Located on the central coast of Ecuador, Manta is a bustling city home to the largest seaport in the country. It was here that Charles Marie de La Condamine arrived in 1735 to map the location of the equator. Manta thrives on the back of its tuna fishing industry while tourists flock to its Pacific beaches and cultural museums.
Things to do in Manta
Delve into the history of Manta at the Central Bank Museum, which exhibits pre-Columbian artefacts and relics from the region’s indigenous peoples. At the Cancebí Museum, you’ll find objects and life-size mannequins related to agricultural life in Manta. Overlooking the sands of La Poza, the museum occupies a former market building that dates back to 1918.
Manta is home to one of the best kitesurfing spots in South America, Playa Santa Marianita, where you’ll find several schools to book lessons and rent gear. If you prefer to surf, head to Playa San Lorenzo, which offers a consistent break that is ideal for beginner and intermediate board riders. Fringing the coastline is the Malecon Escenico, an oceanfront walkway lined with colourful huts now occupied by bars and restaurants.
One of Manta’s claims to fame is its exceptional marlin fishing, with one of the world’s biggest blue marlins caught here in 1985. Custom fishing charters are the best way to lure in marlin, wahoo, grouper and swordfish. June through to December is the best time for bites, although bottom fishing trips are available throughout the year.
Getting around Manta
Eloy Alfaro International Airport is around 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre and has regular flights to Quito. By road, the Ecuadorian capital is around seven hours away. Long-distance buses connect to Manta and a network of public buses travels throughout the city.