The city of Manta is divided by the Río Manta. Generally, the beaches and neighborhoods to the north – such as Playa Murciélago – are more up-scale, and those to the south – such as Playa Tarqui – are more budget-oriented.
Playa Urbana El Murciélago
This urban beach is located in the ritzier northern section of Manta, along the Malecón Escénico (scenic sea-wall), with more than 20 storefronts offering food, handcrafts, and tourist information. A variety of festivals and holidays are celebrated here, including Carnaval. People regularly practice surfing, wind-surfing, body boarding and sports fishing at this beach, and it is sure to please people-watchers.
Playa Urbana Los Esteros
Los Esteros Beach boasts wide swaths of sand and fewer people than the heavily-trafficked Playa Murciélago. Those in search of a more relaxing experience can watch boats entering and leaving the port.
Playa Rural San Lorenzo
Located in a sleepier, more peaceful area of the city, Playa San Lorenzo attracts fewer visitors. It is an ideal option for those looking to escape the crowds of the more popular urban beaches, away from the beaten track.
Playa Rural de San Mateo
The point of San Mateo forms a wide cape, giving shape to the Bahía de Manta, where the city’s maritime port is located.
Playa Urbana de Barbasquillo
A bit further to the south lies Barbasquillo, with its stunning cliffs and spectacular scenery. A range of large and luxury hotels is available nearby.
Playa Urbana de Tarqui
Playa Tarqui features a food court of sorts, the Parque del Marisco (seafood park), which features a variety of coastal gastronomic delights typical of Manabí. Small fishermen also sell their fresh catch here, which appeals to spectators and potential buyers alike.