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Montecristi

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Montecristi is a town in the Coastal Lowlands of Ecuador.

Understand

Get in

Montecristi is a small town at the base of a mountain of that name. It can be reached from Manta, a port town, or Portoviejo, the capital of the province. By bus it costs thirty-five cents from any point in Manta, and by taxi between ten and fifteen dollars depending on where you are and your bargaining skills. Gringo tax* applies to both.

Get around

There is one road going through the town from Manta to Portoviejo. There is one bus coop. that goes to the town (it's orange), but taxis are available. The bus goes up to the church and through a few side- streets before returning to Manta.

See

  • 1 Basilica Virgen Monserrat. The Catholic church in Montecristi is famous, and a must-see if you're Catholic. If you're not, you'll see it anyway. It's impossible to miss. (updated Nov 2020)
  • 2 Centro Cívico "Ciudad Alfaro", ☏ +593 5 231 1210. Museum about the indigenous people of Ecuador, how they fared against Catholicism and imperialism. Also a section about former Ecuadorian president Eloy Alfaro who once resided in Montecristi. It's possible to walk up here from the basilica by taking an interesting path called the Paseo Ludico. (updated Nov 2020)
  • 3 Museo Arqueologico, Av. Manta and Calle 9 de Julio. In a crusty old building in a rather shabby part of the city, but has some exhibits inside. (updated Nov 2020)

Do

Once a year there is a pilgrimage to the church, where thousands of Ecuadorians pay their respects to the saint of the town. It's not recommended to visit during that week.

All along the streets are shops selling Panama hats, knick-knacks, keychains, hammocks, shawls, baked goods, furniture, and nearly anything else they can think of to sell.

Buy

Panama hats of the best quality are made here. Montecristi is famous for them, and for good reason. They ought to be re-named "Montecristi hats", but Panama already has the copyrights.

The shops along the streets going to the church are slightly cheaper than the ones along the main road. You can buy anything hand-made there. If you want gifts or souvenirs, buy them in Montecristi.

Gringo tax is applied to any tourist. It is simply half of the real price of any item.

Example: A shawl costs three dollars. Half of that is one-fifty. If you are a Gringo (tourist), they will charge you four-fifty. What you can do: offer to buy two shawls for five dollars. They will hem-haw and accept.

Eat

Along the road there are people selling fruit and bread. It is unadvisable for tourists to eat any fruit that doesn't have a peel, but the bread is good. As always, choose a vendor that looks sanitary. There are a few restaurants in Montecristi that serve local food, but Gringo tax* applies. It is best to return to Manta or Portoviejo for meals.

Drink

There are small shops scattered around that sell bottled beverages. Do Not Drink Tap Water. Ice should also be avoided.

Sleep

  • 1 Balcones del Cerro Hotel - Cabañas, calle san andres, callejon 7, ☏ +593 5 231 0135. Pool oasis and free breakfast. $68. (updated Nov 2020)

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