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Party in Montanita!

Written on: Wednesday September 19th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Author: Julie


We boarded a morning bus to Montanita. We worked our way down the various bus companies selling tickets to every destination possible in Ecuador before finding the one heading to Santa Elena then on to Montanita. Our guide book describes it as ?Blessed with the country?s best surf, Montanita means bare feet, baggy shorts, surf and scene.? Just what we were looking for after Guayaquil and its intense population, concrete buildings, noise, pollution and blandness.

As we changed buses in Santa Elena, I spotted a sign welcoming us to ?la Ruta del Sol? ? the route of the sun. Sun, just what the doctor ordered! Although, looking up at the sky, we wondered if it had its own micro-climate, since as far as the eye could see, there were only grey low lying clouds. After a few miles outside of town, the bus took a sharp left and there before us was the ocean. Rolling waves, deserted beaches and the occasional village as far as the eye could see. Considering that 2 days before we were deep in the Andes, this morning in a large metropolitan center and now staring at the pacific coast, we have a good life.

Our arrival in the village was anti-climatic, the bus dropped us off at the highway and we walked into the village to have a DVD movie vendor approach us to buy movies. We politely looked through then said ?thank you, but no?. We really were looking for our hostel that was recommended in the guide book: Cabanas Pakaloro. Like a welcoming party, he asked where we were staying and walked us to it. Our first view of the village was one of hip beach restaurants, clothing stores, bars, colourful buildings, and foreign hippies who decided to stay for one reason or another. They each had a little table set-up along the main street with their hand-made products mostly consisting of macramé bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. We quickly checked into our little cabana room consisting of a little porch with a hammock, table and chair, a double bed, and a bathroom with hot water, all for 15$ a night. So much better for our budget after Guayaquil. Dropping our bags and being famished, we returned to the main street to see what was on offer for food. There were endless hip restaurant-bars offering seafood dishes, hamburgers, pizza, vegetarian; the usual food selection in tourist area. We choose a restaurant overlooking the beach and ordered our first seafood plate since the start of the trip: Shrimp in Garlic Sauce and Breaded White Fish. Both dishes were huge and we had difficulty finishing them, even thought they tasted fantastic.

We couldn?t wait to see the main attraction: the beach and the surf! We were not disappointed, with a never ending shoreline to the left and a curving bay ending with a dramatic cliff point to the right. In the water, we could see a few surfers gliding up and down the waves as they broke close to shore. The beach itself is wide and clean with soft, light beige colored sand and the occasional rock near the tide lines. There didn?t seem to be any seaweed or algae. We walked to the point to watch the waves crash over the rocks. Looking up, the cliff point ended 50 feet higher with a house belonging to someone rich, with all glass windows in the front affording the owners an uninterrupted view of the ocean. Walking back, we continued past the backpackers area towards the common area of town where most the locals lived. The buildings were simpler, with a couple of windows, a rocky front yards and walls looking like they could use a coat of paint. Getting tired we turned around, to past by an old beat up motorhome with the name ?El Bicho? written on the windshield and written on the back the words ?Somos de Patagonia queres llegar a Mexico. Nos ayuda con 5 litros diesel o un plato comida, por favour? ? ?We are from Patagonia, going to Mexico. Please help us by giving 5 litres of diesel gas or a plate of food.? It was such a cool, hippy idea to cruise down the roads of South America, aimlessly stopping in various little towns, to meet the people and to just experience South American life in general. As passed, we noticed a familiar looking motorcycle parked beside it and out came Christian ? the bike guy we had met in Quito then re-met in Banos! He had befriended the owners of the motorhome and was spending the night with them. He invited us in and we met Matu and Chanti and their dog Yaiza. They had been travelling for 2 years, slowly moving north towards Mexico in their fantastic little motorhome. They were extremely gracious and immediately made us at ease. We spent the next couple of hours chatting with them. In a past life, they were both successful photographers. To fund their trip they occasionally sell their commercial photo services to various local governments, restaurants or hotels along the way.

Getting tired we went back to our cabana to fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing in the distance mixed with the cacophony of music blaring in the background from the nearby bars.