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“Excellent service and location”
Review of Balsa Surf Camp

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Balsa Surf Camp
Ranked #1 of 43 Montanita B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 12, 2012

My husband and I stayed at this hotel for 5 days and it was just perfect for our stay in Montanita. One thing we really liked was the location, not directly on the beach but close enough that it would take only 2-3 minutes to walk there. Balsa is also located in a more quiet part of town, the center of the town can get very loud because of the music from the clubs, restaurants, and festivals.

We loved the design/look of Balsa, we really felt like we were in the "surf meca" of Ecuador.

The best part about this place it definitely the service. Friendly, accommodating, and very helpful for suggestions on what to do in and around Montanita.

The only draw back is the price, this is the more expensive accommodations in Montanita. However, the price did include breakfast and lunch or dinner, which was very good!

We really enjoyed our stay!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank TWDCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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76 - 82 of 212 reviews

Reviewed June 5, 2012

-Stayed at the Balsa Surf Camp for 3 weeks on a package deal. I traveled alone and stayed alone. First time surfing and first time traveling in Ecuador.

-Julie, Rasty, and the entire staff are all amazingly helpful, polite, respectful, and trustworthy. Felt like I was at home the entire time. The overall design of the camp is simply amazing, so much attention to detail and structured with bamboo and many other natural elements, while still being extremely efficient. The architectural design and landscape will blow your mind. It's a 25 second walk to the beach and a short 8-10 minute walk down the beach to town, since you're on "the point" ("la punta").

-Rooms are spacious and comfortable, linens are good, wifi internet, hot water (if you need it) and great water pressure, space to hang and put clothes away. Didn't have any problems with mosquitoes or flies (never even used the bug net, included with the room). If you like a fan to fall asleep to, there's a fan in the room. AND the best part...you should sleep like a baby cuz you're away from all the loud music and clubs in town.

- Balsa Surf Cafe surprisingly had the best food that I had tasted during my 3 week stay in Montanita. Simply put: fresh and homemade (from scratch) food was never bland, and was very filling too. My favorite dish was the Espagueti de camarones en salsa roja (spaghetti with shrimp in the best-ever marinara sauce) I ate this meal lunch and dinner for probably a week straight.

-Surf lessons: First time surfer. I took 8 lessons and my instructor (Eusebio) had me up and surfing in know time. He made the steps simple and easy to understand and his critiquing was very helpful. I've been a snowboarder for yrs and surfing was much more difficult to learn but the reward of riding a wave was just as great as riding down the backcountry or jumpin a huge kicker, on a mountain.

-Expeditions: Julie and Rasty will make accommodations for you to go on expeditions (i.e. a trek in the jungle, fishing, snorkeling, etc) and they'll work around your schedule, or you can "go with the flow" like I did and when Julie, or Rasty, asked if I wanted to do this or that, I just said "Yes, that sounds awesome, lets do it!". If you go spearfishing on the skiff(boat) and you forgot you're sea legs, or dont have any, bring something for motion sickness. I found that out the hard way, but honestly it was still a great time.

-Final Notes: met some great people, made new friends, snoozed in the hammocks, watch movies and relaxed up in the cinema, walked the huge tropical garden, ate some of the best food that I've ever had in my life, accomplished a lifelong dream (surfing).

IN THE END, I WANTED TO MOVE IN AND MAKE IT MY NEW HOME.

Room Tip: Recommend a top floor room. Point being, less noise! From the guests who may be rooming above you.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Jake-Koz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2012

This place is excellent! I decided to go here with relaxation and learning to surf as my primary objectives, and it turned out to be an excellent decision. The hotel itself is great. Super relaxing atmosphere, great food in the cafe, and a wonderful and extremely friendly staff. Julie and Rasty (the owners) were incredibly friendly and made the whole experience of staying there so great. I was traveling solo, but managed to meet some great people who were also there to learn to surf. The location is pretty quiet, since it is a short walk down the beach from the all of the noisy clubs etc in town. Those are easy to get to from Balsa if you are into that kind of thing though. As for the surfing, you are literally less than a 2 minute walk from a great break. The Instructor was awesome in terms of being both a great instructor and a fun guy to hang out with. The Balsa boards are the icing on the cake, functional works of art that it are a pleasure to ride (or try to ride in my case :). Even if you have no interest in surfing, the owners can set up a number of local excursions for fishing, hiking, etc. Great food, great surf, great people, great place to stay. Go there!!!!!

Room Tip: Maybe look for a room upstairs if footsteps above bother you while trying to sleep. Not the fault o...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank fred-locks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2012

We took our daughter here over Easter so she could learn to Surf! She was NOT Dissapointed! The Instructors were EXCELLENT..........Caring & very personable. Julie The owner took care of everything! The Restaurant onsite served some Great Food! (Tryu the Shrimp Spageheti) Mummm good &a HUGE Plate w/ mounds of Fresh Succulent Shrimp! Rooms are outstanding Fresh & Airy! We'll BE BACK!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Whale Shark D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Chivi G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Nikaot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Patrick B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BalsaSurfCamp, Propietario at Balsa Surf Camp, responded to this reviewResponded June 16, 2015

Hello there! Thank for these very nice qualification! We are happy to know that you enjoyed your stay with us :) It was our pleasure too to share with you this longtime and know you better! We hope to see you again and soon! Take care a lot, Balsa family.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balsa Surf Camp

Address: at the Point, Montanita, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Santa Elena Province > Montanita
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 43 B&Bs / Inns in Montanita
Price Range: $67 - $145 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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