Oh Montanita. If you are on the South American backpacking trail, there is no doubt that you will hear tales of this mystical land. And let me tell you, everything is true. Really. And it is actually even better than that.
Great waves, spectacular sunsets, friendly locals and a party scene that makes the Thai full moon fiesta seem like a pizza party – this tiny surf village on the west coast of Ecuador is the stuff that dreams are made of. But how do you get there?
Your trusty English language guidebook will probably tell you that there are 3 buses a day from the bus terminal in Guayaquil. What I have seen most tourists (including myself) do is plan the entire journey to make one of those 3 bus connections, thinking that if they were missed you will get stuck in Guayaquil for the night. Ignore your guidebook completely.
The truth is that you are in Ecuador and everything is possible, always. There are 3 direct buses a day from Guayaquil to Montanita but loads and loads of indirect buses leaving all the time. When you find yourself in the bus terminal in Guayaquil, buy a ticket on any bus to Santa Elena or Salinas. Santa Elena is a small little town abut 1h 45min away, the bus driver will announce loudly when the bus stops there. As soon are you are off the bus, loads of locals will be trying to hoard you towards Montanita.
If you are there during the day time, you can get on a local bus to Montanita (the locals will point you to the stop where more than likely loads of other gringos are waiting). If you arrive late at night, you will get pointed to a collectivo or a shared mini-bus taxi where you pay $4 for your seat to Montanita. A private taxi from Santa Elena is about $15.
Next stop, Montanita. Enjoy. I’m jealous.