Checking In: Our Review of the Montañita Cabañas
After a month of travelling through Ecuador with the bare minimum of Spanish under our belt, we realised that we needed to do better. If we were going to travel through South America for at least 6 months, we really had to try and learn some more Spanish.
We’d read that the small beachside town of Montañita was the best place to learn Spanish in Ecuador. In fact, one of their schools, the Montañita Spanish School is one of the top 5 Spanish schools in the world. It sounded promising. Plus, in Montañita, we could combine our Spanish lessons with some beach time, surf classes, salsa and partying. Sounds perfect, right?
After studying at Montañita Spanish School each day, we retreated every night to our very own thatched-roof bamboo cabaña at the Montañita Cabañas. We had Spanish lessons for two weeks, during which we lived at the Cabañas. Before getting to Montañita we’d been travelling constantly for quite a while and we were keen to find a place where we could chill out for a couple of weeks. Montañita Cabañas certainly fit the bill.
Montañita Cabañas is one of the best value places to stay in Montañita. Here’s what you can expect from your stay there.
The grounds are the best part of the cabañas. Set on two acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, it’s like a little green oasis with lots of tropical plants.
All guests have access to shared facilities, such as a communal kitchen, the BBQ area and a lounge with TV and DVD player. The only other thing we would have liked them to have was an in-house laundry service. However, it is only a two-minute walk to the nearest laundry in town so it wasn’t an issue for us.
Right in the middle of the grounds are the swimming pool and jacuzzi. Both are well maintained and cleaned daily.
The pool and jacuzzi are perfect to relax in after a long day studying or a long night partying!
If you are worried about safety, don’t be, Montañita Cabañas is surrounded by a security fence and has a security guard on-site 24 hours a day.
There are three different types of rooms at the Montañita Cabañas: private cabañas ($41), private cabañas with kitchen ($45) and mini-dorms ($17).
We stayed in a private cabaña and it was equipped with a double bed, a small desk, a fan, a mosquito net over the bed (much needed!), a large dresser, a set of shelves to put your clothes and belongings on and an in-room safe. The room was quite spacious, which we were very happy with since we were spending two weeks there and we were dying to unpack our backpacks fully!
Our private cabaña also had a decent sized en-suite bathroom and a small terrace area with a hammock. We loved chilling out in our hammock, studying in between classes. Memorising Spanish vocabulary isn’t the most exciting thing in the world but a hammock makes it bearable!
The location of the Montañita Cabañas could not be better. It’s tucked away in a side street on the northern part of town. It’s only a 2-minute walk from the beach and a 3-minute walk from the centre of town. If you’re studying at the Montañita Spanish School then it’s also just a 5-minute walk from the school.
Montañita is a party town, so it’s hard to find somewhere quiet to stay. Montañita Cabañas is only 5 blocks away from all the clubs and loud bars, so you will still need good earplugs if you want to block out all of the noise. However, it’s certainly a lot quieter than if you choose to stay right in the centre of town.
During the day, the cabañas are such a quiet oasis.
Montañita Cabañas is always kept very clean in all the common areas and in our room itself. Every morning the staff thoroughly clean the communal areas.
Every day the cleaning lady would ask us if we wanted our room cleaned and when she did she made sure she left it in an impeccable condition with a nice fresh smell in the air. For us, staying somewhere clean is the most important thing we are looking for and we certainly couldn’t complain at the Montañita Cabañas.
What about the environment?
At the Montañita Cabañas, they recycle plastic and glass, as well as use a compost system and recycled water in order to feed and fertilise the garden. Sheets and towels are only replaced at your own request.
What to do from the Cabañas?
Head to the beach
Montañita is all about the parties and the beach, so you have to spend some time “a la playa”. Walk along the beachfront, sit on one of the beach chairs and watch the world go by. You can even feast on some ceviche right there on the beach. Yum!
Ecuador is one of the best places in South America to learn Spanish because they have one of the clearest accents in Latin America. So if you are planning on brushing up your Spanish, the Montañita Spanish School is probably your best bet to do so. It’s one of the best Spanish schools in the world. You’ll then be ready to carry on your trip around South America.
Prices start from $170 a week for group lessons or $240 for private lessons.
Try some surfing
Montañita is super popular with surfers and it’s also a great place to learn to surf! You can find waves there for all surfing levels. If you fancy some lessons, there are many places in town that offer lessons. If you want to combine learning Spanish with learning to surf, Montañita Spanish School also has a great surf school. You can also hire a board only at many places along the beach for $5 to $8 per hour.
It’s always party time in Montañita, so if partying is your kind of thing, you will have a blast in this small beach town. Parties go on until very early morning, with the music pumping out loud pretty much all night long. In the morning, if you’re feeling a little chuchaqui (hungover) you can head to one of the stalls selling Encebollado (fish soup), the traditional Ecuadorian hangover cure.
Take a whale watching trip
From June through to September, you can go whale watching from Puerto Lopez – a small fishing town located about one hour north of Montañita. We did a three-hour tour and saw plenty of whales up close. You can catch the regular bus there for a couple of dollars each way.
Final Thoughts on Montañita Cabañas
We really enjoyed staying at the Montañita Cabañas during our time in Montañita studying Spanish. If you’d like a quiet place to escape the bustle of this party town, they certainly fit the bill.
We’d like to thank Montañita Cabañas for hosting us during our stay. Although we were hosted, these are our own true opinions of this accommodation.