Montañita is a non-stop party town on Ecuador’s Pacific coast. With a population of just 1,000, it is so geographically insignificant, that Google don’t even bother mapping it, but if you’re a beach bum, hippy, party animal or all three, this is an absolute must. Step off the bus and walk a mere 200 yards and you’re in the centre of town. New arrivals are greeted with smiles and waves from the locals (all of whom are in swimming costumes) and stray dogs roam freely in the streets. Marijuana fumes drift out of the open cafes and there is nary an officer of the law to be seen.

Tourist Activities

Very little. Surfing, partying and partying to recover from partying are the main attractions here. For newbies, the waves present a suitable challenge, but veterans also flock here in droves; the busiest time being the February, when the annual international surf competition takes place. People come from all over the world to take part.

When the sun goes down, everyone in town retires to wash the sand out of those hard-to-reach areas before coming out again to party down. If the bars get too crowded, you can just sit on patio chairs in the street people-watching while a man makes you the most elaborate of fresh fruit cocktails from his cart (with built-in stereo system) for $4 a go.

Only one place really qualifies as a nightclub. Electro and American chart music spun by international DJs blares from the speakers in Caña Grill on Fridays and Saturdays right through till dawn. Thankfully, reggaeton is strictly off the playlist. The next day is usually best spent relaxing on the beach or sitting in a cafe watching people stumble out of their hostels and try to piece the night back together. Dedicated surfers head straight for the ocean. If you’re feeling a little delicate then remember, nothing cures a hangover like a face full of salt water.

Lodgings

There is accommodation in abundance, both budget and high-end. For 9$ a night you can stay in a hammock, go to sleep with a bassline rumbling through your guts and wake up to find your legs have been gobbled in the night by mosquitoes, or you can fork out around $20 for a room at the Swiss Hotel. This is one of the few buildings in town built from stone (the majority are wooden) and it is worth every centavo. Isolated from the chatter and music, the immaculately clean Swiss Hotel is run by a real Swiss bloke and oozes with refined European charm. Fewer mosquitoes here and nets in every room. Recommended if you like your quality zzz…

Eating and Drinking

Montañita boasts an excellent variety of international cuisine. Try the watermelon juice after a heavy night on the sauce.

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