We were so surprised to discover Montanita, one of the cutest beach towns in Ecuador.
If you are thinking that Ecuador has no beach towns, then think again. Ecuador has a lovely Pacific coast and definitely worth exploring.
Ecuador is super famous for its Galapagos Islands, and most travelers head from Quito right there, but we urge you to give Montanita a chance. We promise she will not disappoint.
In this guide, we will write all you need to do know about Montañita, how to get there and what to do.
Montanita is a small beach hub and there is no way you can get lost here. There the only a couple of streets but Montanita has it all. Restaurants, bars shops and also ATMs.
A sleepy town during the day Montanita comes alive at night. Playa Montanita and its town will please every type of traveler. And if you would like to escape the bustle and hustle of Quito or Guayaquil and have tranquil holidays, Montanita got you covered. So planning a travel itinerary to Montanita is pretty easy.
It mostly goes like this: BEACH, SLEEP, YOGA, WATERSPORT, REPEAT
You are probably heading to the capital of Ecuador, Quito. Make sure to read our full guide on the BEST THINGS TO DO IN QUITO with our favorite days trips, such as QUILOTOA LAKE and a day trip to MITAD DEL MUNDO.
HOW TO GET TO MONTANITA
Montañita is a little town in the northern part of Ecuador and you can reach it quite easily. The getaway to Montañita is town Guayaquil. You can either fly from Quito or take a bus. From Guayaquil, you need to take another bus which stops at Montanita.
The journey takes around 3 hours and should cost you only $6 per person. Once you get off the bus station next to the main road, you can easily walk to your hotel. No need to take any taxi.
WHAT TO DO IN MONTANITA
If you are seeking adventure, thinking about learning Spanish or just embracing the beach life by doing nothing at all, there are so many awesome things to do in Montañita. We definitely recommend you to come here at least for three days to fully enjoy.
SURF OR LEARN HOW TO SURF
If you are into surfing, Playa Montañita is a heaven for those, who are seeking the perfect surf paradise.
You can hit the waves right away if you are an experienced surfer. Every hotel in Montanita has some surfboards to rent.
But if you do not know how to surf and would like to give it a try, you do not need to worry. You can take a surf lesson. You can expect to pay around $15- $25 per hour, depending on if you have a private teacher or would like to join a group class.
CHILL AT THE BEACH
If you only came here to relax and do nothing at all, we won’t judge. Sometimes it is what we need. So sit back, get a chair and chill.
Except for surfing, you can do many other things in Montañita. If you are thinking of a yoga retreat, you can have it in Montañita.
Our hotel Hostal Kundalini offered a free yoga class for guests every Wednesday and Friday. So we naturally joined. Almost every hotel in Montañita offers daily yoga classes, just ask at the reception.
If you would like to see some spectacular marine life you can go diving in Montanita as Ecuador is home to many extraordinary and unique creatures. You might be lucky and spot a whale, turtles and random fish.
If you are not a certified diver yet, you can learn how to scuba dive and get certified at Otro Mundo Dive School.
Playa Montañita is also known for paragliding and parasailing and this is a perfect way how to get that birds-eye view of the town and sea.
And it is definitely not a super expensive activity here in Montanita, so if you are an adventure seeker, then this one is for you.
If you would like to try, please know that your flight will be up to 200 meters. And usually flights last between 20 till 30 minutes. The cost differs in the hotel or agency, but we were told around US$30-50, depending on the season.
Parasailing is a bit cheaper than paragliding. You will be stretched into a parachute and you will be pulled by a speed boat.
Just to give you an idea, for 15-20 minutes of parasailing you would pay around US$20 per person.
Sunsets in Ecuador definitely do not suck, and we experienced beautiful sunsets in Montanita. Especially seeing such purple skies
After all your exciting day or relaxing day, its time to enjoy a cocktail and purple-pink skies.
Montañita Spanish School offers many courses for all levels of Spanish, also private and also group classes too.
They also have a cool program for these who want to travel around Ecuador for one month in 4 locations and study Spanish along the way while staying with local families. Check it out here. You can also pair your Spanish classes with yoga, scuba diving, and kite surfing.
GO TO OLON OR MANGLARALTO
If you feel like you want to see something else and have a small day trip from Montanita, head to a small villages Olon or Manglaralto. They are less crowded as not many tourists go there. You can easily get there by taking a local bus.
ISLA DE LA PLATA
If you are heading north, you need to stop at Puerto Lopez. Puerto Lopez is also a nice beach town and a famous gateway to Isla De La Plata. And if you are not planning a trip to Galapagos, then this is the closest you can get to see some amazing animals and surroundings. We wrote a full guide about Isla de la Plata, so check it out before you go.
You probably can’t compare it to the Galapagos, but we definitely loved it.
Isla de la Plata is also referred to as ‘the poor man’s Galapagos.” It is famous for its blue-footed boobies, red-breasted frigate, and you can also spot sea turtles, dolphins, and even whales or orcas.
If you would like to get to Puerto Lopez, just take a bus from Montanita. The bus ride takes around 1 hour and should cost around $3 per person. Just make sure to book your tour to Isla de la Plata in advance.
Hotel Kundalini was one of our favorite hotels in South America. We are that serious. It has perfect beach vibes with private playa and awesome activities.
Not to mention a lovely breakfast buffet with fruits and vegetables. And if you would like pancakes or eggs, they can do that too. We celebrated Nico’s birthday here.
The beach huts are simple but very comfortable and with private bathrooms. Also, every room has its own hammock at the porch, perfect for chilling and enjoying a good book. We loved our stay so much that we prolonged it by 2 more nights. So if we were you, we would definitely go for Hotel Kundalini.
CHECK ALL HOTELS IN MONTANITA
You can also check Montanita Chill Out House which has affordable rooms and is located at the beach as well. If you are looking at something more luxurious check ME Hotel & Villas – Montañita Estates which has also a swimming pool.
RESTAURANTS IN MONTANITA
There are several lovely restaurants on the beach and also in the town. We definitely preferred hanging on the beach with a sea view. Our favorite place is Lido Beach Grill restaurant. We had live music and a tasty local dinner.
Especially at night, the streets of Montanita become very lively. There are surprisingly many restaurants and bars to choose from. The cuisine is very diverse, and if you do not feel like local food, there are many restaurants serving western food as well.
And if you feel like grabbing some street food, there are also many food stands with delicious meals.
OUR OTHER FAVORITE PICKS:
TIKI TIMBO: We really like this restaurant and had some nice burgers and Mexican food.
BUENA ONDA CAFE: Perfect spot for breakfast as they serve yummy acai bowls.
SPONDYLUS: For typical Ecuadorian meals head here, especially famous for the tuna steak.
WHEN TO VISIT MONTANITA?
The best time to visit Montanita are the months March, April, and then February as you will have only hot days.
We visited in April and had only one cloudy day other than that it was sunny, perfect for tanning. The busiest months are definitely July, January, and September and the price for accommodation are more expensive.
Have a great time visiting Montanita, we are pretty sure that you will love this cute beach town in Ecuador.
IS MONTANITA SAFE?
We definitely felt very safe during our three days in Montanita. However, we never went party and we only ordered beers.
We do not like to get wasted during our holidays and you never know what can happen when you are drunk. If you are interested in reading more about SAFETY IN SOUTH AMERICA, then head to our guide.
If you are heading to Montanita in Ecuador, don’t forget to pin it for later.
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