As you may have gathered from my previous post, I really liked Montañita and wanted to stay for a while. To save on accommodation costs, I volunteered in a hostel, and I lived and worked at Kiwi Hostel for three weeks.
Volunteering generally consists of working a few hours a day in exchange for accommodation and food. The deal of course varies from place to place, but I was required to work 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, in exchange for a bed and two meals a day.
- I had a private room, and it was great to have my own space and unpack my rucksack after several months in dormitories
- the hostel has really powerful aircon, which was a real treat in hot and humid Montañita
I therefore feel like I got a really good deal, and the hostel itself was a lovely place to live. (Check out my review here.) It is up a hill looking down over the town and the sea beyond, and I enjoyed sunsets on the roof terrace.
My work consisted of convincing people to come to the hostel. I went to the bus stop to meet the bus every hour between 7.30am and 1.30pm, and pounced on bleary-eyed tourists as they stepped off the bus! In Spanish they call it being a jaladora. It was pretty easy and I was pleased to have a job that required me to speak Spanish!
My pitch went something like: “Hi! Do you need a hostel?” Then irrespective of their reply I’d say: “At Kiwi hostel we have double bunk beds, aircon, a roof terrace…” and more often than not people would follow me to take a look, and then stayed!
Once I had filled the hostel and didn’t need to go and find tourists, I spent the mornings working in reception, answering guests’ questions and the like. It didn’t feel much like working as it was so sociable. As anyone that stays in hostels will know, guests are generally young, chatty and out-going.
I also modeled for the hostel’s promotional photos!
The volunteers alternated in cooking lunch for the staff. After lunch I was free to do as I pleased all afternoon, and I often went to the beach with some of the guests. (You can read more about what I got up to in Montañita here.)
Dinner wasn’t included, which I quite liked as it meant I could do my own thing in the evenings.
The owner tended to organise entertainment at the weekend and one Saturday afternoon I came home to loud saxaphone. The Capulis were performing on the terrace.
The setting sun behind them was an amazing backdrop and the haunting flute was a wonderful change from weeks of listening to reggaeton!
I would really recommend volunteering in a hostel to any long term backpacker! I saved so much money and had plenty of free time to enjoy Montañita.