Manta is a coastal town with around 200,000 Ecuadorian souls. Its main ocupation the last 3000 years has been fishing and trading. When the first conquistadors sailed to Peru they met a small merchant fleet of Manta on their way to Mexico. Later it also has been harbour operations and some tourism.
Since most of the foreign tourists are mainly interested in Quito and the highlands, there are the ecuadorians themselves who are even enjoying the beaches of Manta. But if you got 14 days in Ecuador and want a walk on the beach there are direct flight connections from Quito to Manta.
There are plenty of hotels in the town. You only have to choose the price and locality. It is recommended to shut down near the playa Murcielago. The other part of the city, playa de Tarqui is considered to be insecure. A hotel we have been to and can recommend is Vistadelmar with, as the name says, a sea view. The price for a double room is from 85 dollars. There are swimming pool and a short distance to the beach. If you move to hotels farther into the city, you can still get a good room for $ 50.
You go to Manta for beach and sun, and the sun season is from December to April. The shoreline is several kilometers, but populated only at selected locations. The use of a beach chair and umbrella costs around 3 dollars. There are also vendors that provide wet and dry. The Pacific water is comfortable, but the waves a little bit high. It is a popular spot for surfers.
You also go to the Manta to try the seafood. It Manta kitchen is well reputed. Small restaurants elsewhere in Ecuador often market themselves with the Manta name. There is a small promenade along the beach filled with restaurants. Take your lunch here. They are closing at sundawn. (It is not the finest ones who take Visa and Mastercard which got the best food).
Besides enjoying the beach life, tourists can get up early in the morning and take a trip to the fishing harbor and watch the boats coming in. There is also a small museum with an exhibition of archaeological finds from early Manta cultures. Entrance is free, but you hace to leave your passport at the front desk.
When it comes to shopping, there are some local crafts, jewelry and figurines. performed in tagua to buy. And of course the Panama hat. The cradle of the strew hat is namely in this neighborhood, in Montecristi. It’s not too far away for an afternoon trip. You do not leave Ecuador without a Panama Hat and of course buying while in Manta