Along Ecuador’s coast, there’s one name you’ll start to recognize as you explore the country. You’ll start wondering, what’s all the fuss about this place? and, eventually, you’ll ask someone, then Google “Montañita Ecuador surfing” and then start planning your route to the coast to visit one of Ecuador’s most popular destinations: Montañita.
Alternatively, you might already be a surfer and know that, as soon as you land in Ecuador, you’re heading to Montañita – one of the top surf destinations along this side of the continent.
Montanita, a great destinations for surfers
Locals have been frequenting Montañita for as long as it’s been around. From Guayaquil, it’s only a 3 hours journey by bus. The beach itself is beautiful, as are neighboring beaches, like Olón.
The main draw to Montañita, however, is its waves. Depending on the season, you’ll get waves that range from 1-2 meters (3-6.5 ft) in height. Really, you’ll find decent waves year-round and the conditions are ideal (though often challenging!) for beginner and advanced surfers alike.
Over time, Montañita became known among the surfer community and international surfers started making their way here. Today, it is the annual site of an international surfing competition that usually takes place in February.
If you’re not a surfer, but are still heading to Montañita for all the other things it has to offer (discussed below), you should, at the very least, take a surf lesson or two. In the town itself, you’ll easily find a few surf shops that provide lessons and/or rent boards of all sizes.
Reasons why surfers love Montañita
Apart from the waves, surfers love Montañita for the same reasons regular old people (non-surfers) love Montañita – it’s a beautiful, laid back beach with a fun party vibe.
Best beach parties in Ecuador
Montañita has arguably the best parties in the country. If you talk to any young local in Quito about what they’re doing for Carnaval weekend, you’ll likely hear them respond with just one word: Montañita.
Given the popularity of this beach town, local and international travelers tend to congregate here, making it an excellent place to drink, party and meet people – basically, everything young adults need in life.
If you’re looking for a particularly awesome party, head to Montañita during Carnaval, in February, or New Year’s.
Due to a relatively high influx of visitors, local businesses in Montañita offer many different activities, from water sports to hiking, horseback riding, as well as weekly activities around the town, like games and movie nights.
Rest assured, you won’t get bored in Montañita! However, if you prefer lounging at the beach and doing absolutely nothing… You can do that too.
Delicious food and many options
Another consequence of the tourism industry in Montañita is that there are lots of food options to choose from. You’ll find delicious local cuisine like ceviches, encocados and other seafood dishes, but you’ll also find a lot of international options, like pizza, pasta and a variety of vegetarian/vegan options.
Beautiful nearby destinations to explore
Another perk to this spot along the Ecuadorian coast is that it’s a good starting point to explore other coastal destinations.
Ayampe is a short 30-minute drive from Montañita and offers a much quieter environment than Montañita. Just past Ayampe, check out Jimmy’s, a local seafood restaurant.
Puerto López is a little farther up the coast (about an hour from Montañita, by car) and is best known as a whale-watching destination, especially between June and October. Though not as charming as Ayampe, Puerto López provides a glimpse into Ecuadorian beach life and there are a number of hostels, Airbnbs, and activities to choose from here.
Just past Puerto López is Machalilla National Park where you can access Los Frailes, one of Ecuador’s most pristine beaches, and the mud baths at Agua Santa.
Isla de la Plata
If your visit to Ecuador doesn’t include a trip to the Galapagos, you can always visit la Isla de la Plata, also known as the “poor man’s Galapagos”.
How to get to Montañita
Are wondering how to get to Montañita? Check out the best alternatives!
Getting to and from Montañita is simple. If you’re traveling on a budget, simply go to the nearest bus terminal and hop on a bus to the coast. From Guayaquil, Montañita is only 3 hours away, and from Quito, the journey gets much longer, about 11 hours (8 to Guayaquil and 3 more to Montañita). From Quito, a bus ticket costs between $11 and $20 and from Guayaquil, expect to spend only $6.
A recommended bus company from Guayaquil is the CLP that will take you directly to Montañita and departs from Guayaquil several times throughout the day, starting at 4:45 am and ending at 4:45 pm.
Note that you can’t buy these bus tickets in advance!
A good alternative to the regular bus is the Wanderbus.
Wanderbus Passes takes you to Montañita and stops through Ecuador’s top destinations on a large loop around the country.
Wanderbus provides travelers with a hassle-free experience and the best part is, it’s flexible! You can hop on and hop off the bus at any of the destinations, and if you like a place more than rest, feel free to extend your stay there. You’ll still have a spot on the next Wanderbus.
If you don’t want to be on the road for very long, you can also hop on a domestic flight to Guayaquil and then head to Montañita by bus. Look for flights on LATAM Airlines (more reliable than TAME) and expect to pay around $80-200, round trip.
Places to stay in Montañita
There is a great selection of hostels to choose from in Montañita. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Hostal Moai – Hostal Moai offers guests clean rooms in a quiet part of town. They have tasty breakfasts and a warm and friendly staff.
- Balsa Surf Camp – This family-friendly spot provides a bit of peace and fun while in Montañita. It’s especially recommended if you’re traveling with kids.
- Casa del Sol – This is a basic hostel in town that offers visitors access to many activities, like Spanish lessons, yoga classes, surf lessons and bicycle rental. Hot showers and hammocks are included, and the hostel is a 20 minute walk from the beach.
Surf’s up! Enjoy Montañita and happy wandering.