Montanita is actually in the Province of Santa Elena, and not in Manabi. It is less than an hour from Puerto Lopez, and is one hopping little place where tourists and many young people with surf boards tucked at their sides, are a most common sight.
Montanita certainly is a young person’s town. There are surf shops and tattoo parlars. There are hippies and rastafarians. And, there are many tourists like ourselves. There are also plenty of retired expats living here. as many of the beautiful seaside gated communities seemed to indicate. We came across many young working expats from Argentina as well. Wherever we ate, our young waitress was from Argentina!
Unfortunately, Montanita has a dark side.. It is known for it’s drugs, drinking and partying — the partying we can attest to. And, as we have heard, since drinking and surf do not mix, there are supposedly several casualties each year, and usually at night.
But while that all may be true, we saw Montanita as a great little vacation spot. Actually, if one wants to escape Ecuador for just a few days, Montanita is an excellent place to go, as we felt like we were transported to a town in Hawaii. Our friend Wayne said, Key West, Florida. (Fred and I have never been to Key West).
The town is picturesque and loaded with good restaurants. To paint a picture, I’d say that these places serve food that rivals eateries found in Boulder, Fort Collins, and Durango, Colorado.
Early in the night the town starts to come alive even more. That is when most of the artisan street venders set up to sell their wares — actually, many of the items seem to come right out of the Otavalo artisans market.
However, later in the night the town can get wild and noisy. In fact, if one is an early-to-bed person or a light sleeper, a hotel or hostel in town may not be a good idea.
There are certainly no shortage of hostels or hotels in Montanita, Ecuador either. These can range from $8.00/person, per night, up to $200/room, per night–in the off season. Up to $400/night in the high season. Guess which price range we chose!
One expensive hotel that we discovered is called the Taj Mahal. (In Trip Advisor it’s called Darma Beach (?). That beach front place sits away from the noisy action. While we didn’t have the luxery of staying there at $200 a clip, we did get to have breakfast on their stunning waterfront patio. Good breakfast.
Back to Manta!