Manta City

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Compared to the hippy haven of Montañita, or peaceful unpopulated beach coasts and coves further north, Manta is only better than average — that is, unless your idea of a good beach is an overabundance of restaurants and bars backed by skyscraper-like hotels and holiday homes.

Manta is divided almost in half by the Río Manta, with the up-market Playa Murciélago to the west and considerably less swanky Playa Tarqui to the east. Running along the coast, and connecting both beaches is the Malecón, Manta’s main drag. In general, hotels to the west are more expensive (and the neighborhoods quieter and safer), but that’s not to say you can’t find good value, budget-friendly places. The beaches here are OK, but you’ll have to share your seaside view with the cranes and hundreds of port boats moored offshore; Manta is an extremely important port in Ecuador and is the second largest port after Guayaquil.

Overlook the eyesore that is maritime Manta, however, and you’ll see a vibrant, pulsing city packed with trendy restaurants, bars and upscale hotels. While it’s not the most spectacular place to stay, Manta is not without its own unique charms. Spend a day chilling on the beach, then take a stroll along Malecón Escénico, the place to grab a cool beer or tropical drink and take in a meal and a sunset at one of the popular seaside-seafood restaurants. History buffs can spend a few hours poking around the Museo del Banco Central, home to an excellent collection of archaeological pieces, remnants of seven different civilizations that inhabited the coast from 3500 BC to 1530 AD. Market lovers can meander to the city center, where there are a couple of fruit and vegetable markets. During the day, Tarqui is an interesting place to wander, but you’d be wise to catch a taxi back to your hotel as this is not a safe area at night.

Neighborhoods in Manta City: La Ensenadita,

 

Other places nearby Manta City: Crucita, Bahía de Caráquez , Santa Marianita, Canoa, Jama and Pedernales.

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Pacific Ocean, Ecuador
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