Free Spirit Hostel review: Puerto Engabao surf & yoga holiday in Ecuador

Mar 02, 2022 BY Cara Rees

Need a break? Are you looking for a holiday for your body and mind? Do you want to learn to surf or practice yoga? How about an active and relaxing beach break? A Puerto Engabao surf and yoga holiday in Ecuador might be just right. Read this Free Spirit Hostel review to find out what it has to offer.

Cara paddling during Puerto engabao Surf and yoga holiday in Ecuador Copyright Cara Rees

History of The Free Spirit Hostel

The Free Spirit Hostel concept originated with a group of friends. They set up the hostel that they wanted to visit. A place to have fun and free your spirits. Their first hostel was in Nicaragua and it’s success led to the second being created in Ecuador.

Puerto Engabao Ecuador was chosen to suit beginner and experienced surfers, giving easy access to great waves year round. Designed as a haven for relaxation and socialising. With all the communal areas facing the ocean, it is easy to wile away the hours watching the waves roll in. While the sleeping accommodations are set at the back for more peace and quiet.

Free Spirit Hostel has created a beautiful experience. Their combination of surfing, yoga, wholesome vegetarian food in a tranquil setting is refreshing. While the time shared with like minded guests and hosts re-energises.

Review of Free Spirit hostel Ecuador - Copyright Cara Rees

Surfing in Ecuador

There are many locations offering surf and yoga holidays in Ecuador. But as I found on this Free Spirit Hostel review if you are looking for a small slice of paradise I don’t think you need to look any further.

The waves in Puerto Engabao are good year round, with surf for beginners, intermediates and advanced. Free Spirit Hostel is walking distance to both a point and beach break so you can go out when you like. The crew will recommend the best tides and conditions for your level of surfing to help you make the most of it.

On the few occasions when the conditions aren’t suitable the hostel arranges a short transfer along the coast to beaches where they are. With 15 other point breaks within a 15 minute drive you’ll still have plenty of time in the water. Additionally if you just want to try a different location they can arrange that too.

Puerto Engabao beach and surf in Ecuador - Copyright Cara Rees

Puerto Engabao is a small town with only a few bars and other hostels. This means the waves are not busy. It is so nice not having to compete for space as happens elsewhere. And the community is friendly with a peaceful ambience.

I found the point break white waves powerful and long enough to really get to grips with surfing. I had an amazing time on a Morocco surf holiday in Tagazout and at other surf camps but never experienced such perfect waves to learn on. It was lovely at low tide being able to walk the board out saving my paddle strength for catching the waves. Not that you need to paddle much which is wonderful too.

Getting to Puerto Engabao, Ecuador

You can fly into Guayaquil International airport from a number of airports in Europe, the USA, central and South America. Also it is the main gateway to fly to and from the Galapagos.

Picones Bar and Restaurant Puerto Engabao - Copyright Cara Rees

Puerto Engabao is about a two hour journey from Guayaquil. Compared to most Ecuador surf locations this is close, saving you a lot of travel time on your holiday. Also the hostel can arrange a shuttle service for you.

We actually travelled from Quito. This might be a cheaper or more convenient flight option for you too. The journey to the coast from Quito is eight to ten hours. This is about the same to most the best spots to surf in Ecuador. There is a comfortable overnight bus service with almost fully reclining seats and leg rests for only US$15pp.

Free Spirit Hostel review in Ecuador

The quiet fishing town of Puerto Engabao is a quaint setting that you’ll really like. It is perfect for relaxing. There are a few restaurants and a little nightlife. In my opinion the hostel has found a perfect balance with an inclusive fun party atmosphere for all tastes.

Free Spirit Hostel social area suring Puerto Engabao surf & yoga holiday in Ecuador - Copyright Cara Rees

The bar has a good variety of drinks including cocktails. It’s a great place to either gather with old friends or make new ones. The music is collectively chosen so you can hear some of your favourites or discover something new. Alternatively the hostel has plenty of space so you can always find a quiet spot.

There are free activities arranged most days. Also volleyball, eight ball, ping pong, slacklining and other games available for free. The hostels cute swimming pool is perfect to sooth your body or you can chill in a hammock, swing or rocking chair.

Vegetarian or vegan breakfast and dinner are included in the learn to surf package. These are delicious and nutritious meals. Everyone sits down for dinner together. And before tucking in someone says a few words about their positive experiences that day. It makes for a special collective event.

Review of Free Spirit Hostel private double and dormitory rooms - Copyright Cara Rees

Puerto Engabao Surf and yoga holiday in Ecuador

A trip to Ecuador has so much to offer. From the Amazon and Andes to the Galapagos and Pacific there are a lot of experiences to pack in. No matter how avid a traveller, eventually everyone reaches their limit of constantly moving around, seeing and doing things. To fully process those experiences a bit of downtime is needed.

A Puerto Engabao surf and yoga holiday in Ecuador is the perfect way to recuperate. Surfing is an exhilarating physical and mental challenge. While yoga is a great companion activity, stretching your aching muscles and helping calm your mind.

Add to this a tranquil beach setting, nutritious food and fun atmosphere. And a stay at the Free Spirit Hostel gives you all the recovery you need.

Surfer at Puerto Engabao point break - Copyright Cara Rees

Learn to surf holiday in Ecuador

This Free Spirit Hostel review would not be complete without me talking more about the surfing. The six day learn to surf package includes one theory and three surf lessons. With unlimited use of surfboards so you can practice when you like.

The trained instructors are also experienced local surfers. They can teach beginners or coach experienced surfers to improve their skills. The local knowledge made me feel very comfortable and confident to challenge myself. My progress was testament to their skill.

All lessons are personalised and given in small groups working at a similar level. I was on holiday with my partner and our lessons were just the two of us with Moises, our instructor. He was very friendly and focused on giving us each individual guidance.

Patrick catching his first wave during Review of Free Spirit Hostel - copyright Cara Rees

We started on the beach with directions on how to paddle, stand, body placement and stance. Then straight into the water. No time to over think, practice is the best way to learn. Moises was in the water and showed us which waves were suitable while giving us a helping push to catch them.

Soon we were catching waves on our own, from then he advised how we could improve. I loved that the classes were scheduled one day on, one day off. You will be amazed how a practice day between lessons helps you progress.

The feeling of catching your own wave, standing up and riding it is indescribably exhilarating. You are interacting with nature on a more personal level and finding balance in yourself. It created a new peace inside me and I felt invigorated which was further enhanced by the yoga.

Yoga at Free Spirit Hostel

Six days a week there is a yoga class you can join. The times are adjusted around the best tides to surf. It’s great that you don’t have to choose between yoga or surfing because it feels good doing both.

Review of Free Spirit Hostel yoga terrace - Copyright Cara Rees

A variety of yoga styles are combined and rotated through. I got to enjoy vinyasa, power and strength focused sessions. All the practises are designed to develop and stretch the muscles used during surfing.

It is blissful doing yoga to the sound of the ocean. The view from the yoga deck is beautiful. There is often a wonderfully soft breeze caressing your muscles and aiding your breath work. Although on a few occasions I did find my mindfulness challenged by the mesmerising birds soaring past.

Free Spirit Hostel review: Conclusion

To conclude this Free Spirit Hostel review I would say my experience with them was priceless. Although just to sweeten the deal you’ll find they have one of the cheapest beginner surfing holidays in Ecuador. But what they offer is so much more than value for money.

Patrick and Cara on Free Spirit Hostel swing at sunset

The combination of surfing and yoga is very special. There is nothing more joyous than playing in the ocean, stretching your body, letting go and eating healthily. I have been to and enjoyed other surf camps but at the Free Spirit Hostel in Ecuador I found a deeper level of personal calm.

Surfing and yoga involve a lot of balance and the Free Spirit Hostel has got it just right. From the fun friendly social atmosphere, to the great location and waves. For any surf and yoga holidays in Ecuador I wholeheartedly recommend a stay here. I was really sad to leave and already dream about returning some day.

I hope you found this Free Spirit Hostel review useful. If you want to book a Puerto Engabao surf and yoga holiday in Ecuador check out their website: www.thefreespirithostel.com

 
Ecuador, Puerto Engabao, South America
Multi Activity, Surfing, Yoga
Advanced, beach breaks, Beginner, Intermediate, Point Break, Surf Camp
Travel Articles
 

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