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City of Manta
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Manta is the second largest coastal city in Ecuador after Guayaquil, and it has the second largest port in the nation. It is an industrial port involved in oil distribution and fisheries. Manta is a major hub for large-scale tuna fishing. In fact it is thought to have the largest fishing fleet in South America, and is the self proclaimed Tuna Capital of the world. Official figures on worldwide Tuna exports support the claim. Certainly Manta is in the top 10 every year, if not #1.
Manta has a long history dating back to pre-Colombian times. In recent years, the city has has grown quite rapidly to a population of approximately 250,000 people, and it has become a little disorganized as a result. The projections are that it will likely double in population over the next 20 years.
There are several beach areas in Manta of varying size and significance. Facing north and to the west of the port are two long beaches: Barbasquillo and El Murcielego the latter being the larger and deeper of the two. East of the port there are three more beachy areas: La Poza is a shallow sand bar area which was formerly a fishing harbor; Tarqui, which is an interesting place with a tiny park, restaurants and fish markets. Los Esteros which is dominated by boat builders. Los Esteros is pretty interesting actually. You can see decent sized fishing boats being constructed in wood, the old fashioned way.
Compared with most sleepy coastal towns, Manta has quite an active nightlife with bars and discos. There are even a couple of casinos at the high-end hotels. Several of large US hotel chains have a presence here, as does the upmarket Ecuadorean Del Oro hotel chain. Accommodation is plentiful. Out of season you are spoiled for choice and can get some great deals in high-end hotels. In high-season, you’ll need to shop around.
The port is capable of handling large cruise ships, and they occasionally stop here for the day. Although Manta has quite a lot to offer, it is nonetheless an industrial port town, and is certainly not the most attractive place. Consequently is is not recommended as a vacation destination, but rather as a day trip town, while travelling up or down the coast to somewhere more beautiful.
Manta has a small international airport serving passengers to major cities such as Quito, Guayaquil and the Galapagos as well as other countries in South America. It is located about 10km out of town about 20 mins by taxi, and will cost $3-5 from the cruise port or downtown.
Beach activities include:
|Type of beach||Golden sand|
|Length of beach||2.5 mi / 4 km|
|Restaurants and Cafes||Many on Malecón and Beach|
|Distance to Salinas||122 mi / 196 km|
|Distance to Guayaquil||124 mi / 200 km|
|Distance to Manta||N/A|
|Distance to Quito||237 mi / 382 km|
Sailing: Manta has a good yacht club which is a popular stop for sailors crossing over to the Galapagos and coming south from Panama and Colombia. If you’d like to go sailing, you can charter a yacht for the day with a skipper.
Sport Fishing: You can charter a sport fishing boat and go out and catch Marlin, Tuna and a wide variety of big game.
Tuna fishing: It is unlikely you’ll come across another place where you can see the trade of Tuna all around you. Go down to the beach at Tarqui and you’ll see fish markets and vehicles all over the beach, picking up the days catch from incoming small fishing boats. While in the port, the giant trawlers unload tonnes of Tuna at a time.
Whale watching: As in many other locations, from July thru September you can see whales off the coast of Manta, and you can take a boat and get amazingly close to them. Its pretty awesome and cheap, only $20-$25 per head depending on the size of your party.
Surfing: El Murcielago is a very convenient surf spot right in front of the Malecón Esenico, with safe easy parking and a quick walk across the beach. It doesn’t get much easier than that. It has lefts and rights on a beach break. Short rides, but fast and fun. Ideal conditions for fair weather surfers. Had enough come in and hang out at one of the cafes.
Climbing: At the west end of the Malecón there is a small outdoor climbing wall.
Panama Hats: The Panama hat is actually an Ecuadorean creation. And the original home of the hat is a small nearby town filled with artisans called Montecristo. You can go there and tour a hat factory. Although a lot of production has moved away from the area to places such as Cuenca, Montecristo is still a major producer and exporter, and you’ll be able to get some hats of the finest quality. Panama hats make excellent gifts and souvenirs.
Boat building: For “do it yourself” and “how it works” minded people. The boat builders on the beach at Los Esteros are a fascinating place to spend an hour or two. You’ll see various boat in different stages of construction. Very “old-school” craftsmanship.
Surf and weather by surf-forcast.com
Hotels and Hostals around the City of Manta
|Hostería San Antonio||Hosteria|
|Manta Beach Inn||Hostal|
|Hotel Oro Verde||Luxury Hotel||$100+|
|Hotel Agua Blanca||Hotel||$15-25|
|Hotel Pacifico Inn||Hotel||$15-25|
|Hostal Maria Jose||Hostal||$25-50|
|Hostal Playa Murcielago||Hostal||$25-50|
|Chavez Hotel Inn||Hotel||$25-50|
|Hotel Las Gaviotas||Hotel||$25-50|
|Hotel Las Rocas||Hotel||$25-50|
|Hostal Playa Murcielago||Hotel||$25-50|
|Costa Murcielago Goleta Hostal||Hostal||$50-100|
|Hostal Marina Real||Hostal||$50-100|
|Hotel Perla Spondylus||Hotel||$50-100|
|Hotel Cabañas Balandra||Hotel||$50-100|
|Hotel Cabañas Boutique Vistalmar||Hotel||$50-100|
|Hotel Costa del Sol||Hotel||$50-100|
|Hotel Lun Fun||Hotel||$50-100|
|Hotel Howard Johnson||Hostal||100+|
Real Estate Agents serving Manta
|BSC Real Estate||Manta|
|Ecuador Beachfront Property||Manta|
|Ecuadorean Coastal Properties||Manta|
|Manta Beach Development, Inc.||Manta|
|Manta Home Inmobiliaria||Manta|
|Oppermann & Gonzales Associados||Manta|