I stayed at Kundalini for a week while attending spanish school in Montanita and it was one of the highlights of my stay there. Firstly, I should explain that Montanita was not my kind of place - just a bit too focused on the partying for me at this age (in my early 30s). Ten years ago, would've loved the place. Secondly, Kundalini made Montanita fun for me, and gave me a place to feel at home that was both close enough to walk anywhere in town and far enough away to feel like an escape.
Kundalini is located just over the river from the main part of Montanita, and it's situated basically directly on the beach, separated by only a few lovingly maintained gardens. I rented a surfboard for the week and I was able to do double sessions every day simply walking barefoot out of my room in my rash guard and board shorts, across the lawn and beach to the beach break directly in front of the hostel. After the sessions, I used their outdoor shower, then dried off having a cup of coffee in my own hammock, or a beer in the evening. To get anywhere for dinner, all you have to do with walk out to the beach and go 50 yards to the south and you'll be in town.
The rooms themselves can be somewhat small if you on the road side, but the beach side rooms are giant and open out to the gardens. The staff clean every day and provide fresh towels, sheets and soaps, something that's pretty rare in a $15 per night (single rooms with bathrooms) hostel. The rooms also all have hot water and perfect mosquito nets, also nice basic amenities for Ecuadorian budget travel. You've got your own private hammock in any room, and breakfast is included - juice, coffee, eggs and toast most days.
The quiet factor can't be undersold in Montanita. If you stay in town, you either need to drink yourself into a stupor most nights, or buy very good earplugs. At Kundalini, it's just far enough away that it isn't an issue, and the well-done gardens and bushes all around dampen sound even more. You can still get out and party, and the best part is that when you go home, the party doesn't follow.
Lastly, the staff was great. I was taking beginning Spanish classes and none of the staff speaks English, so it was good practice for me. Pancho, who I think runs and/or owns the place, was so friendly and helpful, and he even seems to enjoy helping me understand stuff and figure out some of the sentence constructions he was using - he was great. The rest of the folks who work there are younger, and can be somewhat less patient, but if you let them know you're learning and smile, they're willing to help out, even joke around with you. By the end of the week, I really felt at home with everyone there.
Oh and another thing - the grounds. They really take care of their stuff, with a kind of persistence and love that is evident everywhere. The kids are out sweeping up leaves each morning, watering the gardens, picking weeds, replacing turf, everything. In a town that often doesn't put much stock in appearances other than to attract bar-goers, it was a really nice place to be. As a former yard-worker myself, I really appreciated the amount of effort they put in to their grounds. Made it a nice place to be. I wish I was still there, reading my book on the lawn with a cold Pilsner in hand, post-surf sore!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are located at the bottom of the sea in the best area of Montanita, where the silence allows you to rest at night. Restaurants and bars are only at 2 minutes walking. Clean rooms with private bathroom, air conditioner, hot water, wifi, private hammocks and all you need at the beach. ... more less
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