Montanita: More to offer than sun, sea and surf Recommended read

Montanita Wandering along the endless white sand beach and between colourful cocktail stalls, the average visitor to Montanita will fall in love with theplace immediately.

Even without its much-lauded surfing opportunities, Montanita has more than its fair share to offer holidaymakers and travellers, with its vast arrayof coastal view bars and cheap hostels, set within naturally beautiful surroundings.

 

There is a strong Rastaferian vibe in addition to the surfer culture andduring just a short walk down the town's main street tourists will be handed several flyers promising them 2 for 1 cocktail offers at buzzy venues playing upbeat reggae music or slow South American ballads.

Thirsty visitors will find that there is no shortage of scrumptious fresh fruit juices, batidos (smoothies) and cocktails and the street leading down to the beach is lined with wooden huts and high stools at which customers can sip their drinks and soak up the atmosphere.

Staggered in between the juice bars, shops and stalls display Hawaiian print shorts, flip flops and surfboards in every colour of the rainbow and jewellery made by artisans in nearby communities, so those seeking suitable beach wear and gifts to take home will not be disappointed. Unusually for a small town of only 1,000 inhabitants, boutiques selling uniquely designed clothes are in abundance.

Montanita's many travel companies leave bright billboards outside theirdoors to snap up the tourists' attention, offering scuba diving, horse-ridingand trekking opportunities.

Meanwhile, the restaurants are as varied as the clientele they serve.Hamburger stalls cater for hungry surfers on their way back from the seafront, while other places offer sit-down meals from cazuelas (seafood stews) and pizza to the traditional Ecuadorian set almuerzos (lunches) and meriendas (dinners).

Budget travellers will rejoice to find that they can stay as long as they wish to in Montanita, as it is easy to find a hostel bed for $5 per night.

Of course, if spending more than a couple of days in Montanita, it is amust to at least try some surfing lessons and you won't have to look far to find competitively-priced classes - just be aware that the waves can be powerful for beginners.

Those looking for a good night's sleep should be warned that this is not the place to come, as the party goes on all night and the blaring music (which includes a speaker attached to the church) is only switched off at around 8:00am.

However, as a break from high-speed city life or the drizzly weather ofthe northern highlands, Montanita is the ideal place to wind down and maybe learn to ride those waves.

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