Manta is a commercial and vacation resort area and is the second largest seaport in Ecuador. The city's main industries include tuna fishing, canning, and processing; coffee and cocoa bean export; and crafting the tagua nut into artwork.
- Eloy Alfaro International Airport (MEC IATA) (on the outskirts of the city). There are daily flights serving Quito and Guayaquil. Airlines include AeroGal, and Tame, . Round trip airfare to Quito will run 75-100 U.S. Dollars.
Bus service is readily available to most cities and towns. Long distance fares are generally around $1 per hour of the trip.
- Frequent bus service to Guayaquil which is about a four and a half hour trip, ticket cost about $5.
- Service to Quito which is about a ten hour trip ticket cost about $7,
- to Portoviejo, 1 hour, ticket cost about $1,
- to Jipijapa, 1 hour, ticket cost about $1,
- to Bahía de Caráquez, about 3½ hours, ticket cost about $2,
- to Esmeraldas, 8½ hours, ticket cost about $7.20,
- to Santo Domingo, 5 hours, ticket cost about $6.20.
Taxi service is inexpensive and you can get to most places from one to three dollars. You can also take buses throughout the city, but with an abundance of inexpensive taxis, that is the best option for a tourist. Negotiating the cost of your taxi as soon as you step in is common practice. Carry small denominations of money and have exact change for your taxi fare if possible. If you do not have exact change, taxi drivers conveniently will not be able to make change for you and will try to convince you to leave the change as a tip instead.
Between 1999 and 2009, Manta shared its airport with the U.S. Air Force in unison with Ecuador in strategic warfare against Colombian drug cartel traffic through surveillance flights in an effort to stop the flow of illegal narcotics. In 1996 a Boeing 707 cargo aircraft crashed into a wooden church located in Manta. It was reported that amazingly the statue of the virgin remained intact. Manta was also the host city for the sixth South American Windsurfing Championship in 1991.
Manta is located in a dry tropical forest area with an average annual temperature of 25° Celsius (77° F). The area has a wide variety of climate zones attributed geographical characteristics of the area. During the year, there are two seasons; rainy, and dry. The rainy season is approximately six months long when it is hot and humid, and occurs from December to May. The dry season is approximately six months long and occurs during the months of June to November. It is warm but very low humidity.
Manta is a port city situated on a coastal plain. The outskirts of the city is a dry tropical forest area.
Manta hosts an International Theater Festival every year in September. There are sporting events from January through April. Downtown you can find first rate night clubs, bars, and casinos.
- Banco Central Museum, Avenida 8 and Calle 7 (located behind the Bus terminal). Displays ceramics from the pre-Columbian Huancavilca-Manteño era culture.
The evenings is a hive of activity of partying people, loud music and meandering cars that form around the nearby side streets and main frontage of the Malecón that arcs around the bay. Bathed in constant ocean winds, the Malecón is always a pleasant and most refreshing area to walk in the evening and taking in the night breezes.
- Fantasy Casino, Malecón y Calle 23 (Next to the Oro Verde Hotel), ☎ . Very nice casino operated by the Oro Verde Hotel. Traditional and video slot machines, Blackjack and poker tables, American Roulette. Drinks, beverages and snacks are available. Small dance floor with live entertainment on weekends.
- Plaza Casino. Operated by the Howard Johnson Hotel. Traditional and video slot machines, Blackjack and poker tables, American Roulette. Drinks, beverages and snacks are available. The casino has a small mezzanine where bands play supplying the live entertainment on weekends.
- El Murciélago, This is the most popular beach area in Manta. It has a wide variety of restaurants serving seafood and local dishes, bars and other attractions for fun and relaxation. :Recreational aquatic sports such as surfing, diving, sailing, body-boarding, and fishing are enjoyed here as well. The beach is in the vicinity numerous hotels, retail stores, supermarkets, and banking facilities and automatic teller machines.
- Barbasquillo is a resort complex on Barbasquillo beach with a pool, sauna, gym and a disco. It has direct access to the an extensive beach. Horses are also available for riding on the beautiful beach.
- La Tiñosa is 3 km long with sand dunes along with cactus ten feet(three meters) high, as well as varied wildlife species. This area is used for tourists rest and recreation. This beach is located a few kilometers from the parish San Mateo, and it is surrounded by mountains with a dry vegetation.
- Linguique is 50 minutes from the center of Manta, at a distance of 18 km (10 mi). It has interesting rocky areas; place where snails, octopus and lobsters are plentiful. From the high point, it offers the visitors the possibility to observe the sea in all directions in a beautiful panoramic view. The people in this area are devoted to fishing and agriculture.
- San Lorenzo is 28 km (17 mi) from Manta. It is known for its diverse rock formations, caves, marine birds and the Island of The Silver. The months of June to September you can take in the incredible sight of hunchback whales as they pass from the north to south. San Lorenzo's forest, with an extension of 50 hectares, was declared a protected area to avoid its deterioration as an ecological area. Popular activities include surfing, sunbathing and whale-watching. The climb to the light house is amazing and often accompanied by views of blue-footed boobies.
- Santa Marianita is in a rural area about 10 miles west of Manta. The perfect area for the capture of marine species. This 8 km (5.0 mi) beach invites the visitors to enjoy the warm waters enjoying the tranquility of this area. Telephone services are available here.
- San Mateo is a thriving fishing village located on a cliff overlooking the sea 13 km (8.1 mi) west of Manta. The locals are very friendly, and a bit tipsy after a good catch. San Mateo is also known among surfers as the longest wave in Ecuador. The competition is stiff out on the water; the locals can be territorial.
- Tarqui is a park of the shellfish where delicious local foods are prepared for your enjoyment. On this beach you can participate in recreational aquatic sports such as surfing, diving, sailing, body-boarding, and fishing, along with other outdoor sports such as beach soccer; and volleyball. It is located on the coastal highway midway between the airport and Manta. It can be identified by the large wooden fishing boats in various stages of construction. With the boat construction at this location, it has been nicknamed 'Noah's Ark Beach' by some tourists.
Manta has Paseo Shopping Mall on Avenida 4 de Noviembre. It is a western-styled modern shopping mall including clothing shops, a supermarket, banks and automatic teller machines, movie theater, and food court.
Manta has an amazing selection of fresh seafood. You can find fish, shrimp, octopus, calamari, clams, mussels, prawns, lobsters, crabs and scallops that are especially fresh and cheap. Ceviche and viche de pescado are traditional tropical dishes in Manta. Fresh coconut juice is always available on the beach, and other delicious fresh fruit juices and smoothies are available on the malecon.
- Club Ejecutivo, Av. 2 and Calle 12 (Banco del Pichincha building).
- El Mediterraneo, Malecon. Spanish.
- Guen Roku, Malecón and Calle 16.. International
- Martinica, via San Mateo. Italian and Ecuadorian typical. Really great food!
- El Resero, Malecón opposite Hotel Oro Verde.. Argentinian food, cheap and great service
- Mima, Calle 104 and Malecón.. Seafood.
- Palmeiras, Circunvalacion Norte. Seafood.
- Restaurante Mexicano, Malecón and Calle 15.. Mexican.
- Paraná, Calle 17 and Malecón (close to the port).. Seafood.
- Restaurant Riviera, Calle 20 and Av. 12. Italian.
- Shamu, Calle 11 No 1-12.. Set meals.
For the more experienced traveller, there are many good restaurants along the beach (see above) which are a bit cheaper. Most food is well-prepared and safe for tourists to eat.
The city water supply is contaminated with mercury and other contaminants. Drink bottled water only and do not use ice in drinks either.
Iced coconut water (agua'e coco) is very popular due to the hot temperatures. Freshly extracted from the coconuts in front of you, and it tastes really good.
Manta offers many places to have a great time, many of them in the main street called "Flavio Reyes."
- Black Daddy One of the famous clubs in Manta, offers good drinks and good music.
- West End The best place to party. It's a karaoke-bar with the newest songs available to sing and dance that turns into a dance club late at night.
- Conga The cheapest club in Manta. It offers Latin music such as reggaeton, merengue and salsa as well as electronic music.
- Krug If you want to have a good time in a bar, Krug is the place. Krug is an outdoor bar with a lively scene.
- Cabañas Balandra, Av. 8 and Calle 20, Barrio Córdova, ☎ , fax: .
- Hotel Oro Verde, Malecón y Calle 23, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Manta Ecuador, Km 1.5 Via Barbasquillo, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. 100 rooms starting at $85.
- Hosteria Manta Beach Inn, Calle 127 y Via Aeropuerto, ☎ . Bed and Breakfast for only $25.
- Manta Imperial, near Playa Murciélago (on the Malecón), ☎ , fax: .
- Mantaraya Lodge, El Telégrafo E10 - 63 y Juan Alcántara, ☎ . 15 rooms.
- Surpacifico Spanish Language School, 24 Ave. and 15 St. (Barre Building 3rd. Floor), ☎ . This school has various Spanish programs such as Spanish and surfing. 20 hours individual instruction, $160.
- Montañita Spanish School.
Manta is a generally safe city but tourists should take special care in certain areas. Dark unlit streets at night is an invitation for trouble. Taxis are inexpensive in the city, using them even for short distances is a great precaution.
Travelers in Manta and other areas are likely to be approached at some point or another by con artists or persons with "sob stories". Ignore such persons and be wary of anyone asking for money under any pretext, including children begging. If you're feeling charitable, Ecuador has lots of legitimate charities you can support. Pickpocketing is done by highly skilled groups of 3 or 4 people. You are best off not bringing a wallet at all -- just some bills split between various pockets. Buses and bus stations is an area known to target travelers (foreigners or locals alike). You need to watch your bags closely, before and during departure; even once on the bus. It is best not to put your luggage in the overhead shelving, as you can be easily distracted and have all your possessions stolen before realizing it.
Do not leave drinks unattended in bars and restaurants especially at night. Thieves working in tandem are known to act friendly gaining your confidence; then 'slip you a mickey' (spike your drink with drugs), and then rob you.
Blend in and avoid con artists
Wearing "gringo" clothes (for example, fishing vests, traveler's pants, bright colored t-shirts, dirty sandals) will make you a target. A pair of nice pants and a nondescript white or off-white t-shirt will make you look like a businessperson who knows his way around the area and not just another tourist.
Close to Manta is Montecristi, which has been known for years for their Panama hats. There are numerous small shops selling Panama hats, tagua nut artwork, and other types of artisan craft works made in Ecuador. An English-speaking tour guide or taxi driver can be helpful in your shopping.