Surf’s up in Montañita
We finally made it to our final destination Montañita , a cool, chill little beach town about 3 hours west of Guayaquil. Montañita is best known for two things; surfing and partying. This combination attracts a diverse, slightly offbeat and hippie crowd from all over the world.
The town has grown tremendously in recent years and while this is mostly a good thing (accommodations and infrastructure have improved), some of the locals lamented to us that just a little bit of charm may have been lost in the process.
That being said Montañita is still a great spot where travelers and locals depend on each other and mix and mingle as well as any tourist town I’ve seen.
But the real reason to come here is the waves. Now I’m not a huge surfer by any stretch but the waves in Montañita are legendary. The edge of the beach at the Point is where the big monster waves are, but given my surfing experience (basically none); we decided it best if I sought the services of a professional.
We headed over to the Balsa Surf Shop and one of the best surfers in town, Eusebio Rodriguez agreed to give me a lesson. Eusebio is not only a great surfer; he’s a good teacher.
He insisted I stick to the baby waves, not the big daddy waves I naively wanted to try. In the end, I listened to Eusebio and got up on my first try. From there on it was a constant battle to stay upright and to remember all the techniques Eusebio taught me until I eventually tired out and called it a day.
Once back on land I accidentally dropped the surfboard on my foot and bled like a stuck pig. But that didn’t damper my producer’s enthusiasm. He ignored the injury and insisted on getting his “intro” and “outro” so I gave it to him.
Later that night we sampled a little bit of the Montañita nightlife but nothing too crazy or ridiculous. I was exhausted from surfing and a work out at the local gym aptly named “Surf and Gym” and called it an early night.
We went to sleep to the lovely sounds of waves crashing in surf and the decidedly less lovely sounds of reggaeton and electronic music spilling from one of the discos in town.
The next day we took a cramped and claustrophobic minivan back to Guayaquil because the buses back were all booked up. It would have been a quicker and less painful journey but one guy, an obvious friend of the driver, kept insisting the van stop so he could either buy more beer or relieve himself of the beer he had just consumed.
Montañita may not be the charming little beach town I first set my eyes on 5 years ago. But it’s still a cool and somewhat off the beaten path destination to take in a little beach action. If you go, I heartily recommend you look for Eusebio at the Balsa Surf Shop and at least give the baby waves a try.