|Travel Ecuador : Cities :|
Manta is a town that is rather different than some of its companions along the coast. It is extremely built up, and the seafront is lined with tall hotels and high-rise apartment buildings. Manta is a very important port town, the second most important in Ecuador. The city is in two halves, which are divided by the Manta River.
The western part of the town is more expensive for the tourist, with more in the way of luxury hotels and a nicer beach. The east is poorer and the area is poorer and overall, less safe. Views are dominated by the port.
The Malécon is a pleasant place to while away some time with a pleasant walk or by stopping at one of the nice restaurants for great seafood or a cocktail.
Manta is perhaps not as popular as other towns during the public holidays, but that said, it is definitely still better to book in advance to be sure of a place to stay. Prices rise during these times.
Manta has a number of very luxurious hotels to suit the high end traveler. These can be found on the western side of town in the Playa Murciélago area. It is possible to find budget digs in this area, but it is more challenging. Those looking for the cheaper accommodations should definitely head to the other side of town, to Tarqui in the east.
During the public holiday periods rooms can fill up more quickly than normal, as those from the highlands escape to the coast. Book in advance during these times, and expect to pay a little more than usual.
The best place for great seafood in Manta is along the seafront, where you will find a large number of restaurants keen to assist you with your seafood craving. The Malécon offers a good array of seafood restaurants. The food does not vary much from one place to the next, and nor do the prices.
Because Manta is a port town, it is possible to find a bit more food variety here than in other parts of the coast. You can even find options such as Mexican, Spanish and interesting barbeque eateries.
As a port town, Manta is more cosmopolitan than some of the other, smaller places along the coast. As such, it is possible to find late bars and places to go to drink cocktails and dance.
Manta is something of a transportation hub on Ecuador’s coast. From here, buses head up the coast towards Canoa, and down, towards Puerto López and Montañita. It also has good connections with Santo Domingo, another coastal hub.
Those arriving from Quito can choose to take a bus, with a journey time of around nine hours, or they can fly direct. This option is more costly, but significantly cheaper and offers a good alternative for those wanting to get to places relatively close to Manta more quickly.
Manta is a busy port town and attracts the kinds of crime that you might expect from such a bustling, important city. As with all coastal towns, don’t leave your drinks unattended in bars and never accept drinks from people that you do not know.