If you’ve read any of our other blogs you’ll know we tend to veer away from the easy to get to and head for the difficult to find places with no information on how to get there. Well, Mompiche was no exception.
After our stint of volunteering in The Galapagos we needed a well earned beach break. One problem though; we hate beach resorts! We’d tried Mancora in Peru but were annoyed by the busy bars with blaring music on the beach and the constant stream of ‘looky looky’ guys. What we really wanted was a quiet place with decent accommodation far enough away from civilsation to deter the party animals……hmmm.
MINDO TO PEDERNALES
Ecuador was hit by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake back in April 2016 with Pedernales being one of the worst hit areas. Hardly anything’s been written about this area and the surrounding coastal region since then and it’s still struggling to recover. We attempted to do some research before making our way there but were saddened to find that most hostels and bus stations tragically no longer exist.
Heading out of Mindo with a bunch of differing versions of bus timetables we caught an 11am bus to Santo Domingo for $5. As always making sure the bus driver knew where we wanted to go so he could throw us off at the appropriate time. Being the only gringos on the coach made it easy for the drivers to remember us.
Once at Santo Domingo bus station the driver actually walked us to the bus for Pedernales, the next guy was a bit intense and wouldn’t let me pee before getting on. Buses in Ecuador love to leave on time or even a tad early before driving like the clappers and making you feel like you’re on a roller coaster.
PEDERNALES TO MOMPICHE
Arriving at Pedernales was quite humbling, not having realised the extent of the damage done here. Any hostels listed on google maps were gone, just a tidied up pile of rubble in their place. That said, the locals remain optimistic and there was a good vibe in town, especially around the bamboo bars and restaurants that lined the beach front.
After a long search for accommodation we found a basic hotel called ‘Mr Robert’ which surprisingly had a swimming pool and jacuzzi. The next day an attempt to find anything in the tiny town was hindered by either the locals lack of knowledge about their home or a game they like to play called ‘make the gringos walk round in circles’. We eventually found the cash machine and a bus for Chamanga which leaves every half hour or so.
Changing buses an hour later for Mompiche was hilarious, the bus driver screeched to a stop outside Chamanga and within twenty seconds we were on the Mompiche bus gripping our seats as we hurtled through the lustrous jungle. The scenery along the coast is epic and reminiscent of jungles in south east Asia. Another half hour and we’d arrived at the entrance of the tiny beach resort where one pick up truck taxi was waiting. So obviously we all piled in together and for $1 each we were whisked down to the village.
Jumping out of the taxi onto the sandy road we took in the ramshackle rooftops and tiki style beach huts. Everyone was barefoot and we could hear Bob Marley signing faintly in the distance (most likely a CD and not the ghost of Bob). We loved it instantly.
Read about Mompiche here.