Ah, Montañita (map). Life is a beach and that’s actually enough said about this place. What a welcome to Ecuador! Surfing, tanning, and drinking freshly made Mojitos on the beach. I definitely don’t need much more to be happy as a clam. Since time is starting to tick, we thought we would only spend a day or two here, but the Montañita bug got to us. A week went by and we could’ve easily added a week or two (if not longer) to it.

Sunset surfing montanita

Waves and raves in Montañita

Somewhere along the Ruta del Sol, you’ll drive past this bustling little beach town called Montañita. It’s not like there’s a lot to do, but the waves are amazing and the vibe is good. You can chase waves in Montañita more or less all year long as it’s some of the most consistent in South America. It’s a popular surf spot, so don’t expect empty line-ups. However, there are plenty of quiet spots around, if you’re up for a bit of exploring. There are two breaks in Montañita. A right-hander point break that can hold quite a bit of swell and is best surfed at upcoming tide and the Montañita beach break which offers both rights and lefts on a sandy bottom. Especially the latter is a fun wave for beginners.

A traveler's hotspot

Montañita beach itself is a proper marketplace with local salesman selling crochet bikinis, bracelets, cocktails, and food, while the town is like a mini version of Koh San Road (Bangkok). There are little street bars where you can get the most delicious juices and smoothies, little cafes to drink some proper Ecuadorian coffee, and plenty of places to fuel your body for another surf session. When the sun goes down, the music goes up in volume and you can dance the night away at the Lost beach club. Eat, sleep, surf, repeat and add a little bit of raving on the weekends. Can’t go wrong with that, right?

Do be aware that the party goes on all week long. So if you care for a good night’s rest, you definitely don’t wanna stay in the town’s center.

Montanita Street life food

Escape the crowds

Not far from Montañita is the little town of Ayampe. Same amazing waves as in Montañita, but then with no one on it. The beach break offers both left- and right-handers and is best with upcoming to high tide. Ayampe is a tiny beach town that flies below the tourist radar and has the most chilled out vibe you can imagine. So, if you want a break from partying in Montañita this is your place. There’s only one thing to worry about, and that’s the waves.

sunset soccer game on the beach in Ecuador
los frailes beach machalilla national park

Beach hunting

Another good option to escape the crowds is the beach of Los Frailes in the National Park of Machalilla. A beautiful bay with a deserted beach that doesn’t offer you a whole lot of surf, but definitely is worth the visit. Ideal for snorkeling along the cliffs and snoozing the day away with an ice cream or two in your hand.

The good life of Montañita

If only we could stop time. The Ecuadorian coast has been a treat, but we gotta keep on moving. So much more to discover in this beautiful country. So bye-bye waves and long lazy beach days, hello breathtaking Andes mountains and bustling city life!
Till we meet again for much more waves and Mojitos.


Montanita beach umbrellas

Photos by: M. Barends, J. Roeland ©

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