Montanita Travel Guide

The Pacific Coast of Ecuador is lined with beach towns.  Some of these towns are small villages where local fisherman and Ecuadorian sand-seekers bump shoulders.  Others, like Montanita, are much more set up for foreign travellers.  Over the past couple years Montanita has become the hideaway for the hippies of the world.  It has also become a popular weekend destination for English teachers and Spanish students coming to town from Guayaquil and Quito.  With one of the best beaches in Ecuador, one of the best surf breaks in the region, and a great laid-back atmosphere Montanita is a great little getaway.  Like many of the beach towns on this coast, if you stay in Montanita long enough you’ll begin to feel more like a part of the community than a tourist.

Montanita, Ecuador

The beach at Montanita

 Things to do in Montanita

It goes without saying that people come to Montanita for the beach, and if all you care to do is lay on the beach all day no one is going to stop you.  However, if you’re looking for more of an adventure you can find that here as well.

Montanita, Ecuador

Catching a wave at the point break

  • Surfing: Montanita has a couple really good surf breaks.  The beginners will find a nice easy beach break along the entire beach.  Those looking for a longer more exciting wave will head to the north end of the beach where there’s a great point break.  If you want to rent a board the going rate is about $5 an hour or $20 for a day.  You can also rent a boogy board for $3.  There are a number of places in town offering lessons as well.
  • Canopy Tour: Just outside of town there is a zipline.  Tours of the zipline can be organized through your hotel and the going rate is about $20.  Personally, I think there are better lines in the world, but if you haven’t done it, it is worth a go.
  • ATV Tours: A couple companies in town offer tours on ATVs out in the countryside.  They are valued at about $45-60 depending on the tour you’d like to do.
  • Horseback riding: Again, this is not in town but can be organized in town.  There are a couple different rides available including one to a waterfall.  The cost is about $15
  • Paragliding: Paragliding is done in a town just south of Montanita where there is a cliff and some thermals for a coastal ride.  If the winds are good the paragliding here is supposed to be very good and will only cost you about $30 for a 15minute ride.

Where to Eat

Montanita, Ecuador

Lobster at Hotel Montanita

The food selection in Montanita is actually very good.  If you enjoy good food there are lots of places to get it, although it is a bit on the expensive side.  If you’re on a budget there are loads of vendors selling $1.50 hamburgers and empanadas too.

  • Tiki Limbo: Most of the staff is Argentinean and the food has that hint as well.  The atmosphere is great here as well and it’s a fun place to people watch. Try the steaks or Lomito Argentino.  Be warned that the portions are huge. (meals $8-12)
  • Hotel Montanita: Probably the second best food in town next to Tiki Limbo.  It is also a great place to people watch.  Also, if you’re hoping to get some lobster this is the place in town to do so. (meals $6-12, lobster $25-35 depending on the size).

Where to Stay

While in town I stayed at the Charos Hotel which was great.  I do, however, have some other recommendations of places I stopped in to have a look at.  Remember to that if you’re going to Montanita on the weekend or during a holiday it is best to book ahead of time.
  • Charos Hostel: The biggest benefit is that it has a pool, jacuzzi and a bar.  The rooms are nice and always have lots of hot water. It’s also off the main strip so a little bit quieter.  Ask for a room with an ocean view. (singles $20, doubles $30).
  • Tiki Limbo: The Tiki Limbo is a really nice hotel right on the main strip.  The downside is that being on the main strip means it is noisy.  If you get a room towards the back it might help.  (Single $25, double $50)
  • Iguana Backpackers: This is the favourite spot for backpackers and has very cheap beds.  (Dorms $7-9, single $12)

Communications

There is wifi at nearly every hotel and restaurant in town.  If you need to use a computer there are a number of internet cafes on the road that enters Montanita from the highway, these places also have phone boxes.  If you have a cell phone getting coverage isn’t a problem here either.

Banking

There are 24hr ATMs on the main strip that serve both Mastercard (Maestro) and Visa (Electron).  Both machines have a $300 limit and will charge you an extra $2 per transaction.

Getting Away

Getting to Montanita from Guayaquil is straight forward.  There are buses that travel the route nearly every hour including a couple direct buses per day.  The cost is about $6us and the trip takes between 4-5hrs.  If you want to go via taxi the price ranges between 70-80US$.  There are also frequent buses passing by that go to Manta, Salinas, La Libertad and other beach towns along the way.

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5 Comments

  1. Hey Brendan,

    Thanks for the article. I adore Montanita. What about the people… They must be the most friendly people on Earth.

    Had a wonderful 3 days while traveling… Loved eating a drinking in Tiki Limbo… Did you try the Panko Shrimp? Outstanding.

    Your article has pulled back some wonderful memories for me, Thank you

    Sarah x

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  2. Hi Brendan,
    Thanks for the article. I’m thinking about going to Montanita the week before Thanksgiving.
    I’m reading mixed reviews on the surf and here it is cold with no sun.
    Heard there are only onshore winds too at this time.
    Any advice would be of great help.
    Thanks,
    Tina

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Tina,
      I can’t speak to the swell because I’ve never been in May, so I can’t really be of help there.
      However, you should definitely check the weather before going. If it’s sunny, it’s brilliant. If it’s cloudy, it can be a bit cold.
      Montanita is a cool town but it often really depends on your style, and the other backpackers that are around.
      Personally, I’m much more a fan of Canoa, but Montanita is cool too.
      Best of luck!

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