S: 1° 50’00″80 W: 80°45’00”
Last minute idea: Let’s go to Ecuador to learn how to surf! I have to do something with my four week vacation, so let me just leave for 4 weeks. No sooner said than done … Three weeks before departure I booked everything through SurfaWhile and then left for Ecuador. The trip went great! After a journey of almost 24 hours I arrived in Montañita around 11 pm local time, immediately checked in at Montañita Cabañas and high time to go get some sleep!
The story of Kristel in Montañita
After a good night’s sleep, it was time to take everything in and discover the accommodation. Montañita Cabañas is a great place to stay! I had a private room + bathroom, simple but clean. Back to basic and you don’t need anything more. Lovely to get away from all Dutch luxury! All rooms are built around the swimming pool and common area consisting of a kitchen and a “chill area”. When I woke up after my first night, I went to the common room to meet my fellow residents. Everyone was super friendly and I was immediately explained how life in the Cabañas works and what there is to experience in Montañita.
I think that the best thing about traveling is always getting to know new people! This is also the case in Montañita. People from all over the world stayed in the Cabañas but you mainly speak English and eventually some Spanish with each other. Everyone is traveling and often alone or in pairs, making new friends is fairly easy as long as you open yourself up for this! I have met a lot of great people here! With whom i still stay in touch with via social media.
The whole purpose of my trip to Ecuador was to learn how to surf, Spanish was just something on the side for me. During my first day of classes on Monday (which, by the way, started at 7:30 am ?!) I found out that I would have four hours of Spanish every day and two hours of surfing, change of plans, fine!
To come back on that first day of class, it was very early! And I thought I was on holiday … Normally you start at 8 am but on the first day of class you take a test in advance so that the school knows what your level is and you are then assigned to a class. My knowledge of the Spanish language was basically none so I entered the absolute beginners class.
The classes consist of a maximum of six students. The first two weeks I was in class with 3 other ladies, very cosy! The four of us had a great time! In my first lesson week I had Spanish from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., then a break, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Spanish again and then from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m the surf lesson. This is what I always looked forward to the most! Surfing worked better for me than Spanish. In the second week I had the surfing class at 8 a.m. and Spanish in the afternoon.
The first week of Spanish consisted mainly of working on your vocabulary, this was great to do because this was accompanied by many games which made learning a lot more fun! The second week the ‘misery’ started: conjugating the verbs … Which I hated in high school French and now, 15 years later also in Spanish but hey, it is so handy that if you want Spanish speak, you can also conjugate the verbs. Also in my third and last week we continued with these verbs. Although the verbs were not my favorite part, the teachers made up for a lot! It is a young team of teachers and although work is needed, they are also open to relaxation. We laughed a lot together!
Then on to the best part, surfing! Spend two hours in the water every day, love it! I love the ocean and, as I said before, also being physically active. An ideal combination for me! Every day I had lessons from Jorge. Jorge is a fantastic person! He has a lot of humor, but more importantly, also a lot of patience. Because yes, surfing is not easy, It is literally a matter of trial and error. Jorge’s patience and tips made surfing a little better every day. The feeling that you experience when you first stand on your surfboard and conquer the wave to the beach is one word AWESOME! Wow! Focus, balance and just go with the flow, fantastic!
In addition to Spanish and surfing lessons, the school also organizes a weekly welcome dinner on Mondays, a themed evening on Wednesdays every two weeks and a surfing trip on Friday. So you will never be bored! That boredom does not happen very quickly in Montañita anyway, there is always something going on despite the fact that Montañita is really just a village. The center consists of supermarkets, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. From the Cabañas you are in the center or on the beach within 5 minutes, ideal! Whether you need groceries, want to go out for a drink, have a good walk or want to relax on the beach, everything is within walking distance!
After this vacation I went back to Montañita for my last three days of Spanish and surfing lessons. These last days in Montañita I mainly spent with the people who were there for my mini vacation to the Galapagos Islands, cooking together, drinking and eating out because you never know when you’ll see each other again. Enjoy everything and everyone to the full and with a lot of thinking “this is the last time I do this because soon I will be completely swallowed up by life in the Netherlands.”
After having thoroughly enjoyed myself here, I spent my last two days in Guayaquil. This city is often only used as a transfer, a shame! Guayaquil is fun! You will find quite a bit of history and unique places there. Las Peñas, the 444 steps to the highest point of the city, is highly recommended. Once at the top, the view is breathtaking. A nice place to review four weeks of memories and to realize that my last minute idea was one of the best ever …