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“Relaxing, good location and great service”
Review of Balsa Surf Camp

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Balsa Surf Camp
Ranked #1 of 42 Montanita B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Relaxing, good location and great service”
Reviewed September 9, 2012

Great place just out of the mayhem of Montanita but still able to walk into town when you feel like it. This part of the beach is close to the point break and it's only 20m from the front of the property (through another property) to reach the beach. The food is good, would recommend including dinner in the package. Staff are super friendly. The Balsa boards for rent are good fun too, worth a try. Only con is the walls are really thin, you'll get to know your neighbor.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Roaming1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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203 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
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Saint Peter, Minnesota
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2012

We spent one evening in Montanita at a hotel just down the road from Balsa Surf Camp. My wife, daughter and I signed up for surf lessons with the Balsa Surf Camp instructors...and we completely regretted that we didn't stay here.

Balsa Surf Camp is in a peaceful, zen-like lush setting - walking paths wind around trees, flowers, inviting hammocks and artwork. It's not a huge campus. More like a collection of funky, clean and well-maintained buildings arranged with a central garden area.

We spotted a lot of college-age and older people lounging around, talking and simply enjoying the place. Not sure if 'family with small kids' is the perfect demographic, but the owners and staff were simply lovely and would have welcomed us.

It's incredibly close to the beach and other B&B's with restaurants and drinking areas. (Not really bars.) Think of this as more of a peaceful retreat from the Montanita action versus the scrum of activity within the town itself.

SURF LESSONS: Money well spent with the Balsa Surf Camp instructors. Patient, well-versed and very good at what they do. I'd highly recommend using them!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Steve D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2012

We took our 4 teenage kids to Ecuador and this was their favorite place out of all the stays in our month long trip. A 1 minute walk to the beach on the far end of town, about a 5 minute walk on the beach to the main part of town. Quiet and beautiful. Hammocks and a fire pit were a great place for us to relax after a long day of playing. Food was great and the owners, Julie and Rasty were very nice. I highly recommend this place!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Sharlie9776
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, Idaho
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2012

Just returned from the Balsa Surf Camp. Perfect place for both beach activities and relaxation. The hammocks throughout the camp are great, and the landscaping is incredible. The restaurant is small, but has very good meals, and they are very accommodating of special requests. The owners are friendly and helpful, and work to keep guests happy. The rooms add to the overall tropical setting, with bamboo throughout, and private balconies with hammocks. We had a couple incidents of being without water and/or power, but that seems to be a recurring problem throughout Ecuador, not just here. We had a wonderful time, and would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank jkaeea6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
1 review
Reviewed July 2, 2012

First of all, we loved Ecuador as a whole. The people are friendly, beautiful country, great surf and overall pretty safe with a stable government. I can't wait to go back, and when we do, I would stay at Balsa again! Rasty and Julie have built a great little garden like oasis very close to the beach. It is a perfect location if you want some quiet at nite, or, you can take a ten minute walk to the town for partytime! They like it loud, and on the weekends, they party til the morning hours. The food at their liittle restaurant on the property is great, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Different fresh squeezed juices everyday with breakfast. Our room was clean and very treehouse like. We were on the second floor with a hammock and hanging chair on the balcony. 24 hour hot water available (you have to ask about this when choosing a place to stay). The staff is great and helpful and Julie likes to check in to make sure you are comfortable and having a great time! I can't say enough about them!!! Thank you!! Dwayne and Tracy Robinson

Room Tip: All the rooms are unique, but, there is a two story cottage that has an ocean view!
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Tracy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2012

Balsa Surf Camp is absolutely beautiful. The grounds are lusciously-planted and well-maintained and our room (#4) was like living in a beautiful, hardwood treehouse with a lovely balcony with two hammocks and a decent view of the ocean. The breakfast (included in your stay) was delicious--a choice of five various combinations of fruit, eggs, and other sides--and usually lasted us until dinner time. The rooms are clean and equipped with a ceiling fan, which was enough circulation and cooling to keep us comfortable. The hotel is just across a little dirt lane from the beach and very easy to get back and forth (though you might just sink into your hammock and stay there instead). It's an easy walk along the beach into town during the day and a $1.50 or so taxi ride back at night.

My main problem here was with infrastructure. We had several brief power outages, which weren't a big deal at all. However, we were repeatedly without water in the sink, toilet, or shower, including the better part of one night. I will say that because it was sporadic and happened at inconvenient times (late at night, in the morning when we were rushing to catch our bus back to Guayaquil), we didn't really bring it up with Julie as we should have, and I feel confident she would've addressed our concerns as the customer service was generally helpful and responsive, if not entirely warm. I know they are very environmentally-aware and I appreciate that, but there are apparently still some things to be ironed out.

Also of note, the location (decently far outside town but still an easy walk along the beach into the heart of things) is quiet for Montanita, but not actually quiet. You'll still hear music most of the day from the beachfront hotel next door which is somewhat loud in the evening--heck, even the garbage trucks in Montanita broadcast music. It didn't bother me personally, but if you want true quiet, Montanita might not be the place for it.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank babycobalt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Quebec
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TWDCanada
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

Property: Balsa Surf Camp
Address: at the Point (En la Punta), 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 42 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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