Cruise ships dock close to the center of Manta. The harbor is just full of tuna fishing vessels mostly anchored a little way out.
A new cruise terminal has been completed in October 2018.
Take the free shuttle (15 minutes) into town from the pier. It drops you of right in front of a pretty good shopping area Manta at Plaza Civica.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
“Tuna Capital of the World.” Manta brings in more tuna, pound for pound, than any other port in the world, and you can see it everywhere along the shore. Next to the ship are huge tuna boats.
Manta is a major commercial and holiday resort center and is the
second major Port of the country behind Guayaquil.
The evenings see a hive of activity of partying people, loud music and meandering cars that form around the nearby side streets and main frontage of the Malecón that arcs around the bay. Bathed in constant fresh winds the Malecón is always a pleasant area to walk in the evening and most refreshing in the night breezes.
Since 1999 Manta has been used as a military location for U.S. Air forces in unison with Ecuador's in strategic warfare against Colombian drug traffic cartels through surveillance flights as well as being used as a geographical look out point for the U.S.A. for any war crafts heading north from the Middle East and Asia.
One famous episode in Manta history occurred when a Boeing 707 carrying cargo crashed into the town's wooden church in 1996 although it was reported that amazingly the statue of the virgin remained intact.
A bridge on the eastern side of Rio Manta connects Manta with Tarqui which is the popular beach over the weekends. There is one museum of interest, Banco Central museum (Avenida 8 and Calle 7) at the back of the Bus terminal which displays ceramics from the Huancavilca-Manteño culture. During weekends locals flock to the main and recently refurbished Playa Murciélago area of the Malecón. The seafood here is excellent as well as the music, beach aerobics, parties and general night life ambiance. On your way out of town you'll also find a new shopping mall called Paseo Shopping center (on Avenida 4 de Noviembre).
Cabs are a very popular way to move around in big cities. In a general way, the service is good, cars are new and drivers are pleased to help tourists. The cost depends on the taximeter, but an average ride will be between USD 1.50 to USD 2. At night will be hard to find a taxi driver using the taximeter, even though it's illegal, but they would not charge more than USD 2 to USD 3. If you come from or go to the airport, they will charge some extra money. (Between USD 3 to USD 5).
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
Taxi to Montecristi and return. 15 minutes from Manta. visit this quaint small town of Montecristi, which is the birthplace of the Panama hat. Craft market in central square has lots of Panama hats along and wicker work.
In the middle of town there is a market featuring Panama hats, paintings, clothing, and silver jewelry.
Manta's main beach, Murcielago, has a modern board walk with a variety of restaurants offering local culinary specialties and the region's most delicious drinks.
There are hundreds of "coffee-nets" in the commercial and touristic areas that offer net2phone, email, internet and fax services at very reasonable prices.
Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm. Many occupy the family home and, outside the biggest cities, open every day for as long as there is someone to staff it.
1 Jan New Year's Day.
12 Feb Amazon and Galapagos Day.
27 Feb Civicism and National Unity Day.
1 May Labour Day.
24 May Battle of Pichincha.
10 Aug Independence Day.
9 Oct Guayaquil Independence Day.
2 Nov All Souls' Day.
3 Nov Cuenca Independence Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.
31 Dec New Year's Eve.
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