Montanita's Best Oasis: Nativa Bambu Ecolodge
Nativa Bambu Ecolodge in Montanita is my ideal heaven on Earth. Discovering this blissful oasis fit snug in between the ocean and the jungle was a huge highlight of my travels in Ecuador. The property is surrounded with lush gardens, full of vegetables for your next meal. There are numerous relics placed peacefully along the trails, representing ancient sculptures along the Ecuadorian coast. The infinity pool overlooks the small village of Montanita meeting the sea. This Ecolodge is a must-see if you’re heading towards Montanita in your travels! It is nothing less than perfect for a travelling environmentalist.
Nativa Bambu Ecolodge - December 30, 2022
How to get there (feel free to skip to "the good part" BELOW ↓)
We took the route from Guayaquil, paying $12USD for both of our seats on the CLP bus for the 3 hour journey from the terminal. Once again, communication was not in our favour as we tried to navigate our way to the correct bus line. The Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil felt like a New York City subway stop on American Thanksgiving…it was chaos, on top of not being fluent in Spanish (and not having data work on my phone to translate). It was evident at 1:58PM, there was a 0% chance that we were sprinting to the correct gate after buying a ticket and making that 2PM bus.
To make your life less complicated if you wish to take this route, here’s the way! Head all the way up to the top floor and go to the CLP counter (burgundy colour). For us, it was about 30m up from the escalator on the left but this could vary depending on what escalator you go up! You’ll know you’re around the right spot if you see bus gates 76-78. The schedule seems to ‘unofficially’ change but it’s typically every hour. The weird skip is at the 3PM point which we got stuck with. We wanted to make the 2PM bus but because we didn’t get through the terminal time, I figured we’d go for 3PM. Unfortunately, the next bus was at 3:30PM and from then on, it went back to a bus every hour after that.
The bus has assigned seating so don’t fret about the fight to get on the bus for a good seat (much like we did until we realized). The exit out of Guayaquil is all the way around the northern part of the city (below in red), making the trip even longer. So don't be confused when you realize they're moving away from the regular route (I think they do this because of the way the buses must exit the terminal).
INSIDER INFO.: If you can remember, BRING earplugs when taking this bus line! I can't speak for all of the bus lines but this one specifically played movies the whole ride and the speakers were blaring. I actually sleep with earplugs so I always have a pair wherever I go but unfortunately, they were in the bottom storage area below the bus so I didn't have access to them! It was a very loud ride.
The First View of the Ocean (the good part!)
As we got closer, I finally saw the sky meet the ocean, calm waves, smooth sand, and what seemed like hundreds of small fishing boats. There is something so serene about that first view of the big blue body of water, full of its' own nature, water creeping up to shore. Besides seeing the ocean from an airplane, this was the first glimpse of it within reach on this trip.
My eyes were peeled out the window the majority of the ride but watching the waves, I was magnetized as if nothing else was around me. I snapped out of it when I realized the bus was stopping at random, with no announcements on the speakers. There didn’t seem to be any legit stops along the way unless it was an actual terminal. We turned to Google Maps to help us out and it looked like the Montanita terminal was directly across the street of the Ecolodge we were staying at. As the bus slowed down and others started standing up, we rushed to the front so we wouldn't miss the stop. We grabbed our backpacks and crossed the road, turning left and then a right to what was known as Nativa Bambu Ecolodge.
My partner trekking up the hill! You will have to be prepared for a lot of climbing when staying here - December 30, 2022
Nativa Bambu Ecolodge
We got to the reception desk where we received the warmest welcome! Once again, communication was a bit tricky but he was doing his very best to speak English (I wish I remembered his name, he was an incredible employee)! While he scurried behind the desk to get us checked in, we gazed the property behind us. The beauty just took me away.
The restaurant right across from the reception, up another hill - January 1, 2023
We were handed the keys and then whisked away in a stretched out golf cart, receiving a small tour of the property as night fell upon us. He drove us all the way to the top of many hills and gave us some history of the property, describing the food grown for their guests and the relics that watched us on our mini-tour. Arriving at our room, we rushed to put our stuff down to go explore.
The first night, of our 2-night stay, exploring the property - December 30, 2022
We ventured off to the village of Montanita, but this of course, will come in the next couple of blog posts (including my visit to a landfill)! The only realistic way to take you through Nativa Bambu Ecolodge is through photos and videos. Although they don't do justice, you can get a sneak peek before you go visit for yourself ;)
Be sure to check out our TikTok channel for video footage!
Our room! Typically the going rate is around $200/night. Due to the issues with our trip, booking some of Ecuador very last minute, we ended up paying $400/night. We did stay in Montanita for New Year's - definitely the splurge portion of our trip! (December 30, 2022-January 1, 2023)
The walk way to our room. We even had a balcony right on top! It felt like no one else was at the resort but us...for being sold out, it was very quiet - December 31, 2022
Walking back "home" on our first night - December 30, 2022
Even on vacay, I woke up around quarter to 6AM because I was just that excited to explore the resort on our first full day! You can see a glimpse of one of the many gardens on the property - December 31, 2022
It was tough to peel me away from the incredible infinity pool on New Year's Eve! It was SO relaxing and went very well with my vodka water :)
Could you think of anywhere better to relax?! The ocean in front of you and the jungle behind - December 31, 2022
This sustainable slice of heaven was a 10/10 visit...and I highly recommend you check it out if you have the opportunity to go to Ecuador!