Area Description

See and Do


Manta has several city beaches. West of the harbor is Manta's most famous beach: Murciélago Beach. Here you will find many small restaurants with basically the same offer: fish dishes. More to the west is Barbasquillo Beach, but this beach is so small that it can hardly be called a beach. Due to the low water quality, it is not recommended to go swimming when you visit these beaches.

East of the harbor are Tarqui Beach and Los Esteros Beach. Boats are built and maintained on the beach of Tarqui Beach. There is also a fish market here. Both beaches are not really popular because of the busy road next to them and the low water quality.

Better and more attractive beaches can be found in the Manta area:


Odor Nuisance

Manta's tuna industry causes odor nuisance in particular parts of the city. These parts are:

  • Ruta del Spondylus road on the eastern side of the city
  • Vía Puerto-Aeropuerto between the bus terminal and the ocean
  • Intersection of Via Puerto-Aeropuerto and Avenida 4 de Noviembre
  • Around Calle F3 in the eastern part of the city

To the west of the city center there is seldom odor nuisance from the tuna factories.


In pre-Columbian times, Manta was a trading post for the Mantas. Then, around the year 500, the Mayans arrived, followed by the Spaniards in the 16th century. The Spaniards officially established the city in 1565 to provide ships between Peru and Panama with supplies.

The USA Airforce started anti-narcotics operations from the airport of Manta in 1999. It accelerated the economic growth of the city. In 2019, the USA Airforce had to close its base because it was not welcome anymore.

On April 16, 2016, Manta was hit hard by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8. The quake destroyed complete areas. At least 676 people were killed. However, unlike some other places, Manta has recovered pretty well from the earthquake.

After the earthquake, new additions to Manta are the IESS hospital, Mall del Pacífico, and the cruise passenger terminal.

Manta’s most important economic activities are tourism, fishing, food processing (including tuna canning), and cargo transshipment.

Attracted by the industrial growth of Manta, many poor rural residents have moved to the city. These people populate the poor neighborhoods in the east and south of Manta.

Eating and Drinking

Manta is known for its seafood. Fish Cevichería is the top rated seafood restaurant in Manta.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Manta's nightlife is mainly concentrated on and around Avenida Flavio Reyes. Regaeton is especially popular. Rock music, on the other hand, is not popular.

La Trinchera is Manta's only theater. There are two movie theaters. In CINEXT , which is located in the Mall del Pacífico, you can every Wednesday watch a movie in English. Manta's other movie theater is Supercines, which is located in shopping center El Paseo Shopping.


The vast majority of homes in Manta are poorly constructed small houses. On the outskirts of the city are modern gated communities. On the coast west of the city center are several modern residential towers.

House prices in Manta are relatively high compared to the rest of the country. The limited supply of modern homes is the main cause. Wealthier residents mainly from Quito have investment properties in Manta.


Expats and Remote Workers

About 500 expats live in Manta. There are two Facebook groups that focus on Manta: Manta Expats Community and Manta FRIENDLY Gringo Community.



Electricity is provided by CNEL, a state-owned power supplier that also operates in many other parts of Ecuador.


Gas is supplied in gas cylinders.


Aguas de Manta is the provider of water in Manta. Most districts have running water. It's strongly recommended to not drink the water.

Money and Tax

All major banks in Ecuador have offices in Manta.

Crime and Safety


Most expats and visitors will only be exposed to petty crimes, such as pickpocketing. Nevertheless, Manta is also home to gangs related to international drug cartels. These cartels use Manta as a transport hub for the export of cocaine to North America and Europe. Since 2020 there has been a war among these gangs. This has resulted in numerous murders in Manta, including the murder of the leader of the Los Choneros gang in the Mall del Pacífico in December 2020.

Specific recommendations for Manta:

  • Avoid all poor neighborhoods of Manta (that's about 80% of the city) when it’s dark. Most robberies and murders take place in these neighborhoods.
  • Don't visit the neighborhoods of Jocay and Cuba at any time to avoid being robbed. These are the most dangerous neighborhoods of Manta. Also, be very careful in the neighborhood of Tarqui.
  • Don't visit the area of the former bus station to avoid being robbed. This is the area behind the CNEL office.
  • Don’t visit the beaches at night or during the day when there are no other people around to avoid being robbed.
  • Don’t walk alone in the streets at night to avoid being robbed.
  • If you are a woman: don’t use taxis at night if you are alone to avoid sexual assaults.
  • The use of date rape drugs has been reported, so watch your drinks in clubs and bars.
  • The boulevard (Avenida Malecón) next to the city center is known for prostitution at night. Beware of people who use alcohol and drugs in this area.

The chance of something bad happening to you is always there, but is greatly reduced if you stick to these recommendations and if you live in one of the better neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are located west of the city center. There are also several safe gated communities located on the ring road along the city.

Medical Care


Manta has a public hospital, an IESS hospital and several small private hospitals.

Manta's IESS hospital is a general hospital that was built after the earthquake of 2016. For more specialized care, patients are usually sent to the IESS hospital in Portoviejo, which is a hospital with many specializations.

In Portoviejo is also a specialized hospital for the treatment of cancer (SOLCA).

How to travel to Manta

Manta has a modern bus terminal (Manta Bus Terminal) with connections to many Ecuadorian cities and a small but modern airport with flights to Quito.There are currently no international flights to Manta Airport, but there are rumors (but only rumors) that Copa Airlines will start flights between Panama City and Manta in the future.

From Quito

From Quito you can take an airplane or bus to Manta. See How to travel from Quito to Manta for an explanation of the options.

Sports and Leisure


Montecristi Golf Resort & Villas (16 km/25 min by car from Manta's city center) has a modern, public golf course.


Manta has no public swimming pools.

Other activities

For other activities see Directory / Sports & Leisure.


Manta is part of the Municipality of Manta.

Manta: Pros, Cons and Alternatives