Manta, Ecuador

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Main port photo for Manta, Ecuador

The breezy, seaside city of Manta is the second largest port in Ecuador and possesses one of the world's most varied terrains. To the west of Manta lie the Galapagos Islands. To the east rises the great rampart of the Andes. The Mantas were known for their traditional balsa rafts in the coastal waters and their ceramics and pottery. A huge tuna statue greets you on its shores, a whimsical nod to the tuna capital of the world. Fresh seafood is always on the menu, and a stroll along the promenade lets you take in the beach scene. The bustling center of town, an easy walk from port, displays a lively marketplace selling Panama hats, silver jewelry and apparel. There is lush green parkland; the nearby colonial town of Montecristi, the center of the Panama hat industry; and the Pacoche Wildlife Refuge, home to indigenous flora and fauna and cheeky howler monkeys. Explore the rich culture, heritage and people of Manta during scenic adventures that take in the Archaeological Museum, which highlights a small, well-curated collection of ceramics of the Manteño-Huancavilca culture that flourished here between 800 and 1550 A.D. Whether you explore its past or its vibrant city of today, a day in Manta is a rich and colorful experience.

Note: Manta offers little in the way of tourist infrastructure. Transportation and tour guides are imported to the area. Despite the sometimes hot and humid conditions there is no guarantee of air-conditioned vehicles.

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  • Artisan market Artisan market

    Artisans from nearby towns bring their handicrafts to Manta's central Plaza de Civica to the delight of locals and tourists. Peruse the colorful wares of the many different vendors displaying their artisanal goods.

  • Montecristi Montecristi

    Montecristi is famous as the birthplace of Panama hats. Nestled at the foot of a large hill of the same name, this charming little town draws visitors to its factories that craft the stylish chapeau.

  • Ivory Nut Factory Ivory Nut Factory

    Marvel at the process the tagua nut goes through to become a button, jewelry or an intricately carved souvenir. See how the nut is harvested, dried and hand-crafted and watch artisans transform it into figurines

  • Pacoche Wildlife Refuge Pacoche Wildlife Refuge

    Stretching out over 27 acres within the Pacoche Forest, the reserve is home to a large variety of indigenous flora and fauna, including howler monkeys, hummingbirds, orchids and ornamental plants.

  • Archaeological Museum Archaeological Museum

    Glimpse the region's storied past in this small, well-curated museum of pre-Columbian artifacts. It showcases ceramics of the Manteño-Huancavilca culture that thrived here from 800 to 1550 A.D. as well as other local treasures.

  • Manta Fish Market Manta Fish Market

    Just steps from the beach, this popular open-air marketplace displays tables laden with the city's most famous export, tuna, as well as countless other varieties served up by friendly vendors.

  • Manta Fishing Industry Manta Fishing Industry

    Manta is Ecuador's largest seaport with a proud fishing industry. Sculptures of fishermen and seafarers grace the shoreline, while handcrafted balsa rafts bob offshore and fish dominates the cuisine.

  • Machalilla National Park Machalilla National Park

    Stretched out over 154 square miles, Ecuador's only coastal park encompasses one of the most threatened tropical forests in the world, as well as 49,000 acres of ocean (including offshore islands).

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