Montañita Ecuador is a little surfer’s town located in the parish of Manglaralto in the Santa Elena province. Montañita means “little mountain” or “little hill” in Spanish, and only a decade ago it started rising in popularity, mainly for surfing.
Montañita Ecuador used to be a small fisherman’s village and not many surfers knew about its incredible waves, but in the 60ies the town became a hub for the hippie movement and a lot of them settled there permanently. It is not surprising, when you experience yourself life on the equator, and understand why it is so hard to leave.
Montañita Ecuador is considered one of the best beaches in Ecuador’s south coast, and it is the perfect place to learn how to surf, or challenge yourself with huge waves if you are already a pro, or just relax and do absolutely nothing on the beach. Keep reading this article if you would like to learn more about the surfer’s paradise in Montañita Ecuador.
1. The Point for Surfing in Ecuador
Surfing in Montañita has a long history that dates as far back as to the mid 60’s. The surfing community here is non-competitive, very humble and helpful, and quite laid-back. They are very welcoming to beginners, and more advanced surfers alike.
Surfing at the Point is the place to go if you want to experience some gnarly waves. These perfect tube-shaped waves can rise as much as 9 meters. Even if you are a beginner, watching other surfers taking on these giant waves can be very inspiring to witness.
The Point is located a bit north of the town center, and accessible by car. If you are a beginner and you would like to try smaller waves that break closer to the shore, with fewer rocks that lurk below the surface, then start with the beach between the Point and Montañita first.
The best time to visit Montañita for surfing is from December to May. This is the best season because the north swell arrives on the shores with less winds with better conditions, filled with sunny days, which leaves warm water so you don’t have to wear a wetsuit.
2. Parasailing and Paragliding
Montañita is an eventful beach, with varying activities like paragliding, zip-lining, trekking, surfing, horseback riding, even diving trips in other nearby beaches. Even if your plan is to just “chill” on the beach, you may find yourself trying something for the first time in your life!
If you want to experience flying for the first time, and fly over the ocean free like a bird, then paragliding and parasailing is something that we highly recommend. The equipment is fully provided and the guide takes care of the whole operation, so you do not have to have any experience.
It is a short activity which allows you to fly free for about 10 minutes in the sky, but the preparation and security checks can take up a bit more time. In total you will not end up spending more than one hour away from your surfing, or beach bum itinerary.
3. Diving Experience
When you research more about Montañita, you will learn two things. Montañita is a paradise for surfers, and a popular place for partying. Yet, people don’t know that Montañita has a magical ocean, and offers great conditions for scuba diving.
Isla de la Plata, an island which is known as the “poor man’s Galapagos”, is a short-day trip from Montañita, and can be booked at one of the local dive schools. The island is a small rocky outcropping, and it takes about 20 minutes by boat to reach the bay.
Other than seeing the underwater wildlife, the island is covered with pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies, and other sea birds. Underwater you can expect to see big schools of fish, octopuses, sea turtles, stunning corals and more.
4. Birdwatching in Isla de la Plata
Isla de la Plata is a short boat ride from Montañita and the presences of colonies of Blue-footed Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, Naszca Boobies, Waved Albatros, Tropic Birds, and Magnificent Frigatebirds made this island a birdwatcher’s dream location.
The island is important for eco-tourism and as such is part of the Machalilla National Park which aims to protect many beautiful bird species. At Isla de la Plata it is possible to see many of the same species found on the more expensive and more distant Galapagos Islands.
An experienced guide can be hired to tell you more about the birds if you are not a regular birdwatcher yet. It is advised not to touch the birds, or get too close to them – even though some of the more curious birds may come up close to you.
5. Restaurants in Montañita
Beyond the typical dishes of the Ecuadorian coast that can be found in the town, Montañita has a unique gastronomic diversity due to the fact that so many foreigners have settled here. You can find artisan pizzas, artisan breads, crepes, sushi, empanadas, ice-cream parlors, and more.
Ceviche can be seen almost anywhere, and can be even bought freshly served on the beach. For foodies, it is highly recommended to do a gastronomic tour in this beach town, but some popular restaurants that we can recommend are Rastapan, Tiki Limbo, Maria Pizzeria and Papillon Creperi.
6. How to get there
If you are travelling from Guayaquil, the journey takes about two and a half hours by private car. From the capital, Quito, it is too far to drive and we recommend taking a flight to one of the closest airports to Montañita at your conveniency.
The closest airport is the international airport in Guayaquil, Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport. Other near-by airports are Manta airport, Reales Tamarindos Airport (Portoviejo). We at Kuada can help you with these types of travel arrangements.
7. Where to stay
As we already confirmed, Montañita has been long regarded as the hippy haven, attracting budget backpackers and nomadic hippies to ride its incredible waves. Yet, in recent years more wealthier travelers begin to discover this special beach destination.
Today, tourists are no longer limited to average hostels thanks to the increase of luxury boutique hotels which have risen up all around this beach town. Kuoda is dedicated to creating luxury tour packages, and can help to arrange the perfect accommodation for you.
Montañita is known to have the kind of energy that sucks you in, and it is easy to understand why so many foreigners have set roots here. Montañita offers a great experience for luxurious traveling, and so does the rest of Ecuador. It might be a small country, but Ecuador has a lot of must-see destinations, especially if you are an adventurer at heart.
8. Adventure Activities with Kuoda
Adventure and adrenaline is what we are all about at Kuoda. We want our clients to experience the diversity of every country in Latin America, and immerse themselves into the beautiful sceneries by indulging in the many exciting excursions that every unique place has to offer.
Ecuador is the perfect destination to experience adventure to its fullest, as it is not too big to travel from different locations within the country, and has almost anything you can ask for. Ecuador boasts stunning beaches, the jungle, and amazing wildlife. We forget to mention: ceviche is everywhere!
We at Kuoda specialize in luxury tourism, with a goal of providing the best itineraries that are custom made for every person. Contact us today and speak to one of our trip designers about your personal needs to create your ultimate dream vacation.