This month we had the delight of taking another motorcycle adventure, this time to Montañita. For those of you who don’t know, Montañita is famous for being a surfer destination and party town. It may just be one of the most internationally diverse cities in Ecuador. You’ve got your locals, North Americans, and Europeans, but you’ve also got a huge influx of youngins from Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay. In the south of South America, Montañita has received a raving reputation of THE beach town to visit.
Here’s the thing about Montañita: you’ll hate it or you’ll love it. It is definitely not for everyone, and depending on what you’ve heard, it may not live up to the hype.
We had both been to Montañita before separately, and this was our first chance to enjoy it together. The first time Eduardo went, Montañita was full of life and parties until sunrise. When I went, however, it was rainy and felt like a ghost town!
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, Montañita is not the place for you (try instead Ayampe 45 minutes North). If you’re looking to ride waves, party, dance, or meet new people, go to Montañita! It is full of color and life. It is one-of-a-kind in Ecuador, full of hippies, artisans, and street performers. Wear whatever you want, say whatever you want, wake up whenever you want.
Why I love Montañita: the best of the best
- Ceviche carts in the street (yes, they are trustworthy)
- Watching surfers in the late afternoon
- Sunsets over the cove
- People watching on the beach or in town
- The famous cocktail street
- Parties and dancing
- Positive vibes
Getting to Montañita: the route by motorcycle
We got to Montañita on the Royal Enfield in about 7 hours coming from Cuenca. Shockingly, this is the first trip we’ve ever done where there was zero rain going there or back! Incredible! If you know Ecuador, you know it can rain anytime, anywhere. Before you get to the warm weather, however, you’ve got to trek a couple of hours through Cajas National Park. With an altitude over 4,000m, it gets COLD and wet very easily. If you’ve got a clear day, the views are absolutely breathtaking. We left around sunrise and thus saw the sun rise over the crazy rock formations with the clouds dropped low into the valleys. As you drive further west the coastal climate starts to kick in as the temperature warms up, and the foliage starts to scream beach.
Once you arrive to Guayaquil (where we always have a classic Dunkin Donuts stop at el Mall San Marino to fill my cravings!), you’ve got about 3.5 hours to Montañita (expect it to take longer on the bus, up to 5 hours). I can’t say it enough how much I love this drive. You hit the famous “Ruta del Sol” which rides along the entire Pacific Coast. A-ma-zing. When you’re used to riding in the cold Sierra, you appreciate riding in the heat so much more. Feeling the warm air, the smell of the beach, the heat soaking into your skin – what bliss!
Is montañita worth it? Its up to you!
If you’re coming through Ecuador or living here for a period of time, I’m sure at least one person has told you that you HAVE to go to Montañita. I’ll tell you straight up – yes it is amazing and a guaranteed good time, but it is also a beach. Ecuador has other sites to offer that you will not find anywhere else in the world. If you have time and you’re a big beach or party person, go. But if not, don’t kick yourself for not making it there this time around.
Have you been to Montañita before? Let me know what you think! 🙂