Mompiche - Ecuador's Hidden Beach Paradise

Friday, 20 July 2018

The two hour windy journey from Esmeraldas to Mompiche took us deep into the jungle before reemerging back along the ocean front. It had been a blissful couple of weeks travelling north up the pacific coastline from Peru to northern Ecuador and Mompiche would be our final stop before heading back inland towards Quito. So far, we'd experienced the more lively towns of Mancora and Montanita as well as Puerto Lopez and Canoa which were both a lot quieter but both lacked a certain charm we'd been searching for. The small fishing village of Mompiche ticked that box for us. It was quiet but still had an atmosphere in the evenings and it felt like a place for the locals as much as for the tourists. This is something we're begun to feel is really important. All of the best experiences that we've had on this trip so far have been embracing local life and getting involved with the local community. It can therefore be a real shame when you arrive somewhere and you get the vibe that everything has been completely set up for the tourists and the locals are hiding away in the background. Well, Mompiche wasn't like that at all and although it was naturally a tourist spot for its beautiful beach and great surf, locals were still happily going about their daily lives. 
A lot of people tended to either give Ecuador a miss entirely and get a flight between Columbia and Peru, or only allocate a week or so for the country. This meant that if they did come to Ecuador they would be less likely to make their way out to the coast and would probably travel the more well-trodden route along the centre of the country. This, in our opinion, is a HUGE mistake, as Ecuador's beaches are beautiful and many would say some of the best on the continent. Anyway, if you are short of time, then we'd recommend going to Quito, Mindo and Mompiche along the north western side of the country as they are all relatively close together and make it easier for onward travel towards Columbia if you're heading in that direction.

Back to Mompiche and here's the lowdown on what you need to know...

The Beach

The Beach in Mompiche is actually really nice. The sand isn't perfect and golden but there really aren't a lot of people around and it hasn't been spoilt at all. If you walk to the end of the beach and past the big rocks you'll get onto another stretch of sand which is really quiet and great if you want to go in the water and leave your stuff in the sand without being concerned someone will run off with it.

Just be sure to check the tide before you make big sunbathing plans, at high tide there really isn't a lot of space!

What to do

We found ourselves more than happy to simply lie on the beach and watch the hours pass by but if this isn't you then don't worry - there is plenty to keep you occupied in the area! Playa Negra (black beach) is about a 40 minute walk from Mompiche's beach. Head down the dirt track road from the South end of the main beach and keep walking until you reach a swinging gate. Follow the path down and you'll reach a secludid strip of soft dark sand. Again, check the tide before you head off! Portete beach is a little further (about an hour by foot or 15 minutes drive) but if you've got the time it sounds like its worth the walk. Lined with plam trees, this beach looks like a perfect piece of paradise that is certainly worth checking out.

Where to eat

To be honest the food here isn't going to blow you away, although you can get lots of fresh fish in just about every restaurant/cafe. Apart from the usual cheap and cheerful lunchtime deal places, we'd also recommend La Chocolata Cafe which serves up just about anything chocolaty plus a few other things, as well as La Facha (where we stayed) for slightly more expensive but very tasty snacks and meals.

Where we stayed

We choose La Facha Hostal which did the job just fine. Location isn't so important in Mompiche as the village is so small but when you're looking make sure to check out whether the room has a fan s it gets very hot and nights would be uncomfortable without one.

Thanks for reading!

Will & Melissa 

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