Pros and Cons of Living in Manta

Johan Klok | Last update:

In recent years, Manta has become more popular as an expat destination. In this article, you can read about the pros and cons of living in Manta.

Pros of living in Manta

Pro: Warm but dry weather

Manta enjoys year-round summer temperatures with in general low humidity. Only in February and March it's so hot that it may not be comfortable for everyone.

Pro: Modern shopping

In Manta, you won’t find luxury shops or international chains like Zara, Mango, IKEA, etc., but compared to other Ecuadorian cities, Manta offers good shopping options. Virtually all Ecuadorian grocery stores and superstores have stores in Manta. The Mall del Pacífico is a modern shopping mall that is highly appreciated by Manta's inhabitants.

Pro: Manta is walkable

People who live in the outskirts of Manta definitely want a car because of the long distances, but if you live or stay in the area west of the city center you can easily do without a car. From this area, you can walk to the Mall del Pacífico, the city center, Murciélago Beach, and the restaurants in the restaurant row. For your safety, it’s best to take a taxi when it’s dark outside.

Pro: Good basic healthcare is available

If you are a member of IESS (Ecuador’s social security system), you can go to Manta’s modern IESS hospital. This hospital was built after the 2016 earthquake. There are also several small private hospitals in Manta. If you are a tourist, you can visit Manta’s public hospital, but the services in this hospital are very basic.

Pro: There is a public golf course

In Montecristi (10 minutes by car from Manta), there is a modern, 18 holes public golf course.

Pro: There are many beach towns and villages around Manta

Around Manta, there are several beach towns and villages that are worth a visit. Examples are San Clemente, Crucita, San Mateo, Santa Marianita, and San Lorenzo.

Cons of living in Manta

Con: No international flights

Manta Aiport is allowed to receive international flights, but until now, no airliner offers such flights. To fly to North America or Europe, you will first need to travel to Quito Airport or Guayaquil Airport. From these two modern airports, there are many flights to North America and Europe.

Traveling to Quito Airport is a ten-hour road trip. You can also fly from Manta Airport to Quito Airport. Both LATAM and Avianca offer daily flights which take about 45 minutes. The downside of using Quito Airport for international flights is that most flights from North America and Europe arrive at Quito Airport late in the afternoon, in the evening, or even very early in the morning. At those times, there are no flights to Manta anymore which means that you will need to spend the night in a hotel near the airport.

Guayaquil Airport is three hours by car or bus from Manta. There are no flights between Manta Airport and Quito Airport. If you arrive late at Guayaquil Aiport, you may opt to spend the night in one of the many available hotels in Guayaquil.

Con: Odor nuisance

Manta is proud to be the tuna capital of the world. Because the tuna processing industry is scattered over the city, it seriously stinks in several parts of the city. Most expats live in the area west of the city center. In this area, it rarely stinks. If you want to live in another part of the city, you will want to assure yourself that there are no tuna processing facilities in the neighborhood.

Con: It’s not very safe

Like most cities in Ecuador, Manta is not very safe. If you take the right measures, you can drastically reduce the risk that something bad will happen to you. In our Manta area guide, you can read more about crime and safety in Manta and how you can deal with it.

Con: No public spaces to swim

Although the weather is usually warm and sunny, there are no public pools in Manta. Several hotels, apartment buildings, and gated communities do have communal pools. It’s also possible to swim in the ocean in Manta, but we don’t recommend it because of the dirty water. If you want to swim in the ocean, it’s best to visit the beaches of Santa Marianita, San Mateo, or San Clemente.

Con: No historic city center

Manta lacks a nice, attractive city center. Only near the main municipality building, there are some historic buildings. The rest of the city center isn’t impressive at all.

Con: Vast areas of not good-looking constructions

Most areas of Manta consist of poorly built houses. The among expats popular area west of the city center has some good-looking apartment buildings. Several gated communities in the outskirts are also good-looking.

Con: It’s dusty and not green

Manta is located in a very dry part of Ecuador. The upside is that the weather is not very humid, but the downside is that you hardly see any green areas in Manta. Most parts are really dry and dusty. Green areas can be found in Crucita in the north and San Lorenzo in the south.

Con: Earthquakes do occur often

Earthquakes often occur in the Manta region because the city is lcoated in a high-risk area for earthquakes. In April 2016, the city was hit hard by a 7.8 earthquake. If you live in and visit modern buildings, you don’t have to fear too much from earthquakes, but some expats (and locals) cannot get used to earthquakes.

Con: Specialized healthcare is hardly available

While you can find good, basic healthcare in Manta, You won’t find many specialized healthcare services in Manta. As a member of IESS, you can go to its large, specialized hospital in Portoviejo. IESS members can also go to SOLCA’s hospital in Portoviejo that is specialized in the treatment of cancers. People who can afford it, usually go to more specialized, private hospitals in Guayaquil or Quito. For specialized services that are not available in Ecuador, people go to hospitals in Colombia or the United States.

Con: It's not a cultural city

If you are looking for a rich cultural life, Manta will probably disappoint you. There is a small theater and there are several small museums, but most cities comparable in size to Manta have better offerings. The reason is that Manta is basically a poor industrial city that has attracted many jobless people from countryside. These people barely earn enough to survive and thus have little money to spend in their spare time.

Bottomline

If you are looking for a quiet life with good weather and basic amenities, you will probably like Manta. If you are looking for a rich cultural life or if you have complicated health conditions, you may better like a larger city. The city of Bucaramanga has more or less the same weather as Manta but offers better amenities.