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2020 Updated Information: Discover detailed information about each surfing spot in our Montañita Ecuador Surf Guide: where it is, the skill level required, the best waves and the good plans of a local surfer to best prepare for your surf trip in Ecuador.
In the 1970s, Montañita was a small fishing village. The beach was deserted, the waves rolled in with no one on them and there were only a few hippies who came to live, love and take advantage of this secret paradise.
Today, the deserted beach is one of the most popular destinations in the country.
This is because, despite the people, Montañita is still a paradise that you must visit, especially if you are a fan of surfing.
The Montañita, Ecuador surfing spot is divided into two parts.
At one end of the beach is “La Punta”, a point break of long straight lines which run smoothly. The waves can measure up to 3 meters and they can barrel at low tide (watch out for the rocks at the bottom of the water).
The spot can get crowded quickly. However, if you skip the wild Montañita evenings, you will be able to surf at first light, with only a few people in the water.
Otherwise you can surf between noon and 3:00 p.m. when there are generally fewer people. Protect yourself from the sun if you do this! Put on sunscreen, surf in lycra, and even wear a cap. Remember that you are in Ecuador and therefore, you are closer to the sun. It’s no coincidence that locals call this time slot “cancer hours”.
Between La Punta and the village of Montañita is the Montañita beach break.
The waves here are more powerful and they are rolling almost every day. There are several great surf points in this spot and so the waves are more easily shared.
Surf at the beach break if you are a beginner, or go further and work on your aerials and become the next John John.
The quickest way to get to Montañita is to fly from Quito to Guayaquil and then take the bus to Montañita.
However, if you want to explore the beautiful destinations of Ecuador on the way from Quito to Montañita, use the Ecuador Hop buses. You can find our different routes here.
There are waves all year round in Montañita! The waves are consistent in summer and winter. However, the waves are even more beautiful (and big) during the northern swells which arrive between December and April.
Olón is a 10-minute drive to the north of Montañita, on the other side of the famous phallus-shaped rock. The waves are smaller and less strong than in Montañita and the village is also quieter.
Manglaralto is so close south of Montañita that you can get there by walking on the beach. The beach break (right and left) works all year round with swells from North, West, and South. The medium tide is the best time to surf here.
The small village of Ayampe 30 km north of Montañita has a long beach break (see photo above). The spot is at the mouth of the Rio Chico river offers consistent waves (sometimes larger than in Montañita). The city vibe is great. It is worth staying for several days here.
Salinas, 70 km south of Montañita is one of the most populated cities on the coast. There are many surf spots, which work as well with a swell from the north and from the south.
There is not much to do in Montañita, and yet, there is everything you need. Find your favorite hotel and restaurant then set up your surfing routine. Everyone here does the same thing all the time, but no one is ever bored.
The Wave is a trendy Surf Resto Cafe in Montañita. The dishes are delicious and are definitely “Instagramable”. Quickly take your photo and devour the most beautiful burgers in South America!
The charming little Buena Onda café is also a place to rest and get your strength back. You can drink coffee from Ecuador and taste the best sandwiches in town.
If you want to save money and at the same time lend a hand to a traveling companion, buy empanadas, brownies, and pizzas from the few hippies who roam and sell their food on the beach. Prices are between $ 1 and $ 2.
If you want to sleep peacefully, then get as far away from the center of the village as possible. Otherwise, it will be reggaeton until 7 am and a missed surf session!
Balsa Surf Camp is 30 meters from the Punta and right in front of a nice little beach break. You also have Olón just 5 minutes away and the tubes of Ayampe half an hour away. The atmosphere is very relaxed. The hotel is built of bamboo and palm wood, there are trees and hammocks in the garden. Perfect for you to relax between your sessions!
Cayena Beach is a beachside hotel that has everything you need: a swimming pool, jacuzzi, lounge bar, billiards, wifi, barbecue,… The rooms are comfortable and you are a (quiet) 5 minutes walk from the center of Montañita.
No one has just one drink in Montañita, the parties go all night. Enjoy the party, take care of yourself and the people you hang out with, and head to Cana Grill for a reggaeton fiesta and Lost Beach Club to dance to electro.
Most hotels have relationships with people who rent boards and they will be able to recommend someone who will give you a guiding price.
You can ask them for advice or go yourself to the cocktail street (the main street of Montañita where the bars and restaurants are) and ask at some of the many surf huts found there. These surf huts also offer surf lessons and surf trips.
Montañita is a great place to buy a new surfboard. There is a huge choice and you can even have a wooden Balsa board made at the Balsa hotel (mentioned above). In terms of purchasing or renting gear, there is Wiki Surf Shop and Balsa Surf Shop.
At Montañita you can practice your take-offs, your rollerskating, your cutbacks and… your Spanish! Stop putting “o” at the end of your words in English and take lessons at the Montañita Spanish School.
Learning Spanish will allow you to have more in-depth contact with the locals. This will be a great help on your trip, especially if you are looking for secret spots!
And if you travel to Montañita between June and September, you are lucky to be able to see the humpback whales. From Puerto Lopez, an hour north of Montañita, you can take a boat trip off the coast and follow the whales with their small calves. If you want to check out some of the best beaches in Ecuador, then click on!