Wednesday, 19 August 2015





We left the overpriced hostel that we had stayed in the night before as early as we could, after taking full advantage of our included eggs-on-toast breakfast.  We headed to the bus terminal hoping to catch the 9am bus to Montanita.  Unfortunately, traffic in Guayaquil is ridiculous and we arrived at the bus terminal at 8.55am.  We rushed to the ticket office to hopefully still manage to hop onto the bus.  The man behind the counter didn't seem to think it was possible but along came a man saying that he could still get us onto the bus.  Rox was suspicious of this character but since we were in a rush we blindly gave him money and run after him to the buses.  On the way he begged for money from us - if this didn't convince us that he wasn't an official ticket seller then nothing would.  Once we got through the ticket-checking gates and found our bus, that thankfully hadn't departed yet, the bus conductor asked to check our ticket - we had been put onto the 11am bus anyway and had rushed all the way there for nothing!! Plus the man had not given us all our change and had had the cheek to beg from us as well.  The conductor checked to see if there was any space available on the bus but alas, it was jam packed.  We would just have to wait for the 11am one... We used the time in the bus station to research our trip a little bit (Montanita was supposed to be 'blessed with the country's best surf' - we were keen to dip our toes into the surf scene) and updated the blog on the bus station's wifi.  However when it came to saving all the work we had done, the wifi failed and everything was lost :( We really were not having a good day.  

Eventually, after waiting for what seemed forever, 11am came and we boarded the correct bus, having to avoid a drug dealer who was causally offering us all sorts of product for our arrival in Montanita.  After a four hour, uneventful bus journey (Hunger games dubbed in Spanish) we arrived in Montanita, the place we hope to soak up some sun on the beach and relax for the next couple of days - following our marathon travels on buses that we had endured the past week,  we felt we deserved some chill time. 

We had scoped a cheap hostel on the beach front, which was said to have been far enough from the constant noise of the Montanita party life.  However, when we arrived at the place, it was completely abandoned and derelict.  Guess when the latest edition of the Lonely Planet is a 2013 edition, it doesn't always come in handy. 

The abandoned hostel 

After being disappointed with option one, we then moved onto option two... Luckily this hostel proved to still be in operation and had friendly staff and clean rooms to welcome us.  It might not have been close to the beach but it was peaceful, cosy and had a cool social area with a massive television and open plan kitchen.  We were to share our room with two German friends, Florian and Simon.

Kiwi hostel - our home for the next couple of days

Florian chilling in one of the many hammocks 

Simon and Roxy - the readheads uniting.  Or as we are called in Germany - Pumuckel (after a redhead cartoon about leprechaun) 

We were pretty exhausted from travelling and the many trials of the day so we decided to to go for a quick walk on the beach to get our bearings of the place, find food to cook and have an early night so that we would be fresh and ready for our beach day in the morning.  The German boys went out that night and only returned in the wee hours of the morning - Montanita was definitely living up to its rep for being a party place. 


We woke up excited to get our beach day on and start to finally get a tan. We needed to recover some colour after the Siberia that was Bolivia.  Alas, the weather had other plans for the day... it was poring with rain.  The weather hadn't been horrible the day before, perhaps a little overcast, so we were optimistic that it would clear by the afternoon. We waited and waited for the weather to improve, but it never did.  Unfortunately, in a coastal town where all activities are dependant on good weather, when the weather doesn't come to the party, there isn't much to do.  So we spent the day relaxing and rewriting the blog post that was lost in the bus terminal. 

That evening, despite the weather, we decided to venture out and see what the night life had to offer.  We had randomly heard from Kristen, the Canadian med student who we had met in Uyuni, that she was also in Montanita with friends. We decided to meet up for cocktails and catch up on the past two weeks.  We took the German boys and Ant, fellow SAFA that we had met on the bus ride to Guayaquil, with us for cocktails.
Just as we were about to leave, the power went out... South America seems more and more like Africa everyday. Alas we scrambled out using the light from the moon as our guide. The weather still wasn't playing along and we were all huddled under the beach side bar's umbrella trying to take shelter from the storm.  The power eventually came back on but went out again as a result of the poor conditions. Nevertheless, it was great to see Kristen again and catch up.  The Germans found their other friends they had made the day before and we all went to a local club on the beach for some local salsa type circle dancing.  There was a very flamboyant local man who joined us and kept bringing girls into the circle to dance with.  He did however have a strange affection for making the girls grind on him, so we decided to move on.  After hitting a live music bar, we decided to call it a night and head home.  Hopefully it would rain itself out during the night and tomorrow would bring about our much anticipated beach day...

Once again the weather disappointed us as it was poring with rain again.  We were undeterred though and decided to go and have a swim, even though it was in the rain.  We couldn't come to the beach and never make it into the sea.  The water was thankfully quite warm and we had a lovely frolic in the waves.  We did get stung by red seaweed, according to our surfer expert Ant.  The waves were better than those in Asia, but as was agreed with Ant, they are nothing compared to the barrels we have in SA (even though that very day the world champion surfer, Mick Fanning, was attacked by a great white in our waters in the Jbay Open). 

As we returned back from our refreshing swim, the hostel receptionist told us to keep our bags away from the windows. We were a little confused and he informed us that there had been a break in the night before. An upstairs room's door was pried open and their whole backpacker were stolen! Wow! We were on the first floor and closest to the entrance so we pondered why we hadn't been targeted. We guessed that it may have been because our light was left on, this was accidental as when we left the power was off - the thieves must have thought someone was inside! That power failure seemed to be a blessing in disguise. 

We had pricey pizza for lunch with the boys (we were felling slightly sorry for ourselves and needed a greasy treat) and the rest of the day consisted of playing cards, watching movies (Kingsmen) and lazing around.  


Surprise surprise, it was miserable and raining again.  We were really getting over this now.  Regardless, we once again went for our morning swim and took Simon and Ant with us.  Ant had rented a surf board and had agreed to teach us some moves after his surf session.  We stayed in the water for about half an hour and then Ant came over to start instruction.  We only had one board though and Simon was really keen to learn and being from Germany never really gets the opportunity to surf so we let him go first.  He struggled a bit in the beginning - he is pretty tall and this is one sport were its probably better to have a lower centre of gravity. But in the end, he managed to stand up!! Yay! Suppose Germans must be accomplished at everything!  We had been waiting on shore and watching the show.  Rox had already learnt how to stand up before in SA, but Joy had never had the opportunity.  However, waiting in the cold and rain had seriously drowned out our eagerness for learning - the hot shower was calling our names.  So we decided to try at a later date.
The promise of that hot shower got us through the rainy walk back to the hostel. But alas, as we arrived, we were told that there was no hot water. One room's toilet was leaking the entire night and they had lost too much water so had turned off the geyser until it filled up a bit more. We could either have a cold shower with no pressure right away or wait an unknown amount of time for it to maybe be repaired. We were sandy and just wanted to be clean and dry so we went for the first option. 

Ant had gotten over the small waves and crappy weather so he decided to head to Peurto Lopez.  We said our farewells, but as we were headed that way ourselves we knew we would bump into him again. Coincidentally, as he left, the first rays of sunlight that we had seen in three days peeked through the clouds... wonder if he was the reason we had had such bad luck with the weather?   

First light in three days of this so called 'sea, SUN and surf town.'


We realised that we had lost enough time being unproductive and hoping for the weather to improve in Montanita, so we followed Ant's lead and decided to leave for Peurto Lopez up the coast.  Classically, as we decided to leave, the clouds cleared and the sun came out to play.  We were not convinced that the weather would hold so we didn't let this change sway our minds.  We did however, take the opportunity to go around the town and take pictures of the little coastal settlement that we had only up till this point seen through the veil of precipitation.

 View of the church from our hostel balcony 

 Rox in front of the Church

Joy sitting and enjoying the sun on a bench next to the park

A typical party street 

Rox walking down the street with all the tourist trinkets on sale.  Note that the umbrellas are still cautiously out in case the heavens open up again.

 The main beach

 Surfers catching the waves

 Joy and Rox posing at the classic tourist spot 

 Montanita is home to many hippies, especially old ones who have fallen off the beaten track of the real world and spend their lives here surfing, playing instruments, making jewellery and living the hippy way.  Here is a prime example of one of the Montanita residents.

Sea birds

Every day we passed this local gym on the way to the supermarket. It's time to get ripped boet! 

Before we left on our bus trip to Peurto Lopez we decided to enjoy some chill time on the hostel's balcony, lying in the hammocks and feeling the sea breeze flowing through our hair. 

View of the town from our balcony

Rox almost squinting as her eyes were not used to this unaccustomed bright light of the sun.

Finally, just as we were about to leave, the water sports and fun in the sun could commence again...

Parasailing in the bay 

After our hour frolic in the sunshine and in the hammocks, we went with the German boys to the bus stop to catch one of the regular buses to Peurto Lopez. Hopefully this coastal town would hold more for us than our disappointing stay in Montanita. 

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