Montanita in Ecuador is a very small town not far from Guayaquil. It is most popular among surfers and party goers – mostly Americans and Europeans. It became famous in the 1960s as a backpacker paradise and its star has been rising ever since.
We left Quito, the capital of Ecuador, in the morning to have a head-start on the traffic. Pancho wanted to drive all day so we could sleep in Peru that night. On the way back just before crossing back into Peru we stopped at a place called Montanita Beach, which was Pancho’s favourite.
Stranded in the Montanita Sand
On the way back it was only the two of us and Pancho was fed up with driving so we stopped to sleep on the beach. Unfortunately the car got stuck in the sand! The sand was super soft and Pancho wanted to show off his driving skills but then we got caught by a sand dune.
Luckily we managed to find a guy with a spade and dug ourselves out! By then we were both so exhausted that we just passed out on the beach. When I finally woke up the sun was slowly disappearing behind the horizon. But what happened next has stayed with me ever since – it was like out of a James Bond movie. Just as I turned around, a couple of beautiful women came riding past on horseback in the sand! I will never forget it – it really was like out of a movie! The women then rode on into the sunset – Pancho then woke up and we went to stay for the night in Playas again as we were so delayed. The best part of the road trip was that we had no schedule. If we got delayed somewhere nobody cared as we had no appointments.
On the way down we didn’t stop in as many places as Pancho just wanted to get back home. I didn’t argue as I was also getting slightly tired of the non-stop going. By the time we got past Lima we were both becoming sick and tired of eating biscuits. It was then that Pancho told me about a famous olive grove which the original conquistadors planted.
The Best Olives In The World
Legend has it that the Spanish imported the first olive trees to Peru in the 16th century. What’s more, the Pisco Valley still produces olives from that tree! Obviously I won’t be able to verify this but the bread, cheese and olives were all home-made right there. I can truly say I’d never had a better dinner than that. I still, after all these years, cannot forget the taste of the olives and the soft cheese melting in my mouth. The bread was purely the best I had in a long time and with a little salt and cheese it tasted even better.
Pancho decided to drive all night and the next day as well. He stopped to sleep once in a while but generally we were just doing it solid.
At one of those stops I wondered off a little bit into the desert and saw some really scary vulture-like birds. As I was walking towards the sea these guys kept flying closer and closer to me so I panicked and ran back to the car instead! I was scared they would eat me right there!
We got back to Arica late at night – it felt like coming home honestly! Entering Chile was really like going to Switzerland in comparison to Peru and Ecuador. I suddenly noticed how much cleaner the streets were in comparison and there was public lighting everywhere!
It took more than 3 weeks to complete the trip and it cost me about $350 only. I thoroughly enjoyed it and saw a lot of things I would never have seen otherwise so I will be grateful to Pancho forever! Read the first article of this series to find out about the itinerary and the planning of the journey.
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