Montanita Ecuador

| February 1, 2013 | 60 Replies


Traveling to EcuadorMontanita Ecuador


Let me start out by saying that the coastal town of Montanita Ecuador was pretty warm.

The weather is a huge factor for me when I decide where I am going to live or where I am going to vacation. Montanita Ecuador was very warm and humid, but not so humid and hot that I am scratching it off my list.

Step outside of where you live now, raise the temperature to 87 degrees with medium humidity. Now add in a beautiful beach and a very turquoise blue ocean. I don’t care where you live, the beautiful beach and the blue ocean will double its appeal.

Now start adding and subtracting.

The people are fantastic. I was absolutely surprised at how well behaved everyone was. And when I say well behaved…. no fights, no drunken scenes, no loud unruly groups, even the vendors were kinda laid back. This was not a drunken spring break 24/7 free for all. It was lively and full of energy, but had a sensibility about it.

The beach was very active during the day and the town got more active at night. So party downtown if you want or walk on an almost deserted beach in the evening. I was very impressed.

But of course there were those smells… you know what I am talking about… a light festering rotten smell, leaking septic pipe odor, last nights left overs in the sun to long… but not so much to make it a topic of conversation so that is good, in fact I almost didn’t mention this. And there are all kinds of improvements going on so I have to believe that many of the current problems will be fixed soon.

I also notice that many of the main streets in Montanita are paved so the dust and mud are not a big problem. There is also a big variety of nice restaurants to eat at. There are also little hole in the wall places to have a cheap meal. Many choices in the food department.

If you stay downtown you will not get much sleep at night, so plan on resting during the day. We stayed up the beach from town in what I call hostel row. Lots of 20 to 30 room hostels that are far enough away from the noise and either on the beach or close enough to the beach to make it nice.

Montanita is a surfing area that caters mostly to the younger crowd and older mellow hippy types so do not expect the Hilton at any of these hostels. You get breakfast, a bed, a towel, a shower, and that is about it……

If it bothers you when the handle in the shower falls off or the water goes from cold to scalding hot in less that 2 seconds because the guy next door flushed the toilet, then stay somewhere else. Roads are not paved on hostel row so expect either a mud bog or a dust maker… we got the mud bog.

I did notice a couple of very expensive looking hotel resorts on the beach. Stay there if the hostel sounds to primitive.

For two days, the Casa del Sol was just fine. The friendly staff was there if you needed them but otherwise you never saw them.

Montanita would have been on the top of my list of places to live when I was in my late 20’s and all through my 30’s. I loved the heat, sun, and sand during those years… I do not do as well with the heat in my 50’s but it is hard to turn away those thoughts of my glory days. I was raised in Huntington Beach California and those are some great memories.

Oh… I almost forgot. There are some great looking people in Montanita. Thin bodies, fantastic looking men and women from all over the world. Beautiful smiles, almost everyone seemed happy (or maybe a little high).  Some of the restaurant wait staff made me forget why I was there and what I wanted to order.

Montanita is a great people watching town… and if you are older it might wake up a couple parts of your body and mind that have been napping for a while….


So lets fast forward to the picture section of this post….

I will not be as descriptive about the on and off the bus stuff like I was in my last post. I will tell you that we hired a private van (arranged by Andrea at Big Ralph’s) to drive us from Salinas to Montanita. We might have paid a few dollars to much but between the four of us the $50 was fine for the convenience of being picked up at our front door in Salinas and dropped of at the front door in Montanita. None of that resort to cab to bus then bus to cab to resort exercise.

The first picture is taken from inside the van on the coast road between Salinas and Montanita. The ocean is spectacular. Notice the row of beach side structures in the photo. Most of the beach front was deserted, just beach then water.

We enjoyed this ride. In fact, when you travel you need to pay attention when you are going from one city to another. This is a part of the adventure. Otherwise it becomes just wasted travel time. I do my best to not sleep when I am on the road. I take pictures and enjoy the ride…. you can sleep later. (notice the toilet paper on the dash… good idea to have this when you travel).

Montanita Ecuador

Looks like these pictures are a little out of order but so what… below is a picture of what can only be described as an eye popping unexpected pleasure of unique architecture right here on the beach of Montanita, Ecuador. I don’t know why I like this building so much. Architecture is a hobby of mine.

And don’t miss the nice architecture at the bottom right of the photo either…. someones parents did some nice work…

Montanita Ecuador

Here is more typical architecture in Montanita. This structure is 4 or 5 stories tall and very unique. That’s Larry, Beth, and Chad having a great time.

Montanita Ecuador


We lost one of our traveling companions back in Salinas. Nancy had to catch a bus back to Cuenca. The transportation system here in Ecuador makes that type of thing pretty easy to accomplish. We dropped her off at the bus station in Salinas on the way to Montanita.  Below is what is left of our crew. This was a great restaurant in the middle of town. Ask the wait staff for the internet code and you can check your email and Facebook all your friends. 2 for 1 tropical drinks in the afternoon. Wish I could remember its name (“Hola, Ola” maybe)…. Look for the place that has a swimming pool just below the big screen TV… We went here 3 times in 2 days.

Montanita Ecuador


Surfer’s surf in Montanita, but as you get a little older your interests change a little. I don’t think Larry is smiling because he loves surfing…

There is a lot to look at and do in Montanita Ecuador.

Montanita Ecuador


A small neighborhood teinda with all the fresh fruits you could want…. and cheap, cheap, cheap….

Montanita Ecuador


Below is a shot from just outside our room at Cas del Sol. We were on the third level. This is where the free breakfast is served every morning and they will make you a wonderful dinner for $8 but you need to order it ahead of time….

Montanita Ecuador


This is that deserted beach in Montanita Ecuador that I mentioned above. Here we are making crazy. Handstand Chad is making the letter “M” for Montanita with the help of Larry and Beth. Are we the first ones to ever do this? Probably not….  but I’ll bet you we are the oldest….

Montanita Ecuador


Gringo time at Montanita Brewing Company on the beach. We ran into friends we made in Salinas here and we had a little party. Wonderful live music, world class. We had a very nice time… got to learn all the local gossip. You expats need to go to church!

Montanita Ecuador


I will end this with a picture of a some exotic moth we found on the beach. Very cool…

Montanita Ecuador



Thinking of making a move to the coast of Ecuador?  Ask me those questions you have.

Remember we only saw a few cities on the coast and over a very short measure of time, almost like a snapshot of what you can expect.

Never depend on someone else’s opinion of an area. My travel companions all had different takes on these places. We all see things differently so use this information as a basic foundation to make your short list of places to explore…


We will catch a bus from Montanita to Guayaquil later and make a connection in Guayaquil to Cuenca… more to come in a few days…

Keep those questions coming. We all learn from your questions and it gives me an idea of what is important to you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Hasta pronto from Montanita Ecuador.


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Category: Before The Big Move, Moving to Ecuador, Visiting Ecuador

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  1. Ecuador's Beaches . . . - Ecuador George : Ecuador George | August 30, 2014
  1. Tami says:

    Hi George, yes the pic of the restaurant was Hola Ola, when we were there Ken and Alec were able to get their sports fix there with all the TVs showing games, sports center, lol

  2. Harry says:

    Hopefully you are capturing details for a complete report. I enjoy reading each article you post and look forward to our recon of Ecuador later this year.
    I too am very aware that “the weather is a huge factor for me when I decide where I am going to live”, so I’ve been paying particular attention to your reports.

  3. Rowly and Patti says:


    Glad you guys are enjoying the views (HAHA)and weather along the coast. Get adventurious and head north up to the Bahia, Canoa and Jama areas for our unique vibe….


    • Ecuador George says:

      We will at the end of the year or early in 2014. We will work our way up the coast. Hope all is well with you two. George

  4. Larry says:

    Thanks for doing most of the leg work for us. Gives my wife and I a great heads up on what to do and see during our next trip to Ecuador.
    Your the man George!

  5. Ray says:

    As usual, very good info. hoping there will be a lot of pics in Cuenca. I am wondering if Loja is in your plans?

    • Ecuador George says:

      Ray, No Loja on this trip. If I do to much in one trip it makes it more like work than a vacation. I have heard very good things about the Loja area. They grow some great coffee there. Take care. George

  6. Tom Gallagher says:

    Great job as usual George, thanks again.

  7. Michael Bordeaux says:

    Hey George!
    Glad you are having such a great time on your trip. I have a request. Could you include a sample range of prices you are running into? I was in Cuenca last July and for a hostel of the type you were describing, we were paying around $10-$12 per person per night. Breakfast was sometimes included in that price. I am curious about prices on the coast.
    Keep up the great updates and tip one for me.
    Adios amigo!

    • Ecuador George says:

      I will look around Cuenca for low priced hostels and repot back. Big Ralph’s in Salinas was about $25 a night per person and he would rent to singles. Same price at Casa del Sol in Montanita. Not sure if they had single rooms. Both included breakfast.

  8. annette and mark brennan says:

    Hi George
    Great info on Salinas and now we have a totally different perspective on much so that we might one day go there..we were told about the young half naked druggies partying forever so decided not for us..but your pics show different things which is one big reason we love your weather..we spent a month in Manta in late May to was in the low 80’s but NO was perfect..but a month in San Clemente, an hour away and the nights were cool enough for a light sweater but days were humid as all get go..but with the ocean who what if my hair frizzed to the yes the time and locale is huge if you’re moving there…keep having a great time

    • George says:

      I think we will visit a different beach area each year and maybe after a few years will find one that suits us the best… I have a feeling that most of these areas are warmish to hot. After a little research I know that I will stay away from the northern coast as I have read to many times that these areas are dangerous…

  9. janet says:

    thanks for the post, especially the pictures.

  10. Tes Stone says:

    It’s so much more helpful reading your blog than all those phoney “imvest overseas” newsletters. There;s so much more to being an expat than the money you can save. I suspect there are so many prople who return home because they jumped at the move before they really understood their prospective new home. This is like getting phonecalls from a good friend. All the best!

    • George says:

      Tes, I love the phone call analogy. It is my opinion that most of those “invest overseas” only make money for the people that sell the seminars…. You need to go see and live for yourself before you invest… Stay smart my friend… George

  11. Tiago Yoshi says:

    Hey George!
    I’ve been following your blog for a while.My best mate and I are thinking about moving to Ecuador, your pictures are awesome.I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and those pictures from Montañita beach reminds me from some beach areas back home, awesome!
    I would love to hear your comments about Cuenca especially about its air quality.

    ¡Cuídate! (Take Care of Yourself)

    • George says:

      Air quality is better than last time I was there. The downtown area is probably the worse but with the new light rail coming into downtown next year, this should cure the problem… Montanita was beautiful and I hear there are even nicer beaches further north…. George

  12. annette and mark brennan says:

    One more thing..are you seeing any ripe mangoes anywhere..just checking on the seasons..thanks

  13. Aunt Jody says:

    Thanks so much for the info on Salinas & Montanita! Did you notice any difference in the weather between Salinas and Montanita? Difference in humidity? How about mosquitos and other bugs? Some blogs I’ve read say all the beach towns have lots of mosquitos, but I can’t see why there would be unless there is a river estuary nearby. Mosquitos typically don’t care much for salt air…..

    • George says:

      Aunt Jody,
      Not as many mosquitos as I was told… and only at sun up and sun down. We used a little bug spray and had no problem. I would have to say the temps were about the same in both locations. The closest example is the humid Florida coast on a warm to hot day…

  14. Laura Kimmick says:

    My husband, Randy, my son, Kobe (10), and I stayed at Casa Del Sol last year. The owner, Tamara Allers, didn’t seem all that friendly. The reason why we won’t stay at Casa Del Sol again is because right before we checked out, the owner told us that if we get anymore water it would cost us $5.00 and accused us of using too much water for drinking. We didn’t pay the $5.00 because we didn’t need the water, thank goodness. She coldly said to me, “I guess the staff should have told you.” The rest of the staff was friendly even though they didn’t tell us water was $5.00. Only going to Casa Del Sol for the Yoga unless they offend me once again.

    we recommend the Balsa House next door to Casa Del Sol. The owners and staff are even friendlier and the food is even better.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Laura, I noticed a few things too that were not perfect but we just sort of rolled with the punches… George

      • George, I’m so glad you noticed. Good for you for rolling with the punches. My husband, Randy, I have to admit, is better than me with rolling with the punches. Overall, I still enjoy Montañita and the beach cities.

        • Ecuador George says:

          Laura, Maybe we will try a new place the next time we are in Montanita. The food was really good at Casa del Sol, everything else was just ok but we didn’t pay for much either…. George

          • You will love the Balsa House. Casa Del Sol does have good food but good food is not enough. I hope you didn’t get charged for water. We can’t wait to stay at the Balsa House again in April-May 2013. The Balsa House also has a room where you can watch any non blu-ray dvds that they have available for no extra charge.

          • Being a non-smoker (my husband is, too), the problem I had with the Yoga Instructors is that some of them were smokers. Also, smokers would smoke on the upper patio area making it not so great to be in that patio area. Don’t like the smell of cigarettes. Just my opinion.

  15. Judy Nelson says:

    I was in Montanita around this time last year, and until we got there, we did not know it was the crazy party week of the Reef classic surf competition. It was insane but still lots of fun. we stayed at the Swiss Point a bit away from the noise but still only a 5 minute walk. I was very excited to see your picture of the hotel attached to the Dharma restaurant. We hung out at the Dharma several nights, watching the people and the sunsets. Montanita is crazy anytime but this is the busiest time there for sure. Our house is just 6 or 8 minutes up the Ruta from Montanita and very quiet there. My only problem with Montanita is that I saw more sick street dogs there than anywhere else, several in really bad shape. Most of the street dogs look ok and I fed them every chance I got but the 2 sick ones still put tears in my eyes.

  16. Deb from Indiana says:

    So glad I’ve found this place….and I’m with Tes…so much better than the “invest overseas” BS from other sites. Will keep checking in. I am looking for a place to retire in 2 years and I want to be by a beach. Ecuador is looking mighty reasonable! Thanks again.

  17. Belinda says:

    Dear George,

    Can you tell me about the water temperature there? I am addicted to Hawaii water temeperature and weather, but want to widen my beach experiences and have more culture. The beaches in Java , Indonesia are also very warm. But, I hear the water is a lot cooler in Ecuador. Also, I love to snorkel, but I think ecuador is not the place for that, save for the Galapagos. Oh, speaking of, do you go there??

    • Ecuador George says:

      Belinda… I think the water temp varies, depending on the time of year and the location. Montanita was comfortable and lots of people were in the water. I would not call it very warm…. We will be going to the Galapagos when we have our residency visas… So next year for sure. George

  18. Jo Harned says:

    This is one of the most interesting and truthful blogs that I have read. Presently living with my husband in Puerto Cayo, waiting for our house to be built en la playa. Thanks for sharing your experiences and photos.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Thank you Jo… The truth really is better than fiction most of the time. I love sharing so stay tuned, who knows what I will talk about next.. George

  19. Belinda says:

    I really enjoy your blog, FYI. This may be off topic for the Montanita thread, but I will share with you that I just finished getting my Master’s Degree in ESL. Many people throw a backpack on and “teach” English around the world. I put considerable effort into being a real Profesora, and may possibly later teach in a lovely place like Ecuador, at a sound institution. If you get wind of what ‘real’ English as a Second Language teachers lives are like, I would be curious. Cheers!

  20. Lauren says:

    Hi George! Love the blog! My husband and I are coming down from Canada September 29 – Oct 15 this year to scope out the coast for a potential move. We’re in our late 30’s and your comments and insight are so helpful! I may be on here asking a &!@ load of questions!

  21. Lubo says:

    Hi George…

    thanks for the info from Montanita…we are couple from Czech rep living in london for 9 years long :). got some property in london..thinking to rent it out and go to live in we are those relaxed people , love beach life, reggae music etc… we also have 2 years old daughter .. do you think we would be able to find some 2-3 bed accomodation in good condition for young fam, close to the beach not to far from centre of town, and live there on monthly budget of 900 british pounds ? there any nursery for kids or primary school where we could enroll our child…or maybe you could recommend a website with more info how to start a new life in ecuador …thank you so much ..your Lubo

    • Ecuador George says:

      I am not how much 900 british pounds is in dollars. Ecuador uses the US dollar and I can tell you that I would not move my family unless I had at least $1500 dollars a month. Join the Facebook group Ruta del Sol Mates. This is a group that lives on the coast of Ecuador and they can tell you everything you want to know. Good luck. George

  22. Ken & Sue says:

    Hi George,

    We are coming to Ecuador in March to spend a week or so seeing the area. We currently live in Naples, FL and are still working. We are in our mid 60’s and hoping to retire more comfortably by early 2015 in Ecuador. Looking at smaller cities/towns near the coast. We are not “city dwellers”, but still would like access to stores, restaurants and services. What are your insights? Thanks so much for your great blogs – very informative!

    Ken and Sue L.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Ken and Sue…. Salinas is the first place that comes to mind that I can recommend. Manta is a larger coastal city with good medical but I have not been there yet. Bahia is smaller and probably nicer, but not sure about how good the medical service would be. All these places have good shopping. Big cities have very good medical services… The smaller areas like Salinas and Bahia are places that you will want to look at and ask questions. I have a friend with a heart problem and he is moving from Salinas because it is to far to a hospital that he trusts can take care of him… Good luck. george

      • Mike says:

        Of all the blogs I have seen lately, Yours is Tops. I am retired from the military and interested in going somewhere where my retirement dollars will sustain myself and wife. I am looking for somewhere near the beach without the big city stuff. Your advice to Ken and Sue L. is valuable. Looking forward to reading more of your travels.

        Mike F.

        • Ecuador George says:

          Thank you Mike… It is nice to hear that the information I write is valuable and used by the readers… Stick around… George

  23. Robert Badgett says:

    George, We are staying at a great B&B on the beach about 11km north of Montañita and loving it! Montañita makes me feel old and wish I were twenty-something again.
    It’s an exciting town and I don’t feel threatened or intimidated in the least. It’s an eclectic bunch of people who are there to enjoy life. I wouldn’t want to live in Montañita but it would be fun to visit often.
    Be well.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Robert, I felt the same way about Montanita…. Loved it, will visit it often, but would like a little more relaxed quiet lifestyle…. George

  24. says:

    I have had fun reading your blog thanks for posting the stories. If you really want to visit a sleepy little coastal village with some character, or well, one very colorful character and beautiful scenery, go to Ayampe. It’s about 30 minutes up the coast from Montanita, you can’t miss it, they have, well at least had, a huge billboard welcoming tourists to Ayampe. Which amounts to a few bamboo house scattered about a very green river valley leading out to the beach and an island offshore that looks like two stovepipes. Anyway, go to the front of the beach and ask for Cuatro Estrellas, you can’t miss him either, he has four gold stars embedded in his four front teeth, classic. He is a classic guy all around and extremely friendly, We stayed at his house in his cabinas looking at the ocean for a dirt cheap price and were treated to a meal each night with the offer of next time through taking me on a surf road trip the whole way up to Mompiche(I passed that time as we had just come from Canoa the week before). Anyway, just thought I would pass that along. Cheers.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Andy…. sounds like a hoot and an adventure. Good luck to anyone who takes this little trip up the coast. George

  25. Chris J. says:

    Hi George,

    I found your comments and photos on Montanita to be very helpful and informative. I’m looking for a place in coastal Ecuador to live next year for perhaps six months to a year while working online, and I was wondering if you know about the availability of reliable and/or high speed (or whatever passes for it in Ecuador) internet in that area? Also, did you notice if there were apartments, hotels, or any kind of long-term living spaces OUTSIDE the centre of town? I ask because it certainly sounds a bit loud for my liking on a nightly basis. So much of the town sounds appealing to me, but although very young-minded, I am 40 and not in my 20s, and for work purposes need a bit of quiet at least sometimes. Anyway, any info you have would be appreciated, thank you!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Chris, we only stayed a couple nights up the beach in a hostel… Maybe the hostels would let you rent long term or maybe you can find a place on Vacation Rental By Owner. Good luck. George

  26. Dan says:

    Thinking of retiring some day in Ecuador. may ask my daughter to spend her Spring Break, 3/7-3/14 with me in Montanita. My question is should we spend all 7 days in Montanita or spend time checking other locales? Thanks!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Montanita is a fun place. I could easily spend a week there. If you get tired, then maybe a few days in Guayaquil. Have fun. George

  27. In many developing countries, with relatively few resources, often dogs are not properly cared for, or neutered, and are left free to roam the streets, multiplying rapidly in the process. There is never enough food to go around and the dogs often end up dying of starvation or from injuries and diseases sustained in fighting with other dogs.

    Here in Ecuador’s most famous surf town, Montanita, it is a familiar story. Stray dogs are everywhere. I’ve noticed them everyday on our way to the beach to give surf lessons, constantly swerving the truck to avoid running over the dozens of dogs lying in the middle of the road in a suicidal manner, too tired to move.

    They don’t look too healthy and although they may look rough, they really just want to be loved. Just a simple pat on the head and these dogs will collapse in joy. But at the end of the day, nobody looks after them, there is not enough food to go around, and many of them will catch diseases and suffer painful deaths. So what can we do to help alleviate some of the suffering of these innocent creatures?

    Barak Epshtein first arrived in Montanita nine months ago and set up “Café del Mar” on one of the main streets in town. Everyday Barak sees the dogs around the town and he is sick of seeing their suffering. “Nobody cares about the dogs here, nobody is doing anything to help them,” he says. But he has an idea. Barak is appealing to a veterinarian from around the world to come and live in Montanita for a month, or longer, and work in a clinic neutering and treating the town’s stray dogs for diseases.

    His plan is in accordance with the advice of many animal rights organisations. All too often governments think purely in a short-term economic manner, ignoring the suffering of the animals and killing them in inhumane ways purely to improve tourism or safety. In a recent example the Romanian government has been heavily criticized for approving the culling of 64,000 street dogs.

    Obviously the best way to help the dogs is by giving them homes and registering them. However in places with large stray populations, like Montanita, neutering the dogs and treating them for common diseases is a great first step.

    Barak will provide a suitable clinic for the treatment of the animals, and other people and businesses in town, such as Montanita Spanish School, will be providing the materials needed. Many others will be volunteering their time to assist with the program in other areas.

    In return, the suitable applicant will have a comfortable apartment to stay in and all food provided for their time in Montanita. On top of this, they will be treated like Gods around town. And with the high season almost upon us, their time in Montanita will certainly be an experience.

    So if you, or anybody you know, is interested in helping the dogs of Montanita, and have a background as a veterinarian and/or in neutering and caring for animals, then please email the school at this address: and we can put you in touch with Barak. Start dates and time frames are all flexible.

  28. Ben says:

    I was wondering what I could expect in Montanita in June. I was thinking about taking a trip there next June and was wondering if it would still be busy, what the nightlife would be life, what the weather would be like and if it would be worth going that time of year?

    • Ecuador George says:

      Ben, I do not know but maybe one of the readers here will know. I can tell you that it is beautiful and is probably wonderful in June. Just not sure about the night life and all that goes along with that. Good luck. George

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