After a few nights in Lima post-Huaraz retreat, I was heading back up to Ecuador. I took an Excluciva Super Cama bus (the ONLY way to travel long distances in Peru!) to Tumbes and then planned to take a CIFA bus to Montanita. However, upon arriving in Tumbes I was greeted by a very eager taxi driver who said he would take me to the border and he had a van cab company that would take me from the border to Montanita for $10.
Something just seemed off and I should’ve gone with my instinct and had him take me to the CIFA but station, but where would the fun would that be. I was correct in thinking it wasn’t going to work out because my driver took me to a Peru embassy to get my exit stamp, but then he dropped me at the border and told me to walk four blocks and find the van. Okay…well this wasn’t going to go well. I walked across the border and learned quickly that I should’ve never taken a cab because I then had to take another cab to get to the Ecuador border office (the same one I’d been to twice before on the bus). Oh well.
I got through the border and got on a bus to Guayaquil. Once in Guayaquil, I immediately got on another bus to Montanita. A note for those heading to Montanita…the buses stop in La Libertad and force you off if you’re heading to Montanita past 4pm or so. It was 10:30pm, I was a good 30 miles away from Montanita and the cabs were quoting me $25 to get to Montanita. I refused to pay that much but I finally found a guy to take me for $10. A long journey, but I finally arrived in Montanita and pretty much collapsed into my bed.
My friend Robbie suggested I stay at Casa del Sol and it was wonderful. It’s a great location, about a five minute walk down the beach, away from the crowds and run by the lovely Tamara. The entire staff at Casa del Sol are fantastic, make you feel like part of the family and extremely helpful about the things to do around Montanita.
They also offer a dance and yoga class daily. I highly recommend the Nia class with Whitney. I’d never heard of Nia before, and when we first started I kept thinking, I don’t know why everyone says this is so hard. But then 10 minutes into the class I understood. Highly enjoyable and a great workout!
Montanita is not the easiest place to come when you’re not drinking, but it was still fun to hang out with folks at Cocktail Alley and check out the scene around town. I actually really enjoyed Montanita, maybe even better than Mancora. There seems to be a traveler debate as to which town is best, as they are quite similar in certain regards. Montanita is definitely worth a stop while traveling around Ecuador!