Before I even stepped foot in Montañita, I had already heard quite a few stories about the little coastal town. People all over Ecuador wear “I ♥ Montañita” t-shirts, and almost every person I’ve met so far has asked me if I’ve been to the beach at Montañita yet. So when we first arrived in Montañita on Saturday evening, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.
Alejandra warned me that there would be a lot of tourists. People from around the world are lured to Montañita by its international surfing competitions and its eclectic population. (True— I met people from Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and all over Europe.) She also said that there would be a ton of drugs and alcohol. (Also true.) I think Tito described the atmosphere best: Montañita is full of people who come for two days and end up staying for two months.
We spent the first portion of the evening in Montañita trying to find a hotel. Both Alejandra and Tito knew people with hotel connections in the area, but we ended up at a place in the neighboring town of Olon called Susi’s Boon. The rooms were advertised as first class, with private bathrooms, hot water, and air conditioning. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, they forgot to advertise one of the biggest perks of staying at Susi’s Boon: dealing with the HUNDREDS of crickets present on the property. Not only were they crawling all over the outdoor hallways, but they were also sneaking into rooms underneath the door frames. The furniture looked like it was moving… not even kidding. Let me just say that the room was NOT worth the $50 I spent (which ended up being $40 once they refunded me $10 due to a lack of hot water AND air conditioning). All that aside, the entire hotel experience actually ended up being pretty humorous precisely because the rooms were so miserable. Tito’s jokes about the hotel’s handyman also lightened the mood, even if they were incredibly inappropriate. Thanks for those, Tito.
Once the hotel situation was figured out, we finally ventured into the streets of downtown Montañita. At night, Montañita is transformed into one gigantic two-block party. The narrow streets are lined on both sides with tropical cocktail stands, an assortment of dance clubs, and hundreds of twenty-something-year-olds dancing and laughing and having the time of their lives. The whole scene is absolutely unreal. At one point I looked over my shoulder and a group of people were gathered around a table in the middle of the street rolling blunts together. Like, what?
After surveying the crowd, and pausing to purchase a strawberry daiquiri or two, we ended up going into one of the clubs and dancing the night away… literally. We danced until Alejandra dragged us out of there at FIVE in the morning. (Apparently the parties go strong every night in Montañita until about 7:30 a.m. Isn’t that insane?) I’ve never had so much fun in one night, but I walked out of the club covered in so much sweat and sand and spilled liquor (from other people, mom and dad) that I was forced to take a freezing shower back at the hotel. On the bright side, the hotel looked a little less miserable in my exhausted state.
After our big night out, we woke up late this afternoon, checked out of the hotel, and spent another hour or so eating lunch in Montañita. It was super neat to see the same town in the daylight— it had instantly transformed into a vibrant surf community with tons of colorful vendors and musicians. Sidenote: I’ve never seen so many people with dreadlocks in my life. They made me wish I had dreaded my hair back before I cut it all off. Remember when I wanted to do that, mom?
Now that we’re back in Guayaquil, I actually already miss the weekend at Montañita a little bit. I think I’m definitely going to have to come back at some point in my life. The final verdict? I ♥ Montañita.