Sunday, March 10, 2013

Carnaval in Montañita

Carnaval is the huge celebration before Lent starts- you might know it as Mardi Gras. Basically, it's an excuse to party for an entire week without anyone judging you for it. With my friends Santiago and Daniel from Quito and my gringas Carley and Bridget from the US, we set out for Montañita, which is a small surf town on the coast known for it's famously wild parties. We arrived on Friday afternoon, left on Tuesday morning, and spent our time hanging out on the beach, hanging out at our campsite, or seeing what the nightlife of the town had to offer us. Here are some pictures and stories of my time:
During the day we hung out on the beach with vendors walking up and down all day selling anything from fruit salads and sandwiches to homemade mahogany lamps. 

Here's our group: Santiago, Carley, me, Daniel, and Bridget. 
There are probably more bars and dance clubs in Montañita than there are restaurants or grocery stores. 

On the drive there, I donned these sunglasses and Bad Boy hat and stared people down from the car.  Our last night in Montañita we all wore different funny sunglasses which were huge hits. 

Usually Montañita is crowded, but during Carnaval, the streets were packed all times of the day. Many people visit here and never leave- they end up selling bracelets or food on the beach. 

A very ingenious way to make money but unfortunately the puppet was targeted by all the drunk people and didn't survive the foam.

Since there was no room in any of the hostals, we decided to camp. This campsite was huge and had bathrooms, a kitchen, hammocks, and dogs. A lot of people will stay here for months at a time. Constant didgeridoo tones set the environment. 

For carnaval, foam is a huge thing. This foam will stain for clothes blue and burn your eyes but people just walk down the street aiming at hot girls or parents who bring their little kids out to party. At the end of each night, my hair was soaked with foam and my skin had a blue tint to it. 

On one day we left Montañita and drove to a beach down the highway called Valdivia. Valdivia is the sight of one of the most famous pre-Incan civilizations and is famous for their pottery and Venus statues. 

Our campsite was a mess. 

Carley decided to sleep in her hammock because it was so hot in the tent. The mosquitoes were everywhere and I got about 70 bites.

The beach in Valdivia. Similar to Montañita but with nicer cabanas and fewer people. This is where families come to party. 

Another shot of Valdivia- imagine this beach but with 10x the people in Montañita. 

Although we didn't go surfing or horse back riding or hiking, we enjoyed each other's company and were perfectly happy hanging out all day. It was a great trip with amazing people. 

With every party town comes bad decisions. This tattoo parlor made it very easy for drunk people to find their way into  their store.