Firstly, I would like to say that unless you come here to surf (or learn to surf) and/or take Spanish lessons, Montanita does not require more than a couple days. I had planned on taking a week of surfing AND Spanish lessons, but I later found out that I planned poorly. While it was nice for me to relax after the fast pace that I had been keeping for the first week and half of my trip, I was a little disappointed.
You see, I had planned my visit to Montanita around my desire to be there for NYE. While I was able to see the bonfires, fireworks, and massive amounts of people that I was expecting, it was a little too much for me in the end. Also, because I was there for the holiday it meant that the surf and Spanish schools were closed!! I only found this out after I paid for my room for the week. Sigh.
Tip: if you plan to be in Montanita for NYE then book your hostel, at least, six months in advance. This is when I booked and only one place had rooms available at that time. I saw several people sleeping on the beach that night (and locals and tourists will tell you that this is very unsafe to do).
Perhaps I’ve become too old to fully enjoy the cocktail alley, weed smoking (I cannot stand the smell of the stuff- gross!), surf town that is Montanita. I think I would have rather spent NYE in the Amazon like one of my friends from the cruise did. Or perhaps Banos like another friend from the cruise did. Their photos were amazing and they both said that they loved it.
That isn’t to say that I didn’t have a good time while I was there.
Things I loved:
Saturday morning yoga
Private surf class for two hours for $25 (including board rental)
Sunsets on the beach
Montanita Brewing Co.’s hard ciders
Reading in the hammock at my hostel
My first trip down cocktail alley on a Thursday night before it got busy. A man working one of the carts played on of my favorite salsa songs, chatted with me for a while about the town, AND THEN refused to let me pay for my excellent mojito.
What I call “Pancake Alley”: a place further down the street from “Cocktail Alley” where they all prepare crepes, fruit salads, and smoothies to order. Super cheap and delicious.
Things I wish I could have changed:
I really wanted to work on improving my Spanish skills (damn you future tense!), but the Spanish school I had planned on attending was only open for two days of my stay.
Like the Spanish school, the surf school that the hostel recommended also was closed for business every day except for the last two days of my stay. I absolutely loved my one lesson with the Venezuelan teacher named Rugby, but I would only return to Montanita if I could have a week of classes with him.
All in all, Montanita is a really cute beach party town. I truly relished my one surf lesson I had there and the many more experienced surfers at my hostel really seemed to love the town too. I would say that if you want to surf plan to stay here for a while, and if that isn’t really your thing, spend two or three nights there and then move on.
From Wikitravel, “From Guayaquil: As of 08/2015, direct lines from Guayaquil to Montanita by CLP (Booth 83) only operate at 05:00, 6:00, 7:00, 9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:30, 18:30 (USD$6), duration aprox. 3h. Unless you are at the Guayaquil bus terminal near to the departure times to take the direct bus, it is not worth the wait nor the taxi fare for the direct transport. Just take CLP bus to Santa Elena or Libertad and transfer to the Citup bus which will take you to Montanita.”