Queer Adventures in Montañita, Ecuador

Chicxs Happy Brownies
Apr 2 · 7 min read
A view of the ocean from the rocky edge of the beach.

2019 March — Montañita is my favorite place in Ecuador so far. It’s quite a magical place. I loved the vibes. I felt rejuvenated. I was making friends. I learned what it means to swim in an ocean and how to use a gas stove. We only spent a week there, but I felt like I could live there for so much longer! Montañita is also where the story of our namesake blog “Chicxes Happy Brownies” originates from.

Getting to Know the Town

After we got off the bus from Guayaquil, we took a cab to our Airbnb. It was like a treehouse bungalow only a three minute walk to the beach! We could hear the sound of the ocean from inside the little house and there were hammocks outside too.

The view outside of our Airbnb

After we got to our Airbnb, we dropped off our things, changed into our beach clothes, and went exploring. It was so beautiful. The water was filled with surfers. The sand was filled with people lounging. There were tons of beach-side cafes, bars, and restaurants.

So many cool places a stone’s throw away from the ocean.

As we walked down the beach, we encountered a lot of ceviche carts the closer we got to the main town. When we finally did reach the main town, we were met with multiple stalls selling all sorts of delicious looking cocktails. Then we encountered artisan stalls, restaurants, and dance clubs.

Almost all those rainbow umbrella carts are ceviche carts.
Walking through the town passing by all the various artisan stalls and cocktail stalls.
A cool looking shop in town only a 2 minute walk from the beach.

The Chicxs Happy Brownies Story

Only two hours had passed after arriving in Montañita when we were approached by someone with a huge smile asking, “Chicas, happy brownies?” This was the moment we had been waiting for! We had heard about the “special” cakes and brownies available in Montañita from people all over other parts of Ecuador. We bought one for $5 and continued our walk along the beach excited to try it when we returned to our home. We replayed the question, which became a fun saying for us, “Chicas, happy brownies?” and later decided to make this our blog handle but with the added non-binary, “Chicxs, happy brownies?”

Cool art on a building in town by the beach.

Swimming in the Ocean for the First Time

Later, we went swimming together in the ocean for the first time since arriving and it was hilariously terrifying for me. Apparently knowing how to swim in a regular pool with basic swimming skills is not enough to conquer the tumultuous ocean. I’m pretty sure I almost drowned. At first, I was so confident as we kept going further into the ocean, but eventually, after getting owned by wave after wave, I felt myself being sucked into the abyss. Luckily, I was not alone. Viviana was able to drag me back to shore. I’m not sure how much ocean water I swallowed, but the ocean is now forever part of me. The entire experience actually made love the ocean more. I always loved the ocean, but now it’s different. I felt its power. I felt how easily it could overcome my tiny body. I have so much respect for the ocean now. If it decided to reclaim the world, I would be okay with that.

Beautiful and powerful ocean.

Olón

We had also invited some cousins from Guayaquil to join us in Montañita and they came for a couple of days. If you haven’t already read about our time in Guayaquil, you definitely should! It was great that our Airbnb bungalow cabin had two bedrooms so that we could accommodate them. Aside from the usual beach lounging activities, we did some sight-seeing in the next town over. Olón is the super chill-family-friendly version of Montañita. The waves are less intense, so you don’t get the surfer crowd there. There are so many great places to eat right on the beach with your toes in the sand. It is walking distance from Montañita, but you can also take a quick ride in a taxi to get there. The view from the observation deck is totally worth it.

The view of Olón from the observation deck.

Thank You Teacher #NoticeMeSenpai

I took a Spanish class at a place next door to our bungalow called Casa del Sol. It was a private lesson with the most chill person ever! He is a local, born and raised in Montañita. We started the session by chatting it up in the backyard surrounded by fruit trees. As the fruit would fall from the trees, he would pick it up, tell me what its name in Spanish, and start eating it. Then he’d pull one down from the tree for me to eat. It was the best Spanish class I ever had. If I had infinite funds, I’d take classes with him every day. I actually learned a lot in the one hour session too! As we talked about things, we would dive into the details of the topic until I ran out of vocabulary for it. Then he’d start writing down the words I didn’t know and explaining them. The last part of the session was spent defining and conjugating specific verbs. It was extremely helpful for me since the last time I had really intense Spanish learning was the bare minimum langauge requirements in high school and college.

Surfers at sunset.

Losing My Phone

One night, we decided to watch the sunset while drinking mojitos on the beach. I wish I could remember the name, but there was a cute little bar with comfortable lounge chairs in the sand for us to admire the sun while relaxing. The bartender even brought us our happy-hour priced drinks. It was heavenly. The view was perfect. Ecuadorian sunsets are beautiful. Also, shoutout to Oaxaca (the restaurant next to the one we were drinking at) for letting me borrow their lighter a million and one times during the week we were there!

When we left to walk down the beach, I realized that I didn’t have my phone. W walked back to the bar and saw that my glasses were in the sand next to the chairs we were sitting in! I didn’t even realize my glasses were missing until then. The bartender helped us search for my phone in the sand, which was really nice of them, but we still couldn’t find it. Eventually I decided to just let it go and see what the night had in store. We said our goodbyes and walked down the beach with our feet in the water. As we did this, we noticed a light flashing from the water as it receded. It was my phone! And it still worked! Montañita is absolutely amazing.

The last time my I had my glasses before I abandoned them in the sand.

Lost Beach Club

Montañita is a surfer town and the club scene is unreal! On one of our last nights we went into town to check out the scene. There were a lot of people gathered on the beach right outside of the Lost Beach Club.

People were dancing, socializing, and spinning poi. I had brought my poi along to flow alongside them. It was incredible how many talented people were there doing cool tricks! I learned how to do a new trick and I got to let other people show off their skills with my poi.

It was after midnight when the Lost Beach Club finally got crazy. It was incredible. I could feel the bass reverberating through my body. It was packed. Everyone was dancing. All the while, we still had an amazing view of the ocean right outside. It was like a dream.

Last day in Montañita, exploring the rocky area in between the ocean, beach, and cliff.

Ojo Corazon Montañita

The last day of our stay, we walked down beach towards a rocky area and just took it all in. So far, Montañita is my favorite spot in Ecuador, but there are still other stops to make, so we’ll see how they fare when compared to this beautiful, fun-loving, chill, party marathon, special surfer town. Montañita, you stole my heart.

The view of the ocean from the base of the rocky cliff.
Chicxs Happy Brownies

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Traveling while queer. https://www.patreon.com/chicxshappybrownies