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Montañita, Ecuador – “Maybe today? Maybe tomorrow.”

Everyday I’m just one piece of clothing away from being naked here and yet I feel over-dressed.  

If you come to Montañita with one shirt you’re fine, two shirts acceptable, three shirts – you’re just showing off. Just the thought of having to struggle to slip on my flip flops is often times too much of a chore, so for most of the time I just go barefoot all day.  

Our plan was to stay 3-4 days and it’s going to be 9 total days before we head out.  

Montañita has its pros and cons and both are exaggerated depending on whom you ask. You have a few options of things to do here and/or from here, and it’s a nice jumping off point for some day ventures. My favorite day is, and could be for the rest of my life:

– Wake-up

– Walk/run on the beach with some exercises

– Have breakfast and coffee

– Some conversations with the people in the hostal

– Head down to the beach and play in the surf for a while – the waves are fantastic

– Stroll down one of the streets where we pick up a couple of beers and go back to the beach to enjoy them

– Once the beer is gone, it’s time for a little more ocean time to wash the sand off

– Find an empanada for a bit of afternoon snack

– Swing in a hammock for a while – reading, writing

– The end the day, stroll out once more down one of the 9 streets, grab a couple of more beers, find a place on the beach and watch the sun sink into the ocean  

– Afterward we walk around a bit, watch the whateverness going on in town

– Head back for more conversation with our international group of travelers

There are many other things one should try to do and see and maybe not do and see while in the area. There are a few other beach/surf communities to choose from that are just a bus ride away.

Surfing – Let’s just say it, it’s a surfing kinda place, and if you don’t surf and want to learn you have plenty of surfing schools to choose from. With surfing comes surfers and stoners and hippies all sporting the ever trendy (don’t tell them that) dreadlocks hair, tribal tattoos and oversized piercings – because nothing says individuality like looking like everyone else. They peddle their wares in small groups or “communities.”  No matter where you are: in town, on the beach, in your hammock at your hostal…these hippie capitalists will find you and offer you $1 empanadas, slices of pizza or chocolate cake all day long.

With that said, you have your drugs, the town even boosts a bong shop and all the street hippies sell pipes. Then of course you have the obvious, yet conspicuous way the dealers approach you.

My favorite is the use of books with tattoos turned to the page of a giant pot leaf tattoo letting you know availability of product is just a nod away. If you were clueless to the “dealer” signs, you wouldn’t think there was a bag of weed to be found…well unless you went to the beach at sunset where the not so subtle aroma will find its way into your nasal passages.

If you are going to stay in Montañita and you are trying to avoid the party scene, head north across the bridge and find one of the chiller hostals. We found Hostal Moai,  owned by a young guy named Antonio. Our room had a deck with two hammocks, free breakfast, a 100 meter walk to the beach and/or town, and a great group of revolving guests. Best WiFi in town is at Tiki Limbo..for you on a budget, just sit down, order a coffee/beer, get the password and you’re set.

Any future need for fast WiFi can be found sitting on the curb with the dogs, cats and hippies just outside Tiki Limbo enjoying a $1.50 Pilsner.

However, life is more than just sitting on the beach so we visited another beach, an island, and took off into the jungle:

Los Frailes 8 out of 10 stars: A secluded beach that is part of Machalilla National Park, Los Frailes is a pristine and quiet beach where humpback whales come to play on their way north. We didn’t see any whales, but the views are out of this world. If you like privacy, this beach is for you.  

Isla de Plata (Poor man’s Galapagos) 6 out of 10 stars:  You can access the island via a tour.  We signed up and have a mixed review of the experience. 

Dos Mangas 7 out of 10 stars: This is indeed an adventure and that’s mostly why we give it 7 stars. We rentedbikes and headed out to find the waterfalls. What we found was mud, a lot of mud. However, we did hear howler monkeys!

I don’t know what it is about this place, it offers nothing in the way of culture and on weekends ravers and rich people roll in to club all night long…none of these things appeal to our nature…yet if we didn’t have a whole world to see, I’d settle down here right now and sell empanadas with the rest of them…sans the dreadlocks.


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