Life as a student from Montañita Spanish School

What is going on in the mind of a traveller that is already away from home for 4 years?  Claire, a girl from Australia and a student who has been here for 8 weeks tells her story.

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I spend my time exploring, writing, reading, cooking, eating, seeking newness, and questioning everything. I like to learn, do yoga, and dance all night. I’m bad at sleeping and saving money, unless it’s for travel. Until this year, I spoke only english. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing and a dive licence. I miss my food processor and Vegemite toast.

For the last four years, London played home as a base from which I could explore Europe in quick nibbles and learn to grit my teeth against the wild joys of living in a big messy city. I loved and resented every wet, wonderful day.

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A few months ago, that burning desire for change (sunshine) crept in, so I quit my job, sold everything, and booked myself a place at MSS. Now I rarely wear shoes and I speak Spanish every day, and Montanita is everything I could have hoped.

Exploring the world is my first love, and consumes my time and disposable income. Ecuador has presented a wholesome balance of beautiful rainforest, curling beach breaks, sunshine, yoga, Spanish, and sweaty, seedy all-night parties. I’ve loved living here and being a part of the Cabanas family. It really has been home. Now I’m on my way out explore more of this country, delve into the rest of South America, and exercise my new language muscles every day.

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Since only a few weeks ago, you can follow my adventures online, and soon will be able to read about thoughtful travel, sustainable food things, and living consciously on my spanking new baby of a blog at ohthenormality.com . Follow the antics on Instagram @normalityblues .

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La Vaca Loca Montañita

Throughout the year, each town in Ecuador celebrates Las Fiestas Patronales. A week of fiestas dedicated to that town’s Patron Saint. Last week was Montañita’s turn to celebrate its saint, San Isidro Labrador, and wow, it was fun! The week, filled with eating, drinking, dancing, and having un, started with the choosing of Miss Montañita. Doesn’t she look gorgeous?

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The festival really picked up over the weekend. With different bands playing in town, those in attendance were having a great time dancing and enjoying the music. There were also many food vendors, which made it really feel like a huge festival!

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After we thought it couldn’t get any crazier or more fun after the weekend, we were introduced to Vaca Loca on Monday night. All of the people in Montañita gathered in the town square in front of the church around 10pm, buzzing with anticipation as the band set the mood from the church’s entrance. First someone holding a pole with fireworks on the end began running around, trying to poke people in the audience. Not dangerous at all right? Well it got even crazier. The crazy cow (hence the name Vaca Loca) is a constructed cow with various fireworks attached to it. The cow is worn by a local person and run through the crowd, just like a raging bull, only this one has fireworks shooting out of its horns! The cow has no discretion, chasing everyone in the crowd. The children love to get as close as they can before sprinting away with joyful screams. Although it seems innocent and fun, there is real danger involved. One firework landed on a roof made of dried palm fronds. Luckily, one of our interns is tall and managed to get the fire off the roof. We don’t really want to think what would have happened if he was not there..

Believe it or not, anyone can be the cow. You only need to ask the event director beforehand. Thus, if you are extra crazy, add being the Vaca Loca to your bucket list!

After all this craziness, there was a huge firework show, which was done in Montañita style. The only recommendation I can give is: don’t stand to close! However, it was a beautiful ending to an impressive night!

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In the days leading up, the whole of Montañita could already hear the local school practicing for the parade. Finally on Tuesday, different groups and schools from around the area came to town to play music and enjoy the final parade in Montañita.

It sure was one interesting and fun week, which is worth attending. Montañita’s Fiestas Patronales is definitely something you should go to when in the neighbourhood!

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Beards and hair of Montañita

Something is going on in Montañita. When guys stay longer, a change happens. Most people arrive here with a good haircut, completely shaved (it is too hot for a beard anyway… right?) and ready to surf! YIHAAA!

But once they get here, they realize that the girls find a surf dude with a full head of hair super attractive. Maybe that is what our (previous) interns thought as well during their stay in Montañita.

Yep, they are definitely a couple of the new surf guys in Montañita. Participating in Movember will not be a too big of an issue for them.

However, at one point, some of them come to the conclusion that it is not possible to live like this anymore. Especially when working at the school, it is important to look presentable. At this point they realize that it is time for typical Ecuadorian hairstyle number 2. For just 5 dollars you can get this awesome hairstyle:

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Yep, our current intern looks hot again! And the beard? That will probably stay until he is back home again.

Which hairstyle do you like better?

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Introducing our new Surf Intern: Matt!

YES! We have a new surf intern. An awesome and great looking surf dude, all the way from Australia! In this blog he will introduce himself.

Cheers, I am Matt and I am born and raised in NAROOMA, NSW, Australia. I grew up in a little surf town, and basically I was raised with surfing. I am a plumber by trade and spend most of my time working and surfing around the world!

Currently I am residing here in Montañita, and taking the roll in the school as the surf intern/coach at Montañita Spanish School.

My Spanish is not so great which is another reason I am here, now I can surf every day and learn Spanish at the school!  Doing this will help me with achieving my dreams of surfing through Central and South America.

I have been working at the school for one week now, and I am very impressed with the rapid progression and the enthusiast that our students have been showing rapidly on a day to day basis.

During surfing lessons I always tell the students to relax. Everyone can and is able to surf!

Hope to see y’all soon!

Best rooftop party in Montañita: Montañita Skyline

“WHAT A FANTIASTIC EVENT” A few times a year, Montañita Spanish School organizes the coolest rooftop party from Montañita, it is one of our lively events: Montañita Skyline

One of the reasons why you probably choose to go to Montañita is because of the great weather. However, have you really been enjoying it? Are you just studying Spanish or are you surfing all day? Take a moment for yourself and enjoy it with all of your friends! You deserve it to treat yourself to a luxury evening. That is why the Montañita skyline party is so amazing!

Among the stars, the students of Montañita Spanish school are able to enjoy different types of cocktails and snacks made by our lovely interns.  But most importantly for the people who love rooftops, are the view and the atmosphere. The view from the rooftop is just incredible breathtaking. You can see the whole of Montañita, and stare at the sea. Do you already see some dolphins passing by?

When you are lucky, and on time, you will be able to enjoy the impressive sunset while sipping on a cocktail, which makes the whole event even more magical!

Imagine that we not even added this event to the 7 reasons why to study at Montañita Spanish school. When studying Spanish in Montañita there will be so many more surprises you could never hope for!

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7 Reasons to learn Spanish at Montañita Spanish School

  1. Location

Everyone who has travelled in Ecuador will tell you to go to Montañita. Montañita is a save place, and you are at the beach within a few steps! Furthermore, there are so many beautiful places to discover in and around Montañita. For example, the most beautiful beach in Ecuador: Los Frailes!  Not to forget, the school offers incredible views of the sea. If you are lucky you will even spot humpback whales during class!

  1. Culture

The people in Montañita are enormous friendly and always willing to help! An advantage is that the people here do not speak English. Therefore, if you want to talk with the inhabitants of Montañita, your Spanish will improve incredibly quick!

  1. Surf

Montañita is famous for surfing. Because Montañita Spanish School offers surfing classes for everyone, you will be a pro before you know it! During this classes, you will be guided by an experienced surf instructor. Maybe you will even spot dolphins during class!

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  1. Yoga and salsa

Do you feel after surfing like doing some yoga? Then I definitely recommend joining yoga at the rooftop of our school. It is a perfect opportunity to have a moment for yourself. During the class, you will be able to enjoy the stunning sunsets Montañita has to offer.

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  1. Animals

Do you love dogs or cats? Yes? You are in the perfect place! There are a lot of cute street dogs and cats around Montañita. Probably they are even more cute and sweet than an average dog or cat in your own home country.. I mean… look at the eyes of this kitten!

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  1. Activities

This might be one of the biggest favorites of students. The interns of Montañita Spanish School are organizing a lot of activities! Rooftop parties with an incredible sunset, volleyball at the beach, chocolate nights, swimming pool activities and so on! You will never feel bored and meet a lot of people!

  1. One big family

Yes, you are meeting a lot of people. That is why when you are studying at Montañita Spanish school, you are part of one big family!

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Warning: keep in mind that you will probably stay longer in Montañita. This is officially proven by a lot of our students.

A guide to Playa Los Frailes, the most beautiful beach in Ecuador

Ecuador, a country where you can climb a glacier mountain one day, hike through incredible forests the other day and end up at the beach. Ecuador is a country with  a marvelous diversity and definitely worth travelling.

Los Frailes is the nicest beach on the western coast of South America and located in Machalilla National Park. Take your time, go for a hike instead of a tuk-tuk and enjoy the cliffs high above the ocean, the turquiose water and the white beaches. It is simply breathtaking. In order to avoid the heat, it is reccomended to leave in the early morning.  With the bus from Montan᷉ita it will take around 1 hours and it is incredibely cheap!

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During the walk you will pass different beaches. And one thing is for sure: they are all worth the hike! Playa Prieta is a cove home to hunderds of crabs.  At the shore you will see loads of little balls of sand as the crabs feed. The view of the beach is just stunning, and wants you to go in the water and have a swim to cool down. However, don’t swim at this beach as there is a strong undercurrent which will take you out to the sea!  The name of Playa de Tortuguita will make you assume that you might see turtles. But these turtles won’t let themselves see if they are there.  However, the white sandy beach makes sure you won’t miss them!

The route will end at Los Frailes, and you will realize why this is one of the most beatiful beaches. Now it is time to swim, relax and enjoy your day!

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Things you should know about Los Frailes:

  • Free entrance!!
  • Take a lot of sunscreen, there is no shade
  • You can hire parasols for 4 dollars a day
  • Bring a lot of water
  • The park shuts at 4pm. Find a tuk-tuk to leave in time: 1 dollar per person
  • Visit on a weekday when possible. The beach might be crowded in weekends.