For Ecuador’s Independence weekend we headed to the coast and spent our time in Montañita celebrating with the locals. Our bus arrived early Saturday morning and we sat on the beach waiting to check in to our hostel, watching as party-goers from the night before made the walk home and slowly everyone else began to wake up until the beach was completely full.
Mobile carts came past selling everything from food and drinks to beach toys and balls. Despite the cloud cover, something that never leaves Montañita alone, it was a beautiful day and everyone was enjoying the water or the sand, attempting a tan while I tried to not get burnt.
The place had a very chilled vibe about it with people drinking all day and police turning a blind eye to people smoking what clearly weren’t cigarettes. That night we celebrated with the locals, starting in a hostel selling ‘all you can drink’ cocktails for $6 USD which was an offer we couldn’t refuse. We headed to the beach next, finding ourselves at the front of a dance party taking up a large section of beachfront with western songs we could both dance and sing along to for a nice change.
The next day was unsurprisingly a quiet one consisting of lying on the beach for most of it and finding food when we eventually got hungry. We walked the busy streets through town with the lit up restaurants and too many souvenir shops to count. There was a very relaxed vibe throughout the whole place, and it was nice to see everyone so chilled on their holidays, having the same affect on me that I hadn’t realised I needed.
Monday was a bit more eventful as we took a day trip to Isla de Le Plata or, the Poor Man’s Galapagos as some people call it. We admired the blue footed boobies and their very young babies and watched the frigates fly overhead watching for fish below them. Snorkeling was an option but I opted for the warmer choice and stayed on the boat while most of the others jumped in, though they didn’t have much to rave about so it seemed I had made the right choice. The boat trip back presented us with a family of humpback whales, a young, smaller one and two bigger ones closer to the 16m max length. It was incredible to watch them but just a little unsettling as they jumped around not 10m away from our boat, something probably half their size. Despite my fear I enjoyed the show and yet another type of safari before bracing myself for the very choppy ride back, thanking my parents for the passed down gene of sea sick proneness.
Montañita was a nice getaway for a few days and I loved spending it with the friends I’d grown close with. Ben and I separated from the others and took a bus to Guayaquil where we would spend a few more days chilling out and trying to reset before I continued on to Peru.