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“Perfect spot for our families”
Review of Balsa Surf Camp

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Balsa Surf Camp
Ranked #1 of 43 Montanita B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Perfect spot for our families”
Reviewed 16 April 2014

As three families with 7 teenagers between 13-17, we weren't sure where to stay in Montanita. We found the perfect spot. Booking was fast and easy with Julie and Jonathan, and they were so welcoming when we arrived, we felt right at home. The rooms are clean and the grounds are beautiful. There are two nice common sitting areas, and a movie room for guests to use too. The only tough part was the heat - the rooms were hot when we hit a stretch of 35 degree weather as they only have a fan. The included breakfasts were amazing, and any food we ordered off the menus for lunch were delicious. The location was perfect - out of town so it was quiet, and only a nice short walk to head into town for dinner each night. We really were just steps off the beach, down a little lane way that was easy to access. What a beautiful stretch of beach! The kids surfed for 4 days - the instructors were good and the waves just right. We didn't feel they were in any danger and it was great that they could walk the surf boards out to catch a wave rather than having to paddle out each time.

All in all we couldn't have asked for friendlier, more hospitable hosts than we found at Balsa. It was one of our favorite stops and a great place to wrap up our three week trip. Highly recommend it!!

Room Tip: The rooms up top have more natural light than the ones on the bottom, but the top ones were hotter...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Allison F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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201 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2014

Hi,

I stayed here March 21-28, 2014.

Julie the host is amazing, probably one of the most involved and caring staff I have come across. Always a smile on her face. The staff is also very polite and helpful as much as possible. I highly recommend their accommodations and services.

* The reason I didn't give 5 star is because I thought the food was a bit dry and considering the closeness to fresh fruits and seafood, I expected a bit more. Regardless, there is a lot of selection around the camp and I know Balsa is updating their menus regularly.

** Bring mosquito spray or some mosquito coils. The camp can't help that they are surrounded by forest. This is a beautiful setting and I wouldn't want it any other way, so not holding that against them. The mosquito's aren't terrible but in the evening, it'd be a good idea to spray a little on you.

*** The van accommodation is really neat. Highly recommended for a single traveler, its super tranquil.

**** Bring ear plugs. This camp is some 15 minutes walk from the town, which is perfect considering how loud the town gets (I would never stay in the "pueblo"). However, towards the weekend, the town pumps their music so loud that you can sometimes hear a beat. Again, its nothing against Balsa, they have no control over a club 10-15 minutes away, its not "crazy loud", but some earplugs is recommended for yourself if you like silence when you sleep.

Bueno, go and enjoy!
Barry

Room Tip: Upper terrace rooms offer a little more solitude thanks to the surrounding "forest"
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Bazza416
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrison Hot Springs, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 March 2014

this Camp/ Hostal is a work of art, the rooms and the gardens are incredible along with a very laid back atmosphere.barely a walk to the best surfing that Montanita has to offer at the north point,very close to all amenities and more and far enough away from the downtown core for restful nights
A la Prochain Julie!!
Marc F

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Marc F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2014

Julia, Rasty, and Jonathan are the absolute best host! The property was awesome, the food fantastic and the people that work there are the best. If you are looking for an unforgettable surf experience I would highly recommend this place. I can not wait to go back!!!!

SurfinCEO

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SurfinCEO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harvey Cedars, New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 January 2014

After visiting many surf camps in Central America, Africa and South America this one ranks at the top of my list. Very nice accommodations (remember it's a surf camp), tasty food and a great location. However, what makes Balsa special is the people. Julie, Rasty and Jonathan were very attentive and tried to meet our every request. No one was in a hurry (good thing) and they were happy to answer our many questions and engage in interesting conversation covering a wide range of topics. We surfed some nice breaks (away from Montanita) while immersing ourselves in the Ecuadorian culture. A few of our experiences; helping locals in a small fishing village pull in their nets, giving a ride to a nice older man so he could find his donkey (he did!), great cheesecake after a long day of surf and trading waves with some "Loco Gringos" at sunset with pelicans flying overhead. Oh yeah, all while driving around in an old VW bus with funk music pouring out of the speakers. Thank you Julie, Rasty and Jonathan for a great stay!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SurfHC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ireland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2014

My boyfriend and I stayed here in january. Out of our 2 weeks in Ecuador and the 7 hotels we stayed in this was the worst. We were expecting a bit of luxury here seeming that it was a good bit more expensive than the usual. The shower didn't work properly. No soap in bathroom. Hello how much for a bar of soap. Then the bed looks the part alright. But the plastic matress cover made the bed the most uncomfortable I have ever slept on. Didn't get much sleep and wouldn't recommend it.

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank tessbess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BalsaSurfCamp, Propietario at Balsa Surf Camp, responded to this review, 26 January 2014
Good evening Tess & Terry. I'm Julie, the owner, we meet us in the hotel during your stay of one night, I personally made your check in. I'm so sorry to read about your bad experience in our beautiful place. Let me give you all my sincere apologies. About our price, is true that Montanita is an expensive place, and not only for touristic reason, but for example, for very expensive basic service. And you came a Saturday night in very high season. Anyway, it's true that we are usually one of the most expensive place in the area because of our service. Imagine we have more staff than room! Security the 24hours (3 watchman), 2500 meters but only 12 rooms (25 m2 each one or more), and a very big and amazing garden (so lot of work to take care of it), restaurant open more than 15 hours per day, surf school the whole week, massage etc....Only for ours 5 options of great breakfast include we need 4 persons working in the kitchen (pancakes, salad fruit, eggs, sandwiches, “tortilla de verde” or corn one etc.)...So all these have a price, we can't do cheaper, or we will close very soon :( For this, we are very sad about your bad qualification on our service, only 2/5, is very bad, and usually, ours services are very loved by our hosts. You stay only one night, and I think is very short to realize and note it, maybe it's for this. About your rate of our location, 2/5, we can't understand it. We are at 10 minutes walking from town, so in a quiet residential place, at 30 meters from the Ocean, it's difficult to make better :)
All my apologies about the soap, I guess that the cleaning girls forget it, it was a very busy Saturday, but why you didn't ask to me about it, I will give you few soap of course! About the mattress protector, sorry if was a nuisance for you, but we need to use it for hygiene, and we made it custom to avoid inconvenience. Before we read your review, we checked it again, we asked to our others guests and they told us that all was fine with their sleep. So we don't understand why happen, we will investigate more about it....Our goal is our hosts have a nice night and a good experience sharing time in our little paradise, so we feel bad with you, we feel unaccomplished. We hope that all this situation will help us to make us better. I invite you to come back in other opportunity in order to have other experience, a good one this time! Thanks, take care. Julie.
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Edmond, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2014

My family has taken surf classes on two occasions with three different instructors and they were all fantastic. They made the experience for my children fun, it was the highlight of their vacation. I have not staid overnight, and have not seen the rooms, but the hotel common areas are nice, bright and tropical. The owner Julie is great, excellent service.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Veronica D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BalsaSurfCamp, Propietario at Balsa Surf Camp, responded to this review, 13 January 2014
Google Translation
Que bien que sus ninos disfrutaron de nuestras clases de surf! Es todo un placer para nosotros poder compartir esta increible experiencia del surf, sobre todo con ninos, las sonrisas de ellos cuando se paran en la ola, es el mejor regalo para el profesor! Gracias por su tan buena opinion que nos ayuda un monton! Y que sus hijos siguen surfeando! Estamos a las ordenes por su proxima visita :) El equipo del balsa surf camp.
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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

Property: Balsa Surf Camp
Address: at the Point (En la Punta), Montanita, Ecuador
Region: 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 (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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