Montanita was our first taste of beach life in Ecuador, but it wasn’t exactly the grand entry I had hoped for. We had been warned that overcast was likely the best weather we would see, but I had crossed my fingers that the sun would shine, just for us. I mean, what’s a beach with no sun? But alas, it was not meant to be. Our short stay in this little party/beach town, was gloomy throughout. It was still really nice to hear and see the ocean, and feel the sand between my toes, but I was disappointed nonetheless. We did enjoy two nights before moving on, and I have to say Montanita is where it’s at for young backpackers. The nightlife scene in town is likely the most lively we’ve encountered in Ecuador. There are plenty of nightclubs, bars, and music bumping all night long, every night of the week. There’s good surf opportunities and no shortage of travellers to interact with. I can only imagine how busy it must be in the full swing of summer. It was actually our fourth time running into a girl we met in Quito, weeks ago. Talk about being on the same path. Though...there’s nothing like being surrounded by people in their early to mid 20s to make you wonder, and feel like maybe you’ve done this backpacking a thing a little late in life.
They say travelling is the way to find yourself, but does that have an expiration date on it? Is finding yourself just as fruitful while travelling in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or even in retirement? Is there really an optimal time? I mean I think about who I was in my 20s and I wonder if I would’ve been mature enough to appreciate the life of a traveller to its fullest. When you’re drinking all night, and sleeping all day, do you really experience where you are? On the flip-side, if we had waited until retirement to do this kind of trip would we be too tired and generally too worn out to take buses, to stay in hostels and interact with such a young crowd? Speaking in my favour, maybe your 30s are a time when you have a head on your shoulders, understand the world around you a little better, and are more respectful of it, and can still enjoy most activities while travelling, including those that are physically demanding. I suppose that unless you travel in all stages of life, there’s no real way to know, but I’m certain that travelling is a catalyst to and for true happiness, and is simply a must at any age.
All philosophical wonderment aside, Montanita isn’t going to be for everyone. It caters to a specific crowd; party-goers, and surfers. It really doesn’t offer very much else in the way of tourism. There is paragliding and a few other water sports available, but happy hour is by far the most popular event on any given day. We even ran into a $20pp all you can drink beach bar, which was more than a little enticing. Our friends at Wanderbus did warn us that this little beach spot is a party paradise, and had advised that if we wanted something quieter to stay in the town next door instead, but in the end it was nice to experience, and easier to get in and out of.
But I digress… If you’re young, love to party, and to surf, come to Montanita. Obviously it’s better to come in the summertime to experience the town in all its glory, but winter here is a far cry from winter in the Ecuadorian Andes. Strapping on a wet suit for your surfing adventures, and wearing a sweater for your partying extravaganzas will do just fine, and don’t forget your dancing shoes!