Bus from Guayaquil
2 options â€“ The quickest and most comfortable way only goes 3 times a day. There is a direct bus that leaves in the morning, mid-day and late afternoon. If you can get on this one it is your best option 3 hours. ($5)
The other choice is to buy a ticket from Guayaquil to Santa Elena ($3). Get off there and change buses to Montanita/Olon ($1.50). This is a small local bus where the luggage goes on the roof and they cram so many people in a poor old man was actually hanging out the door for 20 minutes or so. We didn’t have a seat and had to stand for 1 Â½ hours. You should be able to get on this route about every 20 minutes, so it is a lot easier if you just show up at the station and hope to leave asap.
The return trip is very similar.
This is a common website, but it has phone#’s and occasionally websites if you want them for popular hotels in the area.
Most of the clubs, bars, restaurants etc. are on the North side of town. It can be fun to be right where the action is, but the music is loud and pumping until about 4am and then starts back up again around 9am. So, it really is not good for sleeping. Some of the hostels in that area are the following: Funky Monkey, Hostel Papaya, Tierra Prometida, Casa Blanca, Hotel Tsunami etc. Many of them have some great island style funky character going on. They just don’t encourage sleep there. There are plenty of places off the main street, but still in town, that would be quieter. There are also some beach cabanas less than 1 km north that would be much more tranquilo.
Price - $12 per person in a 5 person room. That was their holiday rate (We were there the week of NY). I think it is normally less, but it was the cheapest deal we found for the holidays.
Cleanliness â€“ Clean when you first get there, but they don’t do a daily cleaning. Some places I don’t mind that, but in a beach town I think it is essential. You are tracking sand in all the time, so the floor needs to be swept and sheets need to be changed. It is a party town, so there can be puking involved. The boys next door who we were sharing a bathroom with did plenty of that, and we had to go ask for the employees to clean the bathroom so it was usable again.
Comfort â€“ Not so much. The noise is probably the most obvious. Their website said they had fans, but the first room didn’t have a fan. The second had a little floor one, but it didn’t reach the people on the top bunks or in the sleeping loft, so it was pretty hot. The mosquito nets had holes in them, so we got quite a few bites in the night. The mattresses and pillows were a little on the thin side. Also, I saw in one of the doubles. It had shutters for windows. They could be opened to let in air, but there was not a net, screen or window in its place, so in order to be secure it had to stay closed, which probably means those people were roasting. The hostel also said they had hot water, but frequently we didn’t have any water. There was something wrong with their pump
Character â€“ It was a fun, funky place. Lots of bright colors, bamboo railings, tropical fronds on the roof. Many of the hostels on that stretch had the same style. Some of them looked a little nicer. Others were a little more run down.
Amenities â€“ hot water(occasionally), hammocks for every room, a little kitchenette with a stove, but no fridge, restaurant downstairs. Close to the beach and the main attractions. (It says TV on their website, but I never saw one, and even if they had one it would be impossible to hear it)
Recommended?Not really. When we first arrived it seemed like a fun place to spend a few days, but if you read about all the problems we had in the comfort section I think you will understand why I can’t recommend the place as a great place to stay â€“ Oh, and the kicker was around 6am one morning my friend woke up and found a black cat sitting at the foot of her bed. It took quite a bit of effort to get it out of our room and we still have no idea how it got in. But, we told the hotel staff. Once they realized it was just the hostel cat they didn’t seem to concerned about the fact that we ended up sleeping with the uninvited guest.
Price - $12 per person with a private bath. $10 per person with a shared bath.
Cleanliness â€“ Clean when you first get there, but they don’t do a daily cleaning.
Comfort â€“ The beds were fine. The mosquito nets had holes in them. The hotel was away from the hub of town, so it was really quiet.
Character â€“ yes, but it is hard to describe. It looks like it has more potential if they kept the gardens and common area up a little better. As it is, the people who run it are really into surfing. That’s what they probably spend most of their time doing. It is fine though.
Amenities â€“ hot water, garden with a little area to sit and hang out or eat breakfast (extra $2-3), they rent surf boards right there for a price of $6 for 2 hours or $12 for 2 hours of lessons and a board. Hammocks in front of the room.
Recommended? It is a nice chilled out place to stay in Baja Montanita. There is nothing luxurious about it, but it is fine for getting up early for surfing and sleeping the afternoon away in a hammock.
The only disadvantage of the area in general is it is a little far away from the town to return by yourself at 4am if you go out partying. I’m not sure if it is dangerous walking back along the beach.
The food/restaurants are much more expensive than most other places I have been in Ecuador. Some of them had a varied menu and some tasty dishes, but be prepared to spend more like $5-7 for a meal than the normal >$2 for lunch and >$4 for dinner that I have grown accustomed to here.
Avoid the pizza place with the cool pizza oven and sea scene painted tables. It was pretty bad.
Surf lessons - $12 an hour. It is a pretty easy place to learn because you don’t have to paddle out too far to catch the baby waves.