Friday, September 13, 2013

Montanita, Ecuador: Beaches, scuba, surf, and Cocteles Eugenio! What you need to know for Montanita!

Best bar in Montanita! Cocteleria Eugenio!
   Welcome budget travelers to Montanita, Ecuador! The beautiful coastal city for anyone that wants to experience South American beaches. For the end of my South American summer backpack adventure we stopped off in easily one of the craziest places I have ever been. If you have been on an American spring break, imagine that on steroids. But couple it in with surfing, scuba diving, para sailing, and non stop exhilarating fun.

    Montanita is a definite stop for the budget traveler! We spent 5 days there and average spending was under $70 a day including accomodation, we could have easily done it for under $20 a day, but the crew I rolled out with enjoyed going to bars a lot, and eating at higher end restaurants. Bars are not usually budget traveler friendly, but we did find some great deals in Montanita. We also met some great people, I almost got in rough bar fight, and we did some amazing scuba diving! Montanita! Your need to know list:

  • CHEAP, CHEAP, AND CHEAP. As stated you can easily get by off $20 a day here. Street food is as low as a dollar for an empanada or burger (I'd highly recommend empanadas over the burgers, I gave my street burger to a stray dog, it was the worst thing I've ever tasted.). Souvenirs are also only around a dollar. And drinks at the outside bars are $1 to $5. Bring some change to use the bathroom though. Dinners are very cheap! From $5 to $12. There were 3 of us and routinely the total bill came out to less than $40 with appetizers, unless we were boozing.

    You'll spend more time on the streets and beaches than inside or anywhere else.
  • The dollar is taken. It's their currency, so no need for currency conversion if you are coming from the USA.
  • Know some Spanish. Check out foreign language tips here. English is not spoken by many in Montanita, while it is a prime tourist destination, it is more Spanish speaking tourist by majority than anyone else.
  • No need to rent a car. Period. It would be useless and you would run over kids crowding the streets in the long run. You won't even need to take a cab. Unless you miss the bus from the airport, which we did thanks to a strike at Lima Airport. It ended up being $100 for a cab there from Guayaquil. Be advised the bus terminal is not close to the airport, if you have a lot of bags, spend $5 and take a taxi to or from the bus terminal.
  • Be careful. I almost got a bottle smashed across my face from a guy who could've easily done it from a complete misunderstanding. Remember no matter how big or tough you are, you are a foreigner in another country, you are outnumbered, probably unarmed, and don't have the rights you do in the United States. Luckily we made up and the next night he offered to sell me the finest cocaine and marijuana on the coast. 
  • Scuba, surf, parasail, or Isla De Platas! These are my recommendations, the cheapest is definitely surfing, your hotel or hostel may have boards for free, but otherwise you can get them on the beach for around $10 for a few hours. I opted to finally scuba dive  for $80 with just one other person! Well worth it! It was my first official dive so I have to say it was the best, but even my friend who is an advanced diver vouched for the quality. Isla De Platas is the poor man's Galapagos Islands if you care to venture there! Tours leave daily around 8am for cheap.

  • The bars rock! They may have a cheap cover on the weekends, but are generally free. Liquor is generally cheaper than import beers, domestic beers are your best bet. Most bars or clubs closed between 2am and 4am, people drink on the beach till sunrise. But before you go to a bar or club inside, please go see my friend....
  • EUGENIO COCTELES!  Eugenio is hands down the best bartender in Montanita! You'll find his outdoor bar stand at night on the main strip of outdoor bar stands, don't worry nothing in Montanita is hard to find. For us, we could not make these cocktails at home for what Eugenio charges! His stand has him on a surfing on a  billboard, how can you go wrong!? I'll leave some surprises for you, but lets just say he makes the drinks STRONG. MAS FORTE!
  • Stay on the beach or the river. We stayed at the Iguana Hostel, it was dirt cheap and they don't call it the iguana for nothing, we routinely got to catch these guys in the wild life in our backyard!

Iguana Hostel from River (on the right)
  • Montanita is 3rd world, outside of Montanita is extremely 3rd world. So be sure to carry some soap and toilet paper, you'll never know when you may need it and they won't have it!
   All in all an amazing holiday! It was perfect weather, and the perfect adventure that started in freezing Santiago, Chile, thru a lot of Peru, and ending in beautiful Montanita! I look forward to my next South American trip, World Cup 2014 Brazil. Adios y muchas gracias Montanita!



Choose the continent!!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment