Santa Marianita is a hidden gem in Ecuador. A beautiful peaceful beach that does not appear in any guide book and that very few backpackers know about. We ended up there by pure luck, we were heading to Montanita from Quilotoa and thought we could not get there in a day so we were looking for a place to spend a night. Manta seemed to make sense but lonely planet said it was not an interesting town and lodging was bad. We found a hostel on a beach 12 km from Manta with great reviews so we booked for a night. Without knowing it, we were heading to Santa Marianita to relax there for 4 nights…
How to get there
Our day started at 4:30 am in Chugchilan. To get out of Chugchilan and Quilotoa read my previous post. Once we got to Zumbahua, we took a bus to Queveta (3 dollars for 3 hours) then another one to Manta (6 dollars for 4 hours).
From Manta, the easiest way to get to Santa Marianita is to take a taxi for 10 dollars. We however took a bus heading to Puerto Lopez and asked him to drop us off where the road intersects San Mateo (one dollar for 20 mn). We waited there for a camioneta heading to Santa Marianita (50 cents for 10 mn). The 12 km from Manta took us over 2 hours to do because buses and camionetas are scarce at the end of the day.
Donkey den guesthouse: this hostel brought us to santa marianita and kept us there. It's right on the beach, has a very relaxed atmosphere with hammacks everywhere, is very clean, has super fast internet, an amazing outdoor kitchen, confortable dorms, very good bathrooms and an unbeatable view. It's run by a canadian lady that tries to recruit all the passing backpackers to become volunteers there in exchange of a free bed and breakfast. This results in a cosy place with cool people to hang out with. We paid 15 dollars for a dorm bed. The rooms are between 45 and 80 but are huge.
Our rating for this hostel is 5/5.
Kite surfing: the spot is apparently amazing for kite surfing and you see a lot of them doing amazing tricks in the water during the day. There are also 3 schools where you can learn if you want to (400 dollars for a 12 hours package).
The beach: the beach is long and nice. There may be too much current to swim but I had amazing runs along it.
Mostly kite surfers and some backpackers that end up there randomly. On Sundays and holidays, the beach gets packed with locals.
After an active stay in the Andes, this was the perfect spot to relax and do nothing for a few days in warm weather. Do check it out, specially if you like kite surfing.