Montañita is known for its nightlife and its beaches, and rightfully so. If surfing all day then drinking all night is your thing, this is the place to be. We ended up here on Halloween, which was pretty fun! The streets are lined with restaurants, hostels and food stalls, very reminiscent of SouthEast Asia. There are lots of fun restaurants to try (and we tried many!) and shops to check out. You don’t need to stay for a long time, but leaving Ecuador without experiencing the party vibe of Montañita and the Ecuadorian coast is not recommended!
How to Get There
We took a bus from Guayaquil to Montañita. The Guayaquil bus station (Terminal Terrestre) is a crazy mess of bus stalls and restuarants in a mall-like building, and is tough to navigate. Luckily the ticket office for the bus that leaves to Montañita is out of the fray, on the top floor on the west side of the building. The express bus leaves frequently and only costs $6 USD. You scan your ticket to enter to the bus boarding zone and the bus leaves about 15 minutes after the time on your ticket but make sure to be there on time to store baggage! The trip to Montañita took about 3 hours.
Getting back to Guayaquil is much simpler. The one station in Montañita is located on the main highway, on the northeast side of the town in between the main road and Segundo Rosales. Tickets for CLP Libertad Peninsular cost $6 USD and the bus leaves frequently (4:45am, 5:45am, 7am, 10am, 11am and 1-7pm). These times might change, but it’s a short walk over to the bus station to check the board with departure times. Make sure to be there 15 minutes before departure.
Where to Stay
- Hurvinek Hostal – As a tourist hub, rooms aren’t cheap close to the action, but you can find some deals a short walk away. Hurvinek Hostal was a good find and had a chill vibe, which is nice when party hostels are a dime a dozen. Our double room cost $25 USD/night, and included free water, coffee and tea, and a great breakfast. The water was not quite hot, but warm enough, and the wifi worked on and off in our room, but well in the main area. The family that ran it were lovely and we had a great stay.
What to Do
- Enjoy the beach – Go take a stroll down the beach and watch the surfers, or go rent a board and get out there yourself!
- Shop – There are lots of fun shops and stores to check out, though everything is pretty expensive and bargaining doesn’t seem to work here. But taking a look around is definitely free!
- Drink at the cocktail stalls – At night the cocktail stalls set up and start trying to draw you in with their deals. We hopped from stall to stall, the drinks were pretty much all the same price (4 for $10 USD!), and it was fun getting to know the different bartenders along the line.
Where to Eat
- Tiki Limbo – We were hooked as soon as we saw the lay down bed tables, it was like we were back in Thailand. We love hanging out at these places after a long night out, and that’s exactly what we did. The food was overpriced, but it was worth it to eat some American style pub food while nursing our hangovers.
- Solovida – A small little restaurant that advertises $3 USD meals. Everything here was good, although the vegetarian meal was a little sparse. Alex was very happy with his $3 USD fish meal!
- Papillon – A fun crepe place on the main drag that boasts buy one get one 50% off. You can get basic crepes with nutella for $3.50 USD or fancier ones for $6.50 USD.
- Ezzios Pizza – A great spot for cheap pizza right out of the oven! Any personal pizza was $3 USD.
- Breisal – A pirate themed restaurant we ended up at after getting sick of the 4 for $10 cocktails. They offered a different 4 for $10 deal, 4 big beers for $10! We didn’t try the food, but the staff was friendly!
- Crepe and Smoothie stands – There are cheap crepes and smoothies stands at the east end of the main drag, close to the highway. It’s a great spot for a quick bite!
- Burger Stands – Soon after the cocktail stands set up, the burger stands come out! Cheap $2 USD burgers are the perfect cure for the late night munchies, and they make it right in front of you.
- Tons of nightlife everywhere in Montañita, no matter what day it was. We ended up in a bare bones star wars themed dance bar and ended up partying well into the night!
- Lost Beach Club – If you want to check out something more established, the Lost Beach Club is the place to go!