The beach break is rideable most of the year (best from December to May), but beginners should keep in mind that waves can be big, and riptides are common. Real surfers ride the wave at the northern end of the beach, a right hander that can reach 2m to 3m on good swells.

Rentals, Lessons & Tours

Most hostels and hotels arrange surfboard rentals. Balsa Surf Camp is a recommended outfit that offers surf lessons, as is Montañita Surf & Dive. Diving, bike tours, nature hikes and Spanish courses are also on offer here.


Noise is an issue in this party town, and earplugs are recommended for the central hotels and hostels, especially on weekends and during the high season. If you’re interested in peace and quiet, check out the places on the main road into town and on the beach. Most hotels have mosquito nets, and rely on sea breezes for ventilation; some places only have cold water, so check before you book.


Almost every street-side space has been converted into an informal restaurant, including street carts selling fruit salads, empanadas, sandwiches, encebollado (soup with fish, yuca and onion), ceviches, burgers and bubbling cazuelas (seafood stews). Those catering to Ecuadorians are more likely to offer economical almuerzos (set lunches; from $2 to $4) and meriendas (inexpensive set dinner menus). International meal options are also readily available.

Drinking & Nightlife

The side street that ends at the beach is lined with carts doling out tropical cocktails, beers and shakes until late most nights. One block over, Lost Beach Club throws big dance parties, with DJs from Ecuador and abroad. Craft-brewery Montañita is the place for a pint; head north of the beach to find it.