Coordinates: 1°50′0″S 80°45′0″W / 1.83333°S 80.75000°W / -1.83333; -80.75000
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Montañita Beach
Montañita Beach
Lo que pasa en Montanita, se queda en Montanita
Montañita is located in Ecuador
Location in Ecuador
Coordinates: 1°50′0″S 80°45′0″W / 1.83333°S 80.75000°W / -1.83333; -80.75000
Country Ecuador
ProvinceSanta Elena
CantonSanta Elena
ParishesList of urban parishes
 • Total1,000
Time zoneUTC-5 (ECT)

Montañita is a small coastal town in Ecuador located in the parish of Manglaralto, province of Santa Elena, about 180 kilometers northwest of Guayaquil.[1] Its name means "small mountain." In the mid 20th century it was known as a surfing beach, with only a few fishermen's huts, and one or two surfers tents in summer, erected at the site.[2] But in 1960, Montañita, foreigners linked to the hippie movement decided to settle there permanently. It is now a popular destination for surfers from around the world and considered one of the best surfing beaches in Ecuador's south coast.[3]


The town of Montañita is laid out in a grid of small streets crowded with shops and restaurants. Most of the east/west roads have beach access. The town has four main areas: the beach, the Point, Trigrillo neighborhood and the Center.[4] The Point is the small mountain, that separates Montañita's beach from that of the neighboring town of Olon. The first cement beach house in the town, constructed by two foreigners Jack and James who had formerly been camping on the beach, is a notable feature of the town. [citation needed]


Montañita's climate is that of a tropical, coastal city. Its average temperature is 28°C (82°F), and the rainy season runs from December to May. However, rainfall is low and typically occurs in the evening or night.[5] Water temperatures range from 13-20°C (56-68°F).[6]


Tikilimbo, a hostel in Montañita

Montañita's economy is dependent on tourism, especially food service, surfing, and craft sales.[7] Besides surfing, tourists and locals come to engage in bodyboarding, scuba diving, and windsurfing. The tourist season peaks in January and hits its low in June. Each February, Carnival is held in Montañita.

Valdivia archaeological site[edit]

About 10km south of Montanita is located the Valdivia archaeological site.[8] The excavations here back in the 1950s revealed the existence of now famous Valdivia culture, one of the oldest ancient cultures in South America. The coordinates of the Valdivia archaeological site are 1°56'29"S and 80°41'51"W.

There are several other archeological sites on the Santa Elena Peninsula south of Montanita, including Santa Elena, Ecuador. Excavations there revealed the evidence that this site belonged to the Las Vegas culture (archaeology), the first Ecuadorian culture which flourished from 8800 to 4600 BC along the Ecuadorian coast.

Surfing in Montañita[edit]

Surfing in Montañita offers strong, consistent waves and good tubes make it a great place for accomplished surfers and challenging for newer surfers. Montañita is an increasingly popular destination on the international surfing circuit.[6] In the summer months wave heights range from 0.3 to 1 meter. In the late fall and winter waves can be as large as 1.5 meters. Between January and March, waves may be large as 2 meters. Montañita hosts an international surfing competition each February during Carnival.[6]


The main means of transportation are bicycles, pedicabs and the occasional truck, although the streets are mostly pedestrian. It is common to hear reggae music on street corners, and banners of peace symbols, or the portrait of Che Guevara, John Lennon or Bob Marley are common. Montañita has bars, restaurants, and cafés that cater to international tastes. During peak tourists season, there are many electronic/house music festivals on the beach. There are three schools that specialize in teaching Spanish. Montañita Spanish School was the first professional Spanish language school in town.[4][9]

On December 5, 2014 the movie "Sexy Montañita", directed by Alberto Pablo Rivera, was released.

Montañita is widely known for its legal cannabis use due to an Ecuadorian law according to which individuals are allowed to carry a small "personal" amount of marijuana.[10]


  1. ^ "Montañita Area Road Map: Useful Information". Montañita Area Road Map. 12 December 2012.
  2. ^ "What is Montañita?". Retrieved 2009-07-10.
  3. ^ "Montañita Beach: Running the surf of the Pacific". Ministry of tourism. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Info: Montañita, Meet Montañita". Montañ Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Montañita: Useful Information". Helpful Information about Montañita.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c "Montañita, South America's surfing mecca". Retrieved 2009-07-10.
  7. ^ Martillo, Jorge (2009-02-01). "Montañita. En la Ruta de Artesanos y Mochileros". El Universo. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  8. ^ Map showing major towns and archeological sites on the Santa Elena Peninsula, Ecuador, including Valdivia Village, and Real Alto. from Markus P. Tellkamp 2019, A story told from a small-mesh screen: the importance of songbirds and ground doves to the Guangala people at the El Azúcar archeological site in coastal Ecuador.
  9. ^ "Montañita, Ecuador #48 The Surf Town". David Hoffman. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved 10 December 2012. and Mar Azul Mar Azul Spanish School with local experienced and certified teachers and La Escuelita [ offers customized private lessons. Montanita has a real reputation of being a devils town but there really is a myriad of other activities to take part in.
  10. ^ "Montanita, Ecuador Marijuana Prices, Laws, Buying & Information for Weed in Montanita, Ecuador". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2015-12-01.

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