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The Magaluf of South America. Montanita is Ecuador’s very own Zante and where all the backpackers go to party. If you’re travelling in Ecuador you’ll want to experience the coastline, the Montanita nightlife and sunsets.
Montanita was where I chose to turn 23, celebrate Australia Day and finish off my Ecuadorian travel experience.
8 days after arriving and the same number of sunsets later we forced ourselves to move on from the beach resort of Montanita with significantly lighter wallets and splitting headaches.
Montanita is the ultimate backpacker party stop on the pacific coast. If you’re heading to montanita, Ecuador to party then
Montanita nightlife and sunsets
Where is Montanita?
Located on the Santa Elena peninsula along with several other coastal villages Montanita became famed for its surfing which is still ever present among the backpackers and hostels.
There is a surf vibe in Montanita with tourists arriving to sample some of the waves and party atmosphere. Historically, Montanita was linked to the hippy movement in the 1960’s and there’s still influences of this in modern day Montañita.
Although very commercialised to lure in passing backpackers every aspect of Montañita as a resort has been developed for visitors to enjoy.
The weather in Montanita, Ecuador is warm, the hot tropical coastal climate means sunny days and humid nights. When it rains it pours and there’s usually a daily storm where the streets of Montanita, Ecuador are drenched before the sun returns again.
How to get to Montanita
You can arrive easily from the North or South and all the passing busses stop on the main road to collect leavers and drop off the new arrivals. We came from Puerto Lopez on our bus and the journey took around an hour. Others chose to stop off at Olon, a smaller, quieter surf and yoga village 15 mins from Montanita.
A guide to Montanita nightlife
When cocktails are pint sized, rum based and $2 it’s very easy to see why so many people arrive in Montanita, Ecuador and never leave. There’s a constant flurry of backpackers who arrive on the busses that drop you off on the main road as you enter Montanita.
Named one of the best beaches in Ecuador and best surf spots on the pacific coast there’s never a day in Montanita where new people don’t arrive. With budget friendly in the air you can see why this is a backpacker fave.
There’s a few reasons people choose to spend some time on Montanita beach, Ecuador but the primary reason is usually to party. There is a reputation and when most locals and backpackers think about this town they think Montanita, Ecuador party!
Where to drink
Two words, Cocktail Alley. Everyone drinks in this infamous location before heading to the beach for sunset or hitting the bars on the beach.
Cocktail Alley is the go to place for Montanita nightlife. It’s essentially a street located in the main town of Montanita with lots of pop up bars and plastic chairs. You’ll know you are on Cocktail Alley when you spot the multi-coloured umbrellas.
This area is popular with backpackers and most cocktails will cost between $3 and $5 and are all served in plastic pint cups.
For the perfect evening grab yourself a Bloody Mary from any of the stalls on Cocktail Alley and If there’s space jump on one of the plastic chairs at your favorite stand.
Don’t be surprised if you get a little discount for spending more time there, bar tenders reward you for your loyalty in such a competitive marketspace.
The beach at sunset
At 5pm sharp everyday travellers fill the sands of Montanita to watch the surf and the sunset. This is very much a part of the Montanita nightlife as time stands still for the 30 minutes whilte the sun dips below the horizon.
Don’t be shocked at the impromptu round of applause once the sun sets and the music begins. Another wild night in Montanita is about to commence.
Travelling South Americans trying to make some extra cash walk the sands selling drinks, sandwiches, space cakes at rock bottom prices.
The atmosphere on the beach is always a calm and fun vibe and sometimes parties go on into the night.
During the day the beach is equally as busy – the waves are big but the water is cool and the many beach bars and beach clubs offer shade if you’re willing to rent a bed.
We booked a bed at one of the quiet beach clubs for my birthday and spent the day in the shade enjoying bargain cocktails and friendly service. I would highly recommend walking to the far end of the beach for a quieter experience.
Where to stay
There’s a whole range of typical budget backpacker hotels and hostels along with enough budget friendly food options for you to never get bored. Montanita is simply a budget travellers playground and I can see why so many people forget to move on.
There are a range of hotels and hostels to suit all budgets. The hotels in Montanita are naturally a little pricer.
You’ll find yoga retreats and other types of accommodation a little further from the main drag and also in the next town along named Olon.
For hotels in Montanita check out Dharma Beach you’ll notice this hotel from its colourful domes. For surf enthusiasts why not try the Balsa Surf Camp? Or for something a little more budget friendly check out the hotel/hostel Tiki Limbo.
Hostels in Montanita
There are hostels in abundance in Montanita to suit any budget, which makes spending more than a few nights here perfectly budget friendly. For budget backpackers hostel dorms will cost around $10 and they fill up fast.
If you’re looking for a quirky hostel dorm experience try to grab a bed in the loft at Iguana Backpackers Hostel for $8 per night.
Iguana Backpacker is a unique experience. For a little while you can enjoy the madness of sleeping in a space with 12 others and no walls.
Iguana Backpackers also has a small bar, communal area and a kitchen if you decide to save a few dollars and cook. They are also often looking for hostel staff to help out.
Where to eat
There’s more street food in Montanita than the whole of Ecuador’s capital Quito.
Every restaurant serves up traditional and non-traditional cuisine to thousands of backpackers enjoying Montanita nightlife. Some of the best places to eat include;
- Rasta Pan – for folded pizza from one of the stands on Cocktail Alley. You’ll pay $3 for the most delicious pizza.
- Pizza Cones – pizza cones can be found most places and are cheap and delicious.
- Ceviche – fresh fish everywhere of course! Why not indulge when at the coast and enjoy a Latin American specialty. You’ll pay $2 – $5 depending on the restaurant.
Breakfast is also served near cocktail alley under the multi-coloured umbrellas you can grab a toastie, smoothie or a crepe for $2 or the ultimate hangover cure of frozen yogurt $2.50.
Montanita nightlife safety tips
Crime and dangers in Montañita
Like most party towns, surf towns and tourist hot spots there is a lot of petty crime in Montanita. Don’t carry your valuables and don’t walk alone late at night.
Solo female travellers should be cautious too as always.
Drugs in Montañita
Drugs are widely available in Latin America and Montanita is no exception especially as it is a big party town. A lot of people come to Montanita to party so drugs are offered to you in bars and in the street.
Always be cautious when buying and taking drugs whilst travelling. Be aware of the impacts of drug consumption and production in Latin America.
A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.