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“Excellent!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Balsa Surf Camp

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Balsa Surf Camp
3.0 of 5 Small Hotel   |   at the Point (En la Punta), Montanita, Ecuador   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 37 Montanita B&B and Inns
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Top Contributor
310 reviews 310 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
“Excellent!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2012

The best place to stay in Montañitas. It' s located to few meters from the surf spot en La Punta. The rooms are nice and clean, the breakfasts delicious, the staff helpful and also you can eat there and also the food is excellent. I super recommend it!!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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119 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    89
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Prague, Czech Republic
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2012

First of all one thing that I was not satisfied with - I tried to book a room about 3 months in advance, sent 3 e-mails but never received an answer. So maybe some IT bug? But we did not give up and after our arrival to Montanita we tried to find out if Balsa has some available room and voila - one last room was available for 5 nights.
And now only positives - the owners, Julie and Rasty - are really nice and helpful, smiling all the time and caring about our comfort. The complex looks and feels like a piece of eden - beautiful garden with spacious bamboo buildings and very well ventilated rooms. Our room was the top (well it also cost 90USD per night so it had to be). 2 balconies, one with an ocean view and one with a hammock, open roof for a good ventilation, king size bed, a lot of space. Hot water and wi-fi all day. Great place to relax after a surf session.
Food (both breakfast and dinners) in a hotel reastaurant was delicious and food portions were huge (breakfast was often enough for a lunch as well).
Surf point was less than one minute walking, u do not have to take anything else than your surfboard and go to the beach. Also u can rent one of Rasta's boards, which are soooo beautiful and a great quality. We also took one surf lesson provided by Balsa and the intructor (Eusebio) was awesome. The lesson gave us so much.
Walking to village along the beach takes about 10 minutes, so you are close enough but still far from all the noise.
The only problem we had was that 2 nights out of 5 there was a party in a beach bar nearby and the music, that u can hear easily through bamboo walls was on loud untill early morning. Otherwise we slept like babies in our comfortable bed (mosquito nets provided).
I woud definitely recommend Balsa to everyone who want to stay in Montanita to enjoy great surf but not to party every night until dusk. The best place to relax.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Anchorage, Alaska
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2012

Stayed for the month of Feb. and have to second 'EverywhereLocal's review below. Balsa is a great place with great food just far enough away from the craziness that is Montanita but more than close enough for a beach stroll to town.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2012

Balsa Surf camp is a short walk from the busy little surfer party town montanita. It is located at the north end or town near "The Point" a favourite surf spot. The rooms are built of bamboo and encircle the amazing gardens in the centre of the property. Hammocks hang everywhere and seduce you into hours of relaxation in the tranquil surroundings reading a book or just dozing.

The place is run by the extremely charming french owner Julie and her husband Rasty, who from what I could tell is a local surf legend. He makes beautiful surfboards from wood in his on-site workshop and they'll organise lessons for you there.

The breakfasts at Balsa are top, and you have the choice of several different ones: French, American, etc. Delicious bread, crepes, fresh fruit. The restaurant also makes delicious food at other times of day, usually with locally sourced fresh fish.

Balsa is only a short walk from the main area of Montanita where 3$ cocktails are served in the streets and young beautiful beach lovers crowd into cheap accommodations. Staying at here gives you the best of both worlds: you can be part of the party as long as you want, but retreat to the tranquil gardens of Balsa when you've had enough.

It is not directly on the beach, but is literally 30 seconds away. The only drawback I can think of is that mosquitos sometimes get into the room through the cracks above the large sliding doors that open up onto your private terrace with hammock. But Balsa provides mosquito nets that hang above the bed and keep them from biting.

The only other issue is that it is so busy that you have to book way in advance. Julie requires an upfront payment but doesn't take credit cards so it's either Western Union (I don't recommend) or an expensive bank transfer. Hopefully Julie adopts Paypal to make things easier for international guests. But in retrospect: it was well worth the trouble. We wished we could have stayed longer!

Room Tip: The bamboo walls aren't thick so rooms near the road can be a bit noisy
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
96 helpful votes 96 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2011

You DO NOT have to be a surfer to love staying here! It is walkable to town, but nice and quiet, DON'T STAY IN TOWN IF YOU WANT TO SLEEP.

Our family of 3 (teenage son) stayed here 3 days in July, 2011 (just realized I never wrote a review, sorry BSC!). This surf camp has been the dream of the owner for many years, and thus the owners have created a gorgeous oasis on a small plot of land 1 house back from the beach. It's a small tropical paradise; the planting and layout make the property seem much bigger than it actually is.

The room was comfortable, simple with pretty wood and design, great custom-built touches in rock and glass; very high-quality craftsmanship. The property is welcoming - the wonderful hand-designed and created porch for food or drinks, the pit, the hammock chairs on the front porch, the movie room upstairs, the benches around the tropical property. I agree with others having seen the other properties in the town where we considered renting, this one is much newer/nicer, better quality - DEFINITELY worth the small percentage we paid extra above the others. (The others seemed more maybe fun hippie crash pad at best). The hypnotic smell of the burning Palo Santo wood has stayed with us... I have some here on my desk at AZ (on the coast they say it helps keep the mosquitoes at bay; do still wear bug repellent).

Breakfast was included and was VERY good. We also had a dinner there, and a couple of drinks. Amongst other items, they sell BIG local beers a fair, cheap price on the relaxing pretty patio area.

The room was large - ours had a double bed and on the other side of the room a bunk bed as well.The custom rock shower was awesome, and lots of nice hot water. Locked box in the room for valuables was a good touch, although hardly a real safe; best to not bring your serious valuables to the coast at all. The box was adequate for our extra cash, etc. We felt very safe on the property.

Someone was always available for questions or to arrange a driver. The delightful wife is French & speaks very good English, As others mentioned, we felt very relaxed and comfortable here... could have stayed a few more days no problem.

We walked along the beach in both directions - one leads north out to the point, very interesting to climb around it and see the northern side. (BEWARE POINT ROCKS ARE SLIPPERY, I fell, saved the camera but hurt my body. I should have been more careful). At low tide, there are some fascinating tidepools to explore! We have explored on the Pacific ocean many times, but we saw creatures in the low-tide areas that were new to us. The southern walk on the sand leads to the center of Montanita, where all the action is. We went early evening and had a nice seafood meal outside on a patio & bought some inexpensive hand-made beach jewelry; we left before things got really club-rowdy as reported.

"Town" is very small, just a few streets running off the beach, but very eclectic and dense, and I was surprised at how developed it is... there are many buildings that are very high-quality (big money went into some), and the little streets are dense with vendors both local and entrepreneurial hippie transplants, artists, hippies young and old, indigenous, tourists, and dogs. Some good restaurants to be found. If you bring kids, be aware that it will be screamingly obvious this is a surfer/stoner/partier area. Tame during the day...

TIP: If you will walk the beach back to Balsa at night, bring a flashlight, there's very few lights along the sand.

Room Tip: All the rooms are quiet. There are two floors, not sure if downstairs hears upstairs, it was low occ...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ojai, California
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2011

We had such a great time here. The owners are great people and really put their hearts in to this place. All of the staff were great, the food was great, rooms were very clean, and the surfboards...KILLER. I love Rosty's balsa boards!!! And it is so convenient having a large variety of great boards to rent so you don't have to travel with your own. Thank you all so much and I look forward to returning soon:)

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
edinburgh
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2011

We love this place!!

I can't really think of anything negative to say about Balsa Surf Camp. the guys that run this place are great and the accommodation is perfect. Its a stones throw from the beach and just far enough from the noise of the main streets.

We loved hanging out on the hammocks

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balsa Surf Camp

Address: at the Point (En la Punta), Montanita, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Santa Elena Province > Montanita
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 37 B&Bs / Inns in Montanita
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Balsa Surf Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover our BALSA SURF CAMP in Montanita, Ecuador, made by and for surfers! The perfect place to discover a country and its waves, its culture and the wonderful art of balsa wood boards shaped by César Moreira, owner of the camp. It is a reconciliation, a union with nature. Imagine! Surfing a tree! Discover our beautiful style of Ecological bungalows only 30 meters from the surf! There are handcraft built by local carpenters using bamboo and wood. In a friendly environment you will enjoy the Montanita surf! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balsa Surf Camp Hotel Montanita

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