A Fiery Start to the Year in Montanita, Ecuador

New Year Montanita

***I know we’re a bit late on this post but better late than never?***

I think there is something wrong with us.

We knew we had to get from Medellin, Colombia to Montanita, Ecuador in one day and somehow we took a 22 hour travel period with no complaints. I think my patience is becoming a bit too good. Should I be worried about having a flat butt by the end of this due to the endless sitting? We’re getting damn good at it.

We did arrive a bit dirty and tired when we showed up to Stephanie of Twenty Something Travel and Mike of Art of Backpacking’s apartment rental in Montanita, Ecuador but we were all super excited about the next few days that were about to unfold. My liver was still recovering from some of the craziness of Medellin but I was willing to work with it.

First mission of the day: Find an effigy to burn. To bring in the new year and be done with the old, people burn effigies to signify the past. What better to be out with the old than burn a paper mache Barney.

Barney, you’re about to meet the fiery pits of hell.

Also, we did stuff explosives up his ass for further effect.

And we had roman candles in hand to make a makeshift firing squad.

Yes, this was going to be good.

Montanita Ecuador

New Years quickly approached and the energy of the house was buzzing. With massive $2.50 cocktails, we were warming up our night. Hell, if you tell the bartender that it doesn’t have enough booze they are more than willing to pour more in. I somehow found the mother city of partying and I thought Bocas del Toro was bad.

The town of 1,000 was easily 10,000 on the Eve. Did I also mention this is where many Argentinians and Chileans spend their New Year? People were everywhere and the vibe was electric.

New Year in Ecuador
At about 11:45 everyone headed out to the beach. Bonfires were starting, artillery shells and roman candles were going off everywhere and surfers were awaiting their time old tradition – surfing the first wave of the year. At night. In the dark. Crazy mofos.

We set Barney down on the soft sand to meet his doom, sparklers shoved into his hands, lighter ready for showtime.

The glow of the lighter showed a very eager Shaun. Sparklers lit… and…

Wait, Barney didn’t catch on fire.


Shaun held the lighter to his feet.



We set off our roman candles in defiance of the non-flammable Barney and came up with a better plan.

Throw him in the bonfire.

Ecuador New Years effigy
Chanting like heathens and pumping Barney in the air we made our way to the fire, like moths to a flame.

Mike chucked him in and we waited….

Celebrating the New Year in Montanita

Mike more than happy to throw him into the flames.


Our firecrackers in Barney’s ass went off.

I noticed a sizzle on my arm.


Oh God, the firecrackers were making the bonfire spark and fly.


Wait, was I the only one hit? Apparently.

We walked around the chaos, taking it all in. Yes. This is the way to bring in the New Year. Good friends. A good time. A good balance of craziness.


Thanks for the amazing time guys!

Also, did I mention that Shaun spent some of his time in the back of a cop car?


14 Responses to “A Fiery Start to the Year in Montanita, Ecuador”

  1. Natalie January 23, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    How did he get away with sitting in the cop car? I would never try that here, too scared of the police 🙂

    • Erica January 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      @Natalie: HAHA! They were so chill on the beach and were wishing everyone a happy new year while letting people climb all over. All in good spirits. 😛

  2. Emily in Chile January 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Sounds like a crazy night! Rodolfo was in Montañita at the beginning of December and loved the relaxed party atmosphere too.

    • Erica January 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      @Emily: It was INSANE! I almost wished it was a bit more relaxing but we definitely had a good time.

  3. Waegook Tom January 24, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Haha this sounds & looks like an amazing New Years – and I can’t believe you sacrificed poor Barney! Personally, I’d have gone for Bambi if he was available for the burning – and probably ended up getting burned like Erica, too. I have the worst luck even with Roman Candles, probably because I flail about like a fish out of water the second anyone gives me anything with a flame attached to it.

    Great photo at the beginning too, you guys! Love it 🙂

    • Erica January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      @Tom: I was more than happy to put Barney out of his misery – there are a few others I would have liked more but you gotta work with what ya have ya know?

  4. Heather January 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I LOVE that first pic of you guys!! Glad you had a memorable welcome to the new year and Barney didn’t burn you too badly!

    • Erica January 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      @Heather: I’m a big fan as well. <3

  5. dtravelsround January 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    OMG. I am BEYOND excited to plan a trip to meet up with you two. What a great time for NYE!!! Love the pics and really like the writing on this post. 🙂

    • Erica January 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      @D: Can’t wait to party with you lady!

  6. Nomadic Samuel January 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    I have to admit, I would probably have fun blowing up Barney 😛

    • Erica February 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

      @Sam: It was very easy to do. I was personally hoping for a paper mache Lazy Town girl. She drives me insane.

  7. Stephanie - The Travel Chica February 2, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Good to see that the Ecuadorians do not like to shoot fireworks at the gringos for New Years like the Salvadorans. Although I have a feeling you guys might have given them a taste of it right back 😉

    • Erica February 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      @Stephanie: OMG I didn’t see anyone shooting fireworks at each other. I would have totally started a war!

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