I’m pretty sure there’s only one reason people come to Montañita, and that’s for BEACH PARTIES. I very much enjoy beaches, but I’m not much for partying, so this wasn’t exactly my first-choice beach to explore in Ecuador. I was really hoping to hang out in Canoa, but unfortunately our illnesses had slowed us down so Montañita made the most sense for getting a good beach stop under our belts. Luckily, it turned out to be a mostly chill and very beautiful place to hang out.
Immediately it is clear that you have stumbled into a tourist haven. I walked around for a bit and found a few areas on the outskirts where it looked like locals might live, but I’m not sure where the local culture is – maybe they just love partying as well and all the groups mix together. The center of town is a colorful cluttered chaos that offers expensive sit-down foods and cheap cart-foods and every small souvenir you can think of.
It’s still a small area, which means everything is easily walkable. Our hostel was across from the beach, so we had easy access to the good stuff. The beach was busy but never felt too cluttered, and it was fun to watch good surfers showing off in the waves. I can’t surf at all (glasses) but Mike gave it a valiant effort and managed to stand up once.
When at a beach party town you have to follow the vibes, so we spent a lot of time lounging and eating snacks. Our favorites were the Venezuelan quiches at Topa and the incredible generous servings of pancakes in Pancake Alley, a row of crepe & pancake stands that all sell the same things and share ingredients and cookspaces with each other. It is a perfect place to fill up.
Since neither Mike nor I are the clubbing types, we enjoyed hanging out and listening to live music for our nightlife entertainment. We had to get out and do something, because music from the club next door made it impossible to sleep. But that’s what we were expecting: a place that was loud and colorful and fun, where we’d be ready to leave after a day or two. It worked out about as perfectly as possible.