Holiday Highlights in Montanita

Trip Start Feb 25, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Casa del Sol

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

It is so amazing that 4 months have passed since I've last posted updates.  Truth be told, the travel blog doesn't make too much sense when we are actually living and working in a town.  But, there have certainly been a few holiday moments to highlight over the past few months.

Montanita is a pretty cool little town filled mostly with South American tourists and a splattering of gringo backpackers who just can't seem to leave once they get here.  Casa del Sol gets a nice mix of it all.  High season hits the hardest from the end of December through the end of April, covering a few key holidays and events.

After Christmas and New Year's pass by, the first week in February we get hit hard with the Reef Classic. This International Surf Competition sets up directly in front of the hotel, since we are lucky enough to be positioned directly in front of the best point break.  The hotel is full anyhow, but now we are treated to literally a mob of people taking over our bar and beach.  The local brew, Conquer, sponsors the entire town, and they fill up every nook and cranny with tacky, bright red banners, flags, blow up beer bottles, Conquer girls, Reef Classic t-shirts, and more.  You name it, they've put their name on it.  The point just goes nuts for a week.  The main day of the competition, Conquer set up a couple tubs in front of our bar for us.  Per our deal with them, we were to sell their large beers for $1 - but we had to pour each one into a large plastic Conquer cup.  With the help of a few extra hotties we recruited for the day, we sold over 900 beers in 4 hours - pouring each one into a cup.  We actually refused to sell beers without cups, so when we ran out, the people would just find them for us and bring them to our beer tubs.  In true nasty festival style, they would rinse out the cups in our dirty beer tub water and have us pour beers into them.  Hey - what would YOU do for a large beer for only a buck? 

The first week in March is Carnaval.  This sounds more exciting than it is, but it basically meant a pretty full hotel and a crazy full town.  The streets in town were just as uncomfortably packed as they were during the Reef Competition.  The beaches were just a mirage of multi-colored umbrellas and lots of South Americans rolling around in the sand.  (Yes, literally, they all really enjoy just covering themselves from head to toe in sand.  They don't bother to rinse it off.  They'll go to lunch that way, without even a mere effort made to brush a little aside. That being said, the men also like to go into restaurants with just a t-shirt and their skimpy little speedos on.  I mean, seriously!  They'll make the effort to put on a t-shirt, but not bother to put any pants on.  It's slightly unappetizing.)

The Tsunami Warning created quite a stir around the coast as well. When it hit zillions of miles away, chaos hit the town immediately.  People starting packing up their stuff and heading for the hills at 4'oclock in the morning...even though the warning said we weren't to expect anything until around 7pm that night.  We probably would have chosen to hang out in the hotel to be close to the action, but we had to take responsibility for some hotel guests.  So, off to the hills we went.  We made several trips with our pick up truck, hauling coolers full of beer, hotel guests, and even a mattress. (Hey - who knew how long we'd be up there!!) We were treated to a beautiful sunset, and finally we were permitted to return to town around 11pm.  The town was safe, although admittedly I was hoping for a little more excitement. 

The 2nd week in April is Semana Santa.  Montanita isn't big on doing anything too out of the ordinary for this holiday either.  But, as usual, the beach town does attract quite a few families to town for the week.  This is the last big holiday of the summer, and pretty much marks the end of the high season for the town.  There's not too much of a religious focus - surprisingly the big day is Friday, not Easter Sunday for them.  A little dark, don't you think?  But, nonetheless, they do all manage to get pretty drunk and party like it's 1999. 

As it turns out, you don't really need too much of an excuse to party hard here in Montanita.  This past Sunday was Mother's Day.  At exactly 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, we were abruptly awoken from our sleep with loudspeakers, a microphone and live (drunk?) singing coming from right outside of our window.  Turns out that the men of the family that lives right behind us had hired this group of singers to set up and sing music for an hour - to honor their mothers.  Now, isn't that something I can imagine their mother's must have just adored.  Perhaps I'll look into doing something like this for my mom next year - I'm sure she'd be impressed.
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Aunt Bonnie on

As always, your blog is entertaining and very insightful. Love reading them. You and Jason could turn your traveling and creative blogs into a business and write for travel magazines.
Have fun in the Amazon! Watch out for the snakes.

jasonmichaellaw on

And of course the biggest holiday of them all took place the following week - Montanita Festival!! Pics and post soon to come on this little gem of a safety hazard!

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