HOSTEL REVIEW – The Cabanas – Montanita, Ecuador
Montanita is the surfing and party centre of the Ecuadorian coastline. It’s an amazing place to enjoy word class waves during the day and uber strong cocktails at night…a mecca for backpackers, surfers and general beach lovers alike.
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend nearly 3 months living here and it’s been epic to say the least.
And my base for this entire time? Montanita Cabanas, also the accommodation partner for Montanita Spanish School.
Now I’ve stayed in Montanita before and lets just say that a few years ago hostels were pretty non existent and the home stay accommodation was pretty basic. So when I checked into the Cabanas I was impressed from the word go.
The lucious palm trees bordered the entire property and all the rooms surrounded the pool and jacuzzi and the grass roofed cabanas gave the whole place the perfect tropical feel.
The rooms themselves carry on this vibe, with bamboo lining and lovely cold tiled floors (which always instantly put me in the holiday mood!) and are spacious and equipped with power outlets, en suites and most importantly mozzie nets! The beds are comfy and I slept well throughout my stay, the only slight downside is the fact the rooms are fan cooled – but to be honest air con is the realm of hotels here and nigh on impossible to find.
A good nights sleep here is also largely down to the way the place is run. The Cabanas are closed off to non residents and the night guard Antonio makes sure the place is a haven amongst the party carnage of the town. This guy is a legend and to a large degree made my stay here. With him at the helm you can’t help but feel like all your stuff is safe (Id like to point out now that Montanita is in no way dangerous, but it’s always nice to have that added extra security!) and he’s really good banter too.
Due to the fact the Cabanas are linked with the Spanish School the vibe here is two fold. On one hand there is the relaxing period of the evening where people continue their studies and get homework done. But after that’s sorted the beers are cracked out and everyone lets their hair down. Pool parties, drinking games and a whole heap of fun are the realm of the twilight!
Because everyone is studying together the place has a really social atmosphere, and a lot of people are long term too – really long term by backpacker standards – say 4-8 weeks plus! This means everyone is knowledgable about the town and super friendly, so you’ll be greeted with open arms and shown all the hidden secrets on where to eat and where to drink!
Location wise you can’t complain either – a 2 minute stroll into town and beach means you’re close enough to everything but removed enough to escape at the end of the night. Heaps of restaurants, stores and the school itself are within a quick walk in the South American sun.
In regards to facilities it’s probably more kitted out than any other hostel in town – with a pool, jacuzzi, flat screen tv (with a large collection of DVD’s), cooking facilities and free wifi throughout (although as with all internet in Ecuador it can be a bit temperamental when it rains!) you’re going to be pretty comfortable here! The rooms are cleaned each day too and the whole place is pretty tidy.
But with this level of comfort and facilities comes a slightly higher price tag than the rest of the town. But from $12pppn for a 6 share dorm (bunk beds) or $17pppn for a private Cabana (double/king size bed) you can’t really say it’s going to eat into your budget heaps, it’s well worth it.
Value – 4/5
Atmosphere – 4/5
Cleanliness – 4/5
Facilities – 4/5
**I received a complimentary stay at the Cabanas as part of my surf coaching job in Montanita, but rest assured all opinions are honest and my own**