautiful.
We stayed at esperanto hostel and would recommend it. There are a lot of hostels here that are not on hostel world from what we could see so if you do not mind just showing up then that might be a cheap option.
We flew from Lima to Guayaquil and then followed the below steps however there are buses arriving into Guayaquil all the time from over Ecuador and parts of Peru if you do not get a flight.
Buses leave from Guayaquil regularly throughout the day and run up the coast. To get one there is no need to book just turn up to the bus station and find the company, CLP. The bus station is huge and overwhelming but they are up on level three. Cost is 5.45 USD for the 2.5 hour journey. You get off at the last stop and will be right in the middle of “town”.
WHAT TO DO:
Montinata Spanish school – If you are staying for a long period of time (a week or more) look into the packages to stay here and study Spanish, surf and do yoga. Really cool environment and a great surf teacher. We did surf lessons here for the week for 80 usd. 2 hours a day for five days. Lily also did a Spanish course for the five days. Note: Usually you can only do the surf lessons if you are doing Spanish as well. They have a cabanas where you can stay as well with all the students and it is a great way to meet people.
Otherwise just learn to surf and relax. Check out Olon beach next to Montanita as well for more beginner waves.
WHERE TO EAT:
Buena Onda – Best coffee in Montanita according to the bf. Also have smoothies, acai bowls and have a small food menu of sandwiches which are yum! Get the crazy ham. I ordered it more than once.
Breakfast alley – These little stalls will serve you breakfast for a very good price. Portions are big so do not over order. You can get crepes, pancakes, fruit salads with granola and yogurt, fresh juices, omelettes and so on. Juices are USD$2, and the food is between USD$3-5.
Papillon – More expensive than some of the other options and we found the food to be a bit average so don’t feel bad if you miss this one.
Tiburon – Thai food upstairs above one of the roads in the main part of town. They also have other things on the menu like empanadas but we ordered the green curry/pad thai and it was really good.
Cana grill – Burger place, pretty good burgers for around USD$5.
Ezzios – Really good pizza for USD$3 and the individual is enough for one person. Only went once but really it is one of the better options around town.
Tiki lounge – Lunch menu for USD$6 some days which is quite good. Normal menu looks good too but it’s a bit more expensive.
Pigro – Italian food, bit more expensive than your normal but for USD$10 you can have an amazing italian pasta. We had seafood pasta and they were huge and delicious.
Fish and chip shop – Just down from Buena Onda there is a fish and chip shop where you can get chip buttys, fish and chips and a few other things. Pretty good and cheap.
WHERE TO DRINK/GO OUT:
Cocktail Alley – These stalls are like the breakfast ones but down the other end by the beach and serve you pretty much any cocktail you can think of for USD$3-5 dollars. All nights will begin here and most people start drinking quite late around 10.30-11pm.
Cana grill – Good place for partying at night. Wednesdays and Fridays are good. Does not kick off until after 11.
Lost beach club – Massive club right on the water, when we were here it never really got that busy but it has huge potential and I think they sometimes have events which bring in the crowds. Cool to go check out anyway – wish we had something like this at home.