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“Kick back and enjoy the good life at Viejamar!”
Review of Viejamar Hostel

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Viejamar Hostel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 30, 2014

We spent 4 days with Rodrigo, Poncho and the team at Viejamar last week and it was great! From the moment we arrived, and Poncho gave both me and my daughter a kiss on the cheek, we knew we had arrived a special place – full of new friends and adventure.

The location of Viejamar could not be improved upon. It is on one of the loveliest beaches I have ever seen and during our visit I doubt there was ever more than 20 people on the entire 2-3 mile beach! The water was very comfortable during our April visit, however the current was pretty strong. You need to be a strong swimmer if you want to spend time in the water above your knees. The waves were mesmerizing, rolling in big and beautiful around the clock. One moonlit night we were awed to watch some sort of luminescent feature in the water glow as the waves broke. It was more beautiful than words can describe. I didn't even take a picture because I want to remember it with my mind. A photo would never do it justice.

We really enjoyed meeting the fellow travelers while we were there. It was such a world wide mix, and fortunately for us, the common language was English. We were thrilled to meet travelers from Ireland, Switzerland, Canada - and a few other places I'm not quite sure of! Each person we talked with shared our sense of adventure and love of travel. It was so fun to visit with each of them.

Every member of the staff was kind and helpful. Poncho kindly put up with all my pre-trip emails with questions and arranged all our transportation for us. The lovely lady who cooked breakfast and cleaned was so kind. Every day she carefully pronounced the Spanish word for Eggs in hopes that I would learn it. I tried...! One quick comment about breakfast - the coffee is served a bit different than I have ever seen done. You are given about 1/3 of a mug of a very, very strong coffee, to which you are to add hot water to make it the intensity you want. Also there is sugar for the coffee, but no milk - bring your own milk. You can store it in the refrigerator.

The cabins, while small and simple, meet your needs. We did battle with the hot water from time to time, but hey – it’s an adventure – right?! But don’t come to Viejamar for the cabins, come for the beach and come to make new friends. Come for the surf lessons! Rodrigo was even able to get this 49 year old woman surfing for the first time in her life!! He may have initiated a lifelong passion for surfing in my 17 year old daughter! Come for the peaceful, laid back vibe which overflows the hostel common areas and leaves you feeling content. When something else on your trip doesn't go as planned, this easy going feeling helps you just roll with whatever comes along.

As this was our first time to Ecuador (or even South America) we opted to have Poncho arrange for us a taxi from Manta. In hindsight, I would not hesitate to rent a car and drive to Viejamar. The roads are good. With a car you would have more freedom to visit the other cities and sites in the area such as Puerto Lopes, Montanita and the nearby Machalilla National Park. Given our lack of knowledge of the Spanish language, and our stereotypical American lack of patience, we did not always have good experiences with the local buses and taxi drivers.

That said, don’t feel like you have to go somewhere. Peace, quiet and the wonderful beach life rhythm is just inside Viejamar’s gate. You can just stay in and enjoy it.

The kitchen at Viejamar is available to cook your own lunch and dinners; however again, due to our lack of mobility and the fact that we don’t speak Spanish, we found it hard to find basics for a meal at the local shops. There are several restaurants close to Viejamar – but be sure you can read a menu in Spanish. My daughter and I are vegetarian and we found that attempting to convey this fact to the restaurant staff was more of a challenge than our very limited Spanish vocabulary could manage. Turns out in Ecuador, vegetarian often means fish and seafood are still in the food! We finally solved this problem by taking Leslie, a new member of the Viejamar staff, out to eat with us. For the price of a meal (very inexpensive I should add), we were able to order wonderful smoothies and sandwiches in Las Tunas with her help, not to mention make a new friend.

Viejamar is not a five star beach resort hotel. It is better than that. It feels like home as soon as you arrive. From storing your own perishables in the refrigerator, to cooking on the grill, to relaxing with your feet up on the coffee table while listening to good music – it just feels like home. There is one major exception to though - an unbelievable beach, complete with warm sand, gentle breezes and good surf is there too!

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank RuralLiving
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viejamar, Propietario at Viejamar Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Thank you very much.
We work with you in mind.
We always try to make you have a good time in Viejamar.
Greetings and blessings.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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75 - 81 of 201 reviews

Reviewed April 25, 2014

Viejamar is the perfect place to literally be at the beach. From their private cabins you can hear the waves at night and, if you like to surf, you can check the waves at any time and get in the water when it's just right. Rodrigo and Pancho were excellent hosts and transmit their passion for waves and enjoying life. From couples to groups of friends it is a perfect place to stop by.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank tomasaftalion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viejamar, Propietario at Viejamar Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Thank you very much.
We work with you in mind.
We always try to make you have a good time in Viejamar.
Greetings and blessings.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2014

We've travelled a lot and have stayed in a variety of accommodations. Most of what makes a place enjoyable or not is based on if it meets your expectations or not. I'll try to give an honest review of what to expect so you can decide if Viajamar will fit your needs. For us it was a perfect fit and we would have enjoyed a few more days there.

1) The hostel is nicely landscaped with mature shade trees, a cool second story overlook with a bar and stools facing the beach, a variety of interesting knick knacks surrounding a pool, outdoor (but covered) kitchen, dining room and family room (sofas w/ TV). It fits into the surrounding landscape like it has been there for decades. I think hostal is a bit misleading since it is nicer than a typical "hostal". You are invited to use the facilities as you please and the only rules are to act responsibly and respect the other guests. He has a huge bunch of bananas hanging for all to eat for free and uses the honor system for you to keep track of the waters, sodas, beers, etc that you take from the refrigerator. We immediately felt at home and found it a great way to relax for a few days after a month of traveling throughout Ecuador.

2) I should first emphasize that the hostal/bungalows are rustic but sufficient. If you do not enjoy living in a thatch roof, wooden walled bungalow and sleeping under a mosquito net, than this may not be the right place for you. There are gaps that can let in mosquitos, lizards and bugs. You are in Ecuador and these types of things are to be expected. The freestanding bungalow rooms are spacious with a double and single bed (at least in our bungalow). There was no AC but the fan kept the room rather comfortable. The bathroom had everything we needed and there was plenty of hot water (although a bit hard to regulate at first). The staff (sorry I forget her name) cleaned our bungalow each day, made the beds, etc. This was not expected and a pleasant surprise. We were there for 3 nights and had the same towels, sheet, etc for that timeframe. This was expected and in our case preferred. Viajamar places an emphasis on being ecologically responsible and there was no need in our minds for new towels, etc every day. I'm sure if we requested new towels, they would have been provided though. During our stay we received a few mosquito or flea bites as others reported. Not much different than dealing with mosquitos outside my house in Virginia. You are outside, in nature, and mosquitos and other bugs do exist and are impossible to control. The beach (like others in Ecuador) does have sand fleas which we did not find bothersome but may explain other people's ankle bites. Use common sense, use bug repellent and the mosquito nets provided and you should be fine.

3) The beach and surrounding area is remote and beautiful. The brown sand beach appears about 5-7 miles long anchored on either side by some cliffs. There are beautiful colored stones/pebbles scattered in the sand instead of shells. There were a few small restaurants within a 15 minute beach walk. Otherwise, Puerto Lopez is a $5, 10 minute taxi ride away with more "to do". If you like to have a beach to yourself, enjoy surfing or just relaxing and doing nothing, than this is the ideal place. If you want a party town I suggest Puerto Lopez or Montanita. We ate at Jimmy's down the beach for most of our meals and brought back leftovers to heat up in the kitchen. We also had a great vegetarian meal at LaLeonas which I highly recommend trying. The owner Lea, (fluent in German, Spanish and English) generally only has the "meal of the day" available plus assorted home made sweets, teas, etc. Your options are limited, but the food was excellent (vege hamburger with spinach and pumpkin the day we went). I am not a vegetarian, but found the food enjoyable, filling and one of the best during our stay in Ecuador. I should point out that there are not tables and chairs like a typical restaurant and she is only open Wed-Sun 4-7 or 8 pm. We were the only ones there and ate outside, under a thatched roof, on a sofa/futon with a small table. My girlfriend described it as a cute, romantic setup and really loved the food and atmosphere! We had a nice laid back meal and a pleasant conversation with the owner. Thanks Lea!

4) Rodrigo is a cross between your cool uncle, your father and a good friend. I've meet very few people in life that you feel like you can relate to, trust and feel at home with in a matter of minutes. I witnessed him sharing stories and welcoming ALL the other guests into his home like it was their own. He obviously loves the hostel and enjoys living there and bonding with his guests. I don't understand some of the negative reviews about him. I can see how some found him a bit rough around the edges but to us he came across as a very kind, caring and honest person.

5) The staff was very helpful. There is the owner Rodrigo (already commented on above), Francisco (Pancho) who helps with bookings, taxis, general info and other things around the hostal and the young lady (sorry forget her name) that cleans and cooks breakfast, etc. Our only complaint is that it was a bit awkward checking in since she didn't seem aware of the guest list for the day and didn't speak any English. But, she showed us our room and we received the full tour, etc from Rodrigo when he returned from his surf lessons.

6) The surfing was amazing. Rodrigo was an excellent teacher and after some intense beach drills we hit the waves and I stood up on my first try. He spent 20-30 minutes with me before sending me loose on my own to try the larger waves. I watched him with a fellow student that needed some more one-on-one time and he helped her for an hour get to the point of standing up. He has a great knack for assessing people's skills and potential and adjusts his teaching accordingly. I thought the $25 was a good price for about 3 hours of personal lessons and wave riding time. We started late in the afternoon, but I think if it was a morning class he would have let me practice until sunset for the same price.

We want to send a special thanks to Rodrigo, Fransisco and Lea who helped make our last few days in Ecuador some of the most memorable.

-Garen & Christine

Room Tip: I don't think there are any "bad" rooms.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sacooch74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viejamar, Propietario at Viejamar Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Thank you very much.
We work with you in mind.
We always try to make you have a good time in Viejamar.
Greetings and blessings.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2014

Beautiful rustic hostal located just outside Las Tunas. Landscaping among the cabins unbelievable! Small little cabins in amongst well landscaped secure area! Ron Rico and Pancho wonderful hosts/ owners, you can tell was built from the heart! Only wish I was younger cuz it was great surfing spot!

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Robert D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viejamar, Propietario at Viejamar Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014
Google Translation

Muchas gracias.
Nosotros trabajamos pensando en ti.
Nosotros siempre intentaremos que tu tengas un buen tiempo en Viejamar.
Saludos y bendiciones.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2014 via mobile

We had a wonderful vacation in Viejamar, the owner is Rodrigo, a Chilean guy who is sooo nice and helpful in every way.
I went with my family and we had a lot of fun, we met new people from different countries, we cooked and learned new recipes, we surfed and had a good rest. The beach is amazing, the pool is perfect, and you never want to leave. I totally recommend Viejamar and its light environment. The prices are fine and you can buy fresh fish or seafood and prepare it on the grill while you have a glass of wine and laugh with friends.

  • Stayed: February 2014
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2  Thank SashaNicole1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viejamar, Propietario at Viejamar Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Thank you very much.
We work with you in mind.
We always try to make you have a good time in Viejamar.
Greetings and blessings.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2014

We found this hotel on our way to Puerto Lopez. We were driving at night and wanted to pull over for the night.

We couldn't have been more impressed with our find! The cabin we stayed in was super clean - especially the bathroom, which is important. The interior design was simple but elegant and the beds were incredibly comfortable.

We only spent one night but we ate dinner and breakfast, cooked by the husband and wife owners. It was delicious! My wife and I had ceviche, which was fresh and tasty and our daughter had the spaghetti bolognese - which (surprisingly for Ecuador) was really tasty. We enjoyed a nice conversation with the owner over dinner.

The property is ocean front and the cabins and the restaurant have a great view of the beach. Do yourself a favour and check this place out!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank JlcECAU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viejamar, Propietario at Viejamar Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Thank you very much.
We work with you in mind.
We always try to make you have a good time in Viejamar.
Greetings and blessings.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2014

This place is fantastic. We stayed in a four bedroom dorm and arrived after a 12 hour (3 bus) journey. We arrived at 17.30 and walked straight to the beach (50m) for an unforgettable sunset. Rodrigo helped us book our tour for the Isla De La Plata the next day. The tour starts in town which is 15 min drive away but you're collected and returned at the hostel free of charge. We felt very at home here at the hostel. Relaxed with a couple of beers and Rodrigo introduced us to the most amazing mangoes we've ever eaten so he said he will get some for us while we were at the island.

After returning from the Island (which was OK) there was a huge BBQ organised which was unreal. The next morning, I got up at six and went to the awesome viewing deck of the beach and went birding for a couple of hours. (34 birds). Lovely morning watching the Blue footed boobies diving for breakfast. Our breakfast was included and was lovely also. Unfortunately we had an appointment in Guayaquil so we had to leave or we would have definitely stayed another few days. Rodrigo even took us to the next town to get the fancy quick bus to guayaquil.

The hostel has excellent wifi, a fantastic friendly dog, beautiful pool and outdoor area, well supplied kitchen, small gym, good birding and a range of tours. Rodrigo is also a conservationist and has bought a large area of rain forest close to the hostel to protect it.

I always think the people make the place and this is definitely the case here. Book it, you won't regret it! (The place is awesome also!)

Room Tip: We chose a 4 bed dorm and was fine. All rooms are close to beach as this is a small hostel
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank MarkoBeco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viejamar, Propietario at Viejamar Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Thank you very much.
We work with you in mind.
We always try to make you have a good time in Viejamar.
Greetings and blessings.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Viejamar Hostel

Address: Calle Guayaquil s/n, Las Tunas 5935, Ecuador (Formerly Hostel Viejamar Surf)
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Manabi Province > Las Tunas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Las Tunas
Price Range: $30 - $66 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Viejamar Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are 24 minutes north of Montañita, 3 minutes north of Ayampe and 13 minutes south of Puerto Lopez on the beach. Our Hostel are located right in front of the beach with panoramic sea views and direct access to the beach close to Las Tunas. We are between the tropical forest and the ocean, beside Machalilla National Park. This is a perfect starting point for many outdoors activities and adventures. This is a great Surf spot for beginners and advanced surfers with 2 waves: Viejamar and Las Tunas. If you want to learn, we offer Surf lessons for beginners in a friendly and quiet environment. You can cook and share a dinner, organize a barbecue, chill in the pool or drink a cold beer on our high level terrace enjoying a magical sunset. To keep the balance after an adventure, surf or quiet beach day, join us for a "Party Trip" to Montañita or a local party in one of our neighbor towns! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Viejamar Hostel Ecuador/Las Tunas

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