June 25, 2016
Our day trip to Montañita started early since it’s a an hour (or two) drive from Puerto Cayo. The sky was barely out when we started walking out of the house to the road where we hoped we could hitch a ride.
At 7:20am a travelling couple stopped and picked us up. Guess where they were going? Montañita! Lucky us.
The guy behind the wheel drove a bit too fast that we arrived in Montañita at 8:20. Despite it being too early, the place was already buzzing. Though not too many people out yet, guess they still have hangover from last night?
This dog does not look hung over or does he? :))
We walked around the area, getting ourselves acquainted with the streets and alleys in Montañita. The waves were crashing wildly that morning but that didn’t stop the tourists from taking their photos, soaking their feet, or having their morning run along the shore.
Not too long after we went looking for the perfect breakfast. I’m telling you, there were too many options ranging from the simple ones to the unconventional ones. We decided we didn’t want a regular breakfast and so scoured the area for a different experience. When I saw this mobile vendor I knew we had a winner. Fish for breakfast? Why not.
Encebollado is a local Ecuadorian dish of fish soup mixed with cassava, onions, coriander, and other spices. Some people put catsup or, and this is quite odd but really tasty, crushed banana chips on top. Apparently, it is considered as Ecuador’s national dish. I wished this one though had more cassava on it.
After breakfast, we walked to the eastern part of the beach looking for a nice spot. Probably best to give you a few important details about Montañita. Montañita was a sleepy little town stumbled upon by a hippie community who fell in love with the place, pitched some tents, and never left. Today, it is famous as a surf and party town. Emphasis on party lol.
Montañita hosts international surfing competition in February with tourists flocking from all parts of the world. I heard waves here are quite challenging, definitely not for beginners. When we were here, lifeguards were so busy blowing their whistles to stubborn swimmers. There was a strong undercurrent that day so everyone was not allowed to swim far which bummed me out (and I guess half of the people that were also there) but safety first always.
I love the stalls that lined up the streets of Montañita. Basically they have two popular streets, one that sell every imaginable and available liquor in Ecuador, and the other, which is our favourite, sell crepes and fruit juices of every combination you can imagine. It’s crazy. I could easily lose money in this street in just a day so good thing we were just there for one day.
Tony Bourdain tried and ate the ceviche WITH catsup in Montañita so we did that too. Many carts can be found along the beach selling the same thing: ricos ceviches. For $5 a bowl it was a bit too much for us (That’s PhP250!) and tbh, I was a bit cynical about it being the best ceviche but after emptying our bowl, we were convinced. The quality of freshness was just amazing. It had shrimps, black clams (locally called concha), fish, squid, onions, tomatoes, and lime. Also, we added crushed banana chips on top. Even better!
It was the best ceviche we’ve ever had in South America.
I didn’t add catsup cos I really find it weird but JC tried it like his idol, Tony Bourdain, did. He said it worked. Fresh seafood and catsup was just not for me.
After a sumptuous ceviche, we continued walking along the beach and found this man selling chuzos or meat-on-a-stick/skewers. We couldn’t resist so we bought one. It has chicken, salchicha, platano (very sweet mmm!), bell pepper, and a potato.
We left Montañita at around 3pm to see if we could hitchhike back to Puerto Cayo which proved to be rather difficult. We only made it to the next two towns, Olon and San Jose, before we gave up and took the bus back to Puerto Cayo. But still, all in all, a belly satisfying day.