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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Points of Interest

  • Artisan market
  • Montecristi
  • Ivory Nut Factory
  • Pacoche Wildlife Refuge
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Manta Fish Market
  • Manta Fishing Industry
  • Machalilla National Park

More about Manta, Ecuador Points of Interest

  • 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 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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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).

14 EXCURSIONS

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Montecristi & Cancebi

4 hours | Manta | M E C - 2 0 0
  • Montecristi
  • Archaeological Museum

Take in the sights of Montecristi, a quaint colonial seaport where the local bank hosts a compact museum complete with quality artifacts and colorful dioramas. Then top off your moderate half-day tour with the purchase of a stylish and authentic Panama hat hand-woven in the country of its origin.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$59.95

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Montecristi & Cancebi (Guided in German)

4 hours | Manta | M E C - 2 0 3
  • Montecristi
  • Archaeological Museum

Take in the sights of Montecristi, a quaint colonial seaport where the local bank hosts a compact museum complete with quality artifacts and colorful dioramas. Then top off your moderate half-day tour with the purchase of a stylish and authentic Panama hat hand-woven in the country of its origin.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$59.95

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Ivory Nut Factory & Montecristi

4 hours | Manta | M E C - 2 1 0
  • Montecristi
  • Ivory Nut Factory

Visit the nearby village of Montecristi, famed as the birthplace of the Panama hat - and for its fine wicker ware and craftwork. Visit a local factory and view artisans carving figurines and jewelry from taguera, an ivory-like palm nut. Enjoy free time to browse the Central Plaza for souvenirs.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$109.95

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Fish Market & Archaeological Museum

3.5 hours | Manta | M E C - 2 5 0
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Manta Fish Market

Get acquainted with Manta's colorful culture, history and traditions on this tour that's a feast for the senses. Mingle with the locals at the bustling fish market, stroll along the malecĂłn that winds along the city's oceanfront, see pre-Columbian artifacts at the Archaeological Museum and enjoy a tasting of ceviche.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$139.95

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Trails & Crafts of the Pacoche Wildlife Refuge

4 hours | Manta | M E C - 3 0 0
  • Pacoche Wildlife Refuge

Put on your walking shoes and get ready to hike. The Pacoche Wildlife Refuge is not only well known for howler monkeys, and over 250 species of birds but handicrafts. Watch artisans weave Panama hats and learn how the vegetable ivory nut is carved from carefully nurtured trees.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$139.95

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MACHALILLA NATIONAL PARK SNORKELING ADVENTURE

6.25 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 2 0
  • Machalilla National Park

Grab your snorkel gear and see what lies beneath the sparkling waters of Machalilla National Park. As you explore the wonders down under, keep your eyes open for butterfly fish, morays, manta rays, whitetip sharks and green sea turtles. A relaxing lunch adds to the day's fun and adventure.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$199.95

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Galapagos Overland Adventure - Double Occupancy Per Person

100 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 4

An incredible three-night, four-day overland tour in the uniquely diverse Galapagos Islands takes you on a superlative adventure that delves into Charles Darwin's living laboratory, an isolated home to incredibly varied vegetation and an abundance of wildlife. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and several remote islands teeming with flora and fauna.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$4599.95

Average Guest Rating

Galapagos Overland Adventure - Single Occupancy

100 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 5

An incredible three-night, four-day overland tour in the uniquely diverse Galapagos Islands takes you on a superlative adventure that delves into Charles Darwin's living laboratory, an isolated home to incredibly varied vegetation and an abundance of wildlife. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and several remote islands teeming with flora and fauna.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$4899.95

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Jewels of South America: Double Occupancy Per Person

127.5 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 2

Two of Latin America's most significant destinations, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, are yours to discover on a six-day overland tour. Explore the living laboratory of Charles Darwin at several pristine shores with diverse flora and fauna. Follow in ancient footsteps to the ruins of "the Lost City of the Incas."

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$6699.95

Average Guest Rating

Galapagos Overland Adventure - Double Occupancy Per Person

100 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 8

An incredible three-night, four-day overland tour in the uniquely diverse Galapagos Islands takes you on a superlative adventure that delves into Charles Darwin's living laboratory, an isolated home to incredibly varied vegetation and an abundance of wildlife. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and several remote islands teeming with flora and fauna.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

AUD$6799.95

Average Guest Rating

Jewels of South America: Single Occupancy Per Person

127.5 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 3

Two of Latin America's most significant destinations, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, are yours to discover on a six-day overland tour. Explore the living laboratory of Charles Darwin at several pristine shores with diverse flora and fauna. Follow in ancient footsteps to the ruins of "the Lost City of the Incas."

Read More about Jewels of South America: Single Occupancy Per Person description

Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$7099.95

Average Guest Rating

Galapagos Overland Adventure - Single Occupancy

100 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 9

An incredible three-night, four-day overland tour in the uniquely diverse Galapagos Islands takes you on a superlative adventure that delves into Charles Darwin's living laboratory, an isolated home to incredibly varied vegetation and an abundance of wildlife. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and several remote islands teeming with flora and fauna.

Read More about Galapagos Overland Adventure - Single Occupancy description

Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

AUD$7299.95

Average Guest Rating

Jewels of South America: Double Occupancy Per Person

127.5 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 6

Two of Latin America's most significant destinations, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, are yours to discover on a six-day overland tour. Explore the living laboratory of Charles Darwin at several pristine shores with diverse flora and fauna. Follow in ancient footsteps to the ruins of "the Lost City of the Incas."

Read More about Jewels of South America: Double Occupancy Per Person description

Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

AUD$9899.95

Average Guest Rating

Jewels of South America: Single Occupancy Per Person

127.5 hours | Manta | M E C - 8 4 7

Two of Latin America's most significant destinations, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, are yours to discover on a six-day overland tour. Explore the living laboratory of Charles Darwin at several pristine shores with diverse flora and fauna. Follow in ancient footsteps to the ruins of "the Lost City of the Incas."

Read More about Jewels of South America: Single Occupancy Per Person description

Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

AUD$10099.95

Average Guest Rating