Posted by: Jena Davison | November 7, 2011

Mompiche, Ecuador: Surf, Sun and Ceviche

There is something truly fresco about seeing a native fisherman drag his fresh catch into the kitchen of the restaurant you are about to order ceviche from. Talk about eating local.

Lobsters Fresh Off the Boat!

But that is the way of life in Mompiche, a lazy fishing village in the province of Esmeraldas, home to the country’s Afro-Ecuadorian culture. Mompiche has a distinctly more jungle-y feel, with big leafy trees intermingling with palms and brightly colored tropical flowers. In fact, it is located within the biologically diverse Chocó tropical forest, which extends along the coast from Panama to Peru, as the owner of a local restaurant called Chocó kindly told us.

Mompiche

Mompiche is a place where time is measured more by the day’s surfing tides than by the clock, a place where being barefoot in the norm and a place where hammocks may outnumber ordinary chairs. Several sandy paths weave through town, where thatched-roof bamboo huts serve as basic hostels, restaurants or makeshift surfing schools. A few scattered stands offer freshly cut coconuts, batidos (milkshakes) made with tropical fruits in any combination and cervezas. The most popular stand is called El Negrito, where an older man blends up the most delicious batidos and cocktails, topping them with fresh slices of fruit, shredded coconut and condensed milk, yum! Try coconut mixed with mango, watermelon, passionfruit or pineapple!

Mompiche Pueblo

Batido de Coco (Coconut Milkshake)

Ecuadorian coastal food is delicious, and the food in Esmeraldas has its own flair. Esmeraldas is known for its encocado, or a typical dish made with seafood and coconut milk, usually accompanied by patacones, or fried plantains, and a mound of white rice. Ceviche is also popular, but it is sweeter than the ceviche on other parts of the coast. A typical breakfast consists of a bolon, or a fried ball of mashed plantains filled with cheese, and black coffee.

Ceviche de Pescado

Patacones (Fried Plantains)

Nighttime is pretty chill in Mompiche. One of the best places we found was a restaurant-bar/hostel called La Facha, which serves up some pretty awesome brick-oven pizza and which plays an eclectic selection of world music. If in doubt, though, head to any of the beachfront stands for a cocktail or two. You may even stumble upon a local bonfire on the beach, if you’re lucky.

Cervezas at La Facha

Overall, Mompiche is a relaxing place to spend a few nights and to decompress. Mompiche is not luxurious, however; most of the hostels are poorly built with local materials and only have cold water. If you want a more upscale experience, head to Hotel Royal Decameron, an all-inclusive resort in nearby El Portete, which is a gorgeous, secluded beach. From Mompiche, it is possible to walk (1 hour) or hire a car ($5 each way) to take you to El Portete. Other popular activities include taking a day trip to Isla Júniper, renting canoes to explore the area’s mangrove, and, of course, surfing.

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Responses

  1. Hi, We are wanting to finish our 3 week trip in Ecuador on the coast. Are there cheap places to stay in Mompiche? Also, I have heard jelly fish are a problem. Is this the case? Can one swim or snorkle there?

    Thank you,
    Carol

  2. Hi Carol,

    Mompiche is great! It is a lovely, laid-back beach town. There are lots of cheap places to stay there, though they are very basic (most with only cold-water showers). You can easily find a place for around $10-30 per night. A well-known, social hostel is called Hosteria Gabeal. The place I mentioned getting drinks at, La Facha, is a newer place and doubles as a hostel. It may be loud since it is also a bar, but the place itself is very cool. If you are looking for something a little nicer and more secluded, but not as convenient (it is a few kilometers out of town), there is a great place called Hotel Las Pigualas, which starts at $45 for a two-person cabin.

    I haven’t heard anything about the jelly fish there. I swam in the water when I was in Mompiche a few months back and had no problems. Sorry, I don’t have any more info on this, but I think it is OK to go swimming and snorkeling.

    Hope this helps,
    Jena


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