Most people don't know that on the backside of Montañita there is a virgin mountain range which is being turned into a governmental protected area. There are biking, trekking and zip line tours available ranging from $15 - $40.
The range is mostly virgin tropical rain forest and its common to see or hear hauler monkeys and tiger cats, there are also waterfalls and a small community of artisans who work carving tagua figures.
I took 2 weeks of Spanish classes at Marazul Spanish School in Montanita in June 2009. I previously did not speak any Spanish, but as a medical student in the US I feel it's absolutely necessary to at least be able to make my patients feel comfortable around me (even if I still need a translator for the medical discourse). I chose Marazul Spanish School because of their one-on-one classes and their beach location (the other Spanish school in Montanita has group classes which I felt were not what I needed).
I lived with a family in Montanita and took 4 hours of Spanish lessons one on one with Gaby (the schools owner) every day. Gaby is an incredible teacher and she really cares about teaching her students Spanish. She also worked at a Spanish school in Quito for many years before opening her own business and so she employs the best practices that she learned working in a bigger city, but now she works with only a few other teachers. Gaby's hostel is clean and a little removed from the night life scene at Montanita, so you can actually sleep on nights the discotheque is open until 7 AM (every weekend night)!
Overall, this was really the best experience of my life. I loved Montanita and I loved working with Gaby, and after only two weeks I felt comfortable speaking Spanish alone in a foreign country and knowing I would be understood. I highly recommend this to anyone interesting in taking Spanish lessons abroad
Manglaralto stands proudly in front of its beautiful beach. It's very quiet and low profiled but it still has some accommodation, restaurants and even a small hospital for emergencies. Just 2-3 km south of Montañita it can be reached on foot or in the frequent passing buses and pick up trucks.
It is known for their production of tagua, which they use to carve into small pieces of art.
A useful organisation is set here called Pro-Pueblo, which works with local communities to facilitate the working conditions of the artisans. It creates job opportunities and train them.
Olon is a quiet little village privileged by a beautiful, long beach and magnificent sunsets. It's only 3 kms north of Montañita so you can even walk to it or just reach the view point in the central road and have a panoramic view. For those who prefer swimming to surfing and tranquility to partying, this is a better alternative to Montañita.
Using the passing buses you can visit the neighbouring villages and have a pleasant walk on the Cordillera Chongon-Colonche, starting at La Entrada , a village 12 km to the North.
Walking on the beach ...I took off my shoes to feel the invigorating touch of ..Mother Earth, especially when the ground underneath was carpeted with that invitingly soft white sand!
The waves influenced by the serene picture of the vast beach kept on breaking into laces of innocent bubbles. Their drops bounced up in the air covering the scenery with a light misty cloud that gave it a dreamy atmosphere. A few birds were flying in a line surfing on the top of the water. The images of the leisurely walking people were each a perfect opportunity for using my camera. The more footsteps I left on the sand the longer the beach seemed. It's going on for miles. Unforgettable!
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Alfonso has been in Tibet for years. He has studied in Sera University-Convent in Tibet so his knowledge combined with his talent gives the best result! His massage is not only relaxing, it's liberating...the soul. His skillful fingers discover every little niche where pain gathers and relieves it. No more pains, no more stress, no stiff members just a deep and relieving Nirvana!
You can also have sessions of Reiki, Accupressure, Cho-Ku-Reiki, Herbal-facial therapy and Hypnosis.
Try it !
Prices are between 20 and 30$US for half or one hour and 45 $US for a combination of two hours.
Open from 11am to 7pm.
His house is that light green little one at the end of this road, in the photo.
There are tons of chairs that the vendors put out at the beach. Usually thats what everyone does. You pick a place and sit and sooner or later someone will come up to you and ask if you want to use the chair (that you are already using :)) and you give them a couple of dollars and the chair is yours for the day. They watch your stuff for you and their chairs too.
That is how some people make their living.
We needed a few more chairs so they went and got some for us. If you want they will also supply a sun umbrella to sheild you alittle from the sun. They also usually carry a cooler/ice chest with them and you can buy water, beer, or soda from them too.
That was cool with me because after I sat down I didnt feel like getting back up.... AT ALL.........
Getting your hair braided can be alot of work so imaine my surprise when I asked the price to get my daughters hair braided and they said $6. I didnt even try to bargain, I said ok. I thought that was a very good price and my daughter wanted to do it. I remember paying $30 in Mexico.
The ladies did a good job and they worked fast too. The braids were great because it kept the hair out of my daughters face and kept her cool in the hot sun.
There were a couple of tattoo shops in the town that I saw but this time I managed to keep Rob out of the tattoo parlors. What we did do was get henna tattoos.
I split from the group for a little while because everyone was going to eat seafood for breakfast and I didnt want to. When I rejoined the group everyone was getting henna tattoos, From my 85 year old uncle to my 4 year old son! They ranged from $3- $4 which wasnt bad. Alexis got SpongeBob, Koa got Bob Marley, My uncle got an anchor, My cousin got Che Guevarra. Some of my cousins got tribal, or flowers. It was fun.
Montanita is a big surf spot. Big competitions are held here and locals surf practically all year around. You can rent surf boards or take lessons if you like.
We did the lessons. Right next to our hotel was a surf shop and we inquired about lessons. Alexis who is 13 wanted to learn and so did Eddie who is 19 years old. The lessons are very inexpensive. We paid $15 for two hour lessons by a top instructor. This included the gear to wear, the board, and the instruction. We couldnt pass that up.
This was the first time Alexis and Eddie surfed so I was surprised when after a little bit of instruction they both got up on their boards!
After their lessons they praticed alittle more on their own. Their instructor watching them. When we asked about the lessons we were told that we would have a very good instructor and that we were lucky. Later I found out that their surf instructor was a professional surfer. He came in 2nd place in the Ecuadorean surfing competitions and came in 8th in the International competitions. He spoke 4 languages (English, French, Portugese, and Spanish) very fluently. He was great. I just wished I remembered his name!
Montanita's beach is not the world's most beautiful, but it gets the job done. There are beach bars where you can have a drink or hamburger while you watch the surfers, hippies, local romeos talk to tourist girls, or whatever is happening. Some nice sunsets can be witnessed as well.
If surfing is taking it's toll on your body, a massage might make you feel new again. Cecilia will ease your aching muscles right on the beach. Just the thing if you want to treat yourself.
Muscle relaxing 45min $20
Spinal realignment 30 min $10
Feet reflexology 45min $20
The main commercial area, or "pueblo" of Montanita is where you will find most of the restaurants, bars, services and such. It's a place to wander around in the evenings, sit with a drink and watch hippies, shop for souvenirs, or possibly catch chlamydia. On the weekends, the streets teem with more people as Ecuadorians pile in for a couple of days of fun. You might catch some worthwhile performances from dancers or "fire twirlers".
Surfing is what this place is all about, so grab your board and ride. If you've never even touched a surfboard before, there are plenty of instructors here to show you how it's done. The beach (La Punta) puts out nice waves, so a good spot should be easy enough to find. The experts however, surf the bigger waves down by the rocky cliff.
As explained in the intro page, Montanita was a small fishing village, which became a touristic area when surfers discovered the place. Hotels have been built to host the tourists, but the old village (nothing more than a church, a little plaza and two or three streets subsist). It worths a short visit.