The heart of Manabí province, Manta is one of the most important cities for business and tourism on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. The history of Manta as a commercial center goes back to before the Inca conquest, when it served as a trading site for the Manta and Inca indigenous groups. Today, Manta is Ecuador’s second largest port – second only to Guayaquil. Its relatively industrial landscape of cranes and skyscrapers diminishes its appeal for some visitors, especially compared to sleepier, less developed beach towns to the north. Still, for those who appreciate fine restaurants and bars, large hotels and luxury vacation homes, parts of Manta are quite picturesque and appealing. Manta features a range of beaches, other sites of interest, and hotels. It is also home to a United States Military air base, although Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has ordered the United States to vacate the base when their lease ends in 2009.

Facts and Statistics

  • Manta Population: 583,105 (2001 estimate)
  • Province: Manabí
  • Mayor: Jorge Orley Zambrano Cedeño
  • Main economic sectors: tuna fishing, tourism, chemical industry


During Ecuador’s Pre-Colombian history, Manta was home to at least seven different civilizations. According to some records, the Maya reached Manta around 500 A.D., but found it already inhabited by other groups, so they left. Little is known about the peoples who lived there between the Maya’s arrival there and the Inca Conquest, but there is concensus that the modern city of Manta – then known as Jocay – was used by the Inca and Manta indigenous groups as a trading center. In 1526, the Spanish explorer Bartolomé Ruiz was one of the first Europeans to arrive in Jocay. In 1534, Pedro de Alvarado arrived with his fleet in Bahía, where he he and his men set out on a conquest expedition. They encountered the indigenous population of Jocay by surprise and took Chief Ligua Tohallí prisoner. They also found large containers of gold, silver, emeralds, and precious stones. During Spanish colonial rule, the Parrish of Manta became part of the territory of Guayaquil, and remained so until the end of the 18th Century. From then until November 4, 1922, it was part of the Canton of Montecristi. Manta today belongs to the province of Manabí and is the third most important city in Ecuador economically (after Quito and Guayaquil).



  • Dry subtropical to humid subtropical.
  • Temperatures average between 25ºC (76º F) to 30ºC (90º F)
  • Like most of Ecuador’s Pacfic Coast, the rainy season (winter) lasts rom December to May, and the weather is usually warmer.
  • The dry season lasts from about April to November, and is cooler with less humidity.

How to Get There and Away

Most buses from Manta go to the commercial cities of Portoviejo and Jipijapa, but a more picturesque alternative is the route heading south to Puerto Cayo and San Lorenzo. From Portoviejo and Jipijapa you’ll find a wider range of options to other destinations, but the road to Puerto Cayo and San Lorenzo features spectacular coastal views.

Bus Companies that go to Manta:

FLOTA IMBABURA – Manuel Larrea y Portoviejo, telf: 2565-620

CARLOS ALBERTO ARAY – Terminal Terrestre del Cumandá, telf: 2283-080

REINA DEL CAMINO – Terminal Terrestre del Cumandá, telf: 2572-673

Airlines that go to Manta:

ICARO – Telephone: (593 2) 2905-920