Our first stop along “La Ruta del Sol”, Ecuador’s own highway 1, is the quiet fishing village of Mompiche. Normally, when you hear the word fishing town in a guidebook, it’s usually not that relaxed fishing village you thought it would be once you get there.
Mompiche, on the other hand, still has it’s local charm and unlike many other “once quiet fishing villages” it hasn’t turned itself into another Ibiza just yet.
When we arrived to Mompiche after having travelled through Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia we soon realised this was the place we had been looking for our whole trip. We ended up staying for over a week.
If you enjoy hanging out at a beautiful beach, chilling with a good book in a hammock, catching a couple of waves and enjoying freshly caught seafood, then Mompiche just might be a dream come true.
In this post we’ll give you a list of some useful things we’d wished we’d known before coming to Mompiche.
1. Take out cash or you might end up moneyless
Mompiche is a small town, so small you can walk from one end to the other in five minutes. It might not come as a surprise the fact there’s no ATM:s in town. The closest one is in Esmeraldas, two hours away. We’d recommend to take out more cash than you think you will need during your stay. If you are going south afterwards to any of the other beach towns along Ruta del Sol there’s a good chance you won’t be able to find any ATM:s close by either.
2. A lot of the accommodation is not listed online
There are a lot of good and cheap accommodation in town that’s not listed online. We went without having booked anything in advance which turned out being a good decision. Since we planned to stay for a week we went around asking the different places for a special one-week-deal. This didn’t take a long time as the town is tiny and most of the places are located close to each other.
We found a nice little place called “Cabañas Ecológicas Momp-Beach” for a good price. We got our own private room with ocean view, private bathroom and even our own little floor with a couple of hammocks. The place also had a well equipped kitchen and the owner was nice and helpful.
The point is that it’s very possible to find good accommodation without breaking your wallet. Just go around checking out the different places until you find something in your taste.
3. It’s not a place for the restless
Except for hanging out at the beach, catch a few waves and soak up the relaxing vibe Mompiche has to offer there’s not a lot more to do in the town itself. If you are looking for nightlife you will most likely be disappointed. Having said that, there are a couple of things to do just outside of town; for example, you can visit the beautiful island of Isla Portete or a stunning black-sanded beach called Playa Negra.
For us though, Mompiche turned out to be the perfect place to catch a breath from a few days of intense travelling. It was definitely one of our favourite places of the trip so far. What we really liked was the laid-back vibe of the town, the food and the beautiful beach. In Mompiche it’s easy to really appreciate the simple things in life.
4. The surfing is great
Whether or not you’re a beginner or advanced surfer, Mompiche probably has something for you. If the conditions are right you will have a world class tubing left-hander. On the other hand, if the swell is small, it’s going to be ideal for beginners. I had never seen such perfect waves for beginners before coming to Mompiche. As a beginner you want a mellow, forgiving and predictable wave that’s not going to crush you when you fall. That was exactly how the waves were the entire week we stayed there.
There’s a bunch of places renting boards which all charge about $10/day. There’s also a descent beach-break just south of town, crossing the small river mouth. The waves tend to close out, but offer some fun rides. If the swell is small this is a good option.
5. Mompiche or Mosquiche?
You just can’t escape the mosquitos in Mompiche. The locals call it “Mosquiche” for a reason. It might be a good idea to bring some repellent as the local pharmacies are quite limited.
6. Know where to look for great food
Even though Mompiche is a small town, there is some good food to be found with vegetarian/vegan options available. If you’ve been travelling through South America for a while you may feel the temptation to have something that doesn’t include rice or fried food. Mompiche is a good option. Most of the international restaurants here have meals for around $5-6. Our favourite was a place called “La Chocolata” which we totally recommend.
We tried a couple of local restaurants as well, the one we liked most was a small place just next door to La Chocolata. We noticed that the bigger and more established local restaurants didn’t have the same quality and service as the smaller ones.
The best place to buy fruit and vegetables is from the trucks that pass by the town daily. Not only is it fresher than in the small supermarkets, it’s also cheaper.
7. Mompiche is a peanut butter paradise
If you’re a peanut butter fan like me, then you will love Mompiche. I’ve been trying to find peanut butter without sugar and a long ingredient list without success for the entire trip. To my surprise, I finally found it in Mompiche of all places. The small local mini mercados sell home-made natural peanut butter that doesn’t even contain sugar or any other added ingredients.
We hope you have enjoyed this list and that you will love Mompiche just like we did. We would love to hear feedback from you. What type of content you want more of, what you have enjoyed and what you didn’t like. Anything that comes to mind really is highly appreciated. Thanks for reading!