Loud, blaring music, stall after stall of $2 cocktails and people jiving all up and down the beach as the full moon rises over Montañita, Ecuador for the monthly full moon party. In truth, the party scene in Montañita is pretty rowdy most weeks from Thursday through Saturday, with locals and travelers alike flocking to town for the cheap booze and the easy availability of other “specialty” goods.
While Montañita doesn’t quite compare to the world famous full moon parties of Ko Phanang, Thailand, it’s still a great excuse to let loose for a night and dance on the beach while sipping on mojitos (no buckets sold here unfortunately). Afterwards, treat yourself to a burgers from the dozens of street stalls; they’re only $1.50, but perhaps just one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. I even went back the next day just to make sure it wasn’t just the alcohol talking. Be sure to keep an eye on your drinks and exercise some reasonable judgment, as pick pocketing is an all too common event here.
By day, Montañita offers some of Ecuador’s best surf with consistent beach breaking waves and moderate temperatures year round. Surf shops offer daily and weekly board rentals starting from about $10/day and lessons for beginners.
There are numerous hostels and guesthouses lining the streets in town, but if it’s some rest and relaxation you’re after you’ll want to stay farther up the beach where the constant, thumping bass is only heard quietly in the background. We loved the rustic Guacamayo hostel, about a 10 minute walk up the beach with beach front access, hot showers, breezy patios and only 3 private rooms for about $17/night.
While Montañita is known for its year round party vibe, it can be as outrageous or chilled out as you want it to be. You can spend your nights drinking shots at the beach side drink stalls before hitting the clubs, or dine in one of the swank fusion eateries before being lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean. Surprisingly, it’s also got one of the country’s top Spanish schools, which offers daily and weekly rates as well as accommodation, home stays and volunteer options. If you’re looking to base yourself in town for a while, it’s one of the most affordable places to brush up on your Spanish.
Go Gallivanting Recommendation: If you’re looking for a beach getaway in Ecuador, this is it. With good surf, good food and great accommodation options, there is no bad time to visit Montañita.