How to travel from Quito to Manta

Johan Klok | Last update:

In this article we describe the options to travel from Quito to Manta. In general, three options are available: bus, (rental) car and airplane.

By bus

Buses from Quito to Manta depart from Quitumbe Bus Terminal and Carcelén Bus Terminal in Quito. There are no direct buses from Quito Airport to Manta. Therefore, when you want to take a bus to Manta, you first need to travel to one of these two bus terminals in Quito.

By bus from Quitumbe Bus Terminal

Quito's largest bus terminal is Quitumbe Bus Terminal, located in the southern end of Quito. This modern and safe bus terminal has services to the east, south, and west, including Manta.

Tot get to this bus terminal you can take a taxi from Quito Airport for about $ 30. A much cheaper option ($ 2) is to take a green COSIBO bus with destination Avenida Río Coca.

Bus company Reina del Camino offers bus services between Quitumbe Bus Terminal and the bus terminal in Manta (Manta Bus Terminal). During the journey, you will see amazing landscapes, but the bus route is somewhat dangerous because of the steep hills and sharp curves in the mountains.

Reina del Camino offers various buses; regular buses, "coche cama" buses, and first-class buses.

Coche cama buses have seats that recline 160 grades. The maximum number of passengers is 25. A toilet, wifi, and snacks are available on these buses. The travel time is about 10 hours.

A first-class bus is called Bus Ejecutivo. These buses transport 42 passengers. A toilet, wifi, and snacks are also available on these buses. The main advantage of the Bus Ejecutivo is that it doesn't stop underway, making it the fastest option (about 7 hours). The Bus Ejecutivo is usually only available at night. Because of the high demand, it's recommendable to make a reservation in advance on mulitpasajes.com.

Bus company Trans Esmeraldas offers one service per day from Quitumbe Bus Terminal to Manta.

By bus from Carcelén Bus Terminal

Carcelén Bus Terminal is situated in the north of Quito and is the closest bus terminal to Quito Airport. The terminal is not as large and as modern as Quitumbe Bus Terminal. It's also somewhat less safe.

To get from Quito Airport to Carcelén Bus Terminal, you can take an OPERNORTE shuttle bus from Quito Airport. It's also possible to take a taxi to the bus terminal for about $ 25.

Trans Esmeraldas is the bus company that offers bus services from this bus terminal to Bus Terminal Manta. It operates comfortable double-decker buses on this route. The route itself is safer than the route from Quitumbe Bus Terminal, because it is less mountainous, which means fewer sharp turns and less steep slopes. The total duration of the bus trip is about 9 to 11 hours.

This bus terminal has fewer frequencies to Manta than Quitumbe Bus Terminal.

If you want to travel at night, you can take the latest bus. Because of fewer stops, traveling at night is faster than traveling during the day.

Tip: it's much colder in Quito than in Manta, especially at night. When you take a bus to Manta, make sure that you have a warm jacket with you as it can be cold in buses during the descent to the coast.

Tip: the many turns in the mountains can cause vomiting. If you are sensitive to this, it is recommended that you take a flight. An alternative is traveling from Guayaquil Airport.

By car

It takes about 6 to 8 hours to drive from Quito Airport to Manta. Car rentals are available at Quito Airport. Quito has a regulation that restricts the circulation of cars. Hoy no circula provides that a vehicle cannot circulate on all days. The available hours and days depend on the last digit of the license plate. Ask the rental company about these restrictions.

The climate in the mountains can be foggy and rainy. This means that you may have to ride in bad weather conditions. Because of landslides, it's not recommended to ride at night.

By airplane

Manta has its own airport on the edge of the city. Two airline companies connect Quito Airport with Manta Airport: Avianca and LATAM. The flight time is about 35 minutes.

International flights from North America and Europe usually arrive at Quito Airport late in the afternoon and in the evening, while flights to Manta are currently only operated during the morning. This means that you will have to spend the night near Quito Airport. See Quito Airport for hotels and other options.

Tip: if you are sensitive to altitude, you should use Guayaquil Airport. Quito Airport sits at an elevation of 2,400 meters (7,874 ft). If you want to travel by bus to Manta, you first need to go to Quito. This city sits at an even higher elevation of 2,850 meters (9,350 ft) above sea level.