Learn more about Manta
Manta is a mid size city of Ecuador, in the Manabí Province. The city has existed since Pre-Columbian times. It was a trading post for the Mantas and the Incans. The city of Manta has grown in the last 50 years to 200,000 inhabitants. Its main economic activity is tuna fishing. Other economic activities include tourism and a chemical industry with products from cleaning supplies to oils and margarines. One famous episode in Manta history occurred when a Boeing 707 carrying cargo crashed into the town's wooden church in 1996 although it was reported that amazingly the statue of the virgin remained intact. The city of Manta has an international airport (Eloy Alfaro Intl.) as well as a large seaport.
Since 1999 Manta has been used as a military location for U.S. Air forces in conjunction with Ecuador for supporting anti-narcotics military operations and for carrying out surveillance flights in a strategic warfare program against Colombian drug trafficking cartels called Plan Colombia. It also serves as a geographical look out point for the U.S.A for any war craft heading north from the Middle East and Asia. A regular stop for U.S. Navy warships, Manta proves to be of importance for its location and for the respite it offers the U.S. Military with its beauty and untrampled wilderness.
Manta was the port used by Charles Marie de la Condamine upon his arrival in Ecuador when leading the French mission to measure the location of the equator in 1735. From Manta, Condamine started his trip inland towards Quito.
Manta is recognized thanks to its international film festival featuring groups from different places in the world. The Ecuadorian actor Carlos Valencia, once invited to Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Ratas Ratones y Rateros (1999) directed by Sebastián Cordero, was born in the city of Manta.
As in the entire country, football (soccer) is the sport of the city. The city has 2 professional teams Delfín S.C. and Manta F.C. However, most inhabitants are fans of Barcelona S.C., the team with the largest fan base in Ecuador. The practice of water sports is very significant in Manta. Water sports include Surf (Manta was the host for the 2004 Bodyboarding World Cup), Scuba diving, Water-ski, Kiteboarding and Kitesurfing. Manta has some of South America's most breathtaking beaches, Manta was selected as the site of the sixth South American Windsurfing Championship. It is renowned for its diving and sport fishing.
In addition, Manta hosts an International Theater Festival in September. Sporting events take place in November, and also from January through April. In the city one also finds a selection of first rate night clubs, the ocasional amusement park, as well as a cinema.
Produced in Manabí and known throughout the world are the original and official "Panama" hats, which are made just outside of Manta in the town of Montecristi. Manabí is also famous for its delicious cuisine, much of which is the best in the country. For those who enjoy seafood Manta is second to none.
Manta receives numerous visits from foreign as well as local tourists. The most visited beaches include "El Murciélago", "San Lorenzo" and "Barbasquillo". If you are interested in surfing you may head to San Lorenzo where you are likely to find powerful waves - regularly head high - which may prove to be an exciting challenge.
Nearby, also, is the small town of Montecristi, founded in the early 1600's. With its colonial architecture, this small town is best known for its wickerwork weaving, and as the original birth place of the Panama Hats which, despite their name, were historically produced in Ecuador.
Montecristi is a great place for shopping for local crafts at a number of shops across from the main plaza, featuring ceramics, wickerwork and of course, 'Panama' hats in a variety of shapes and colors.
The evenings are full of activity: partying people, loud music and groups of young people gather around the waterfront Malecón (jetty) that arcs around the bay and its nearby side streets.
The Malecón is always a pleasant area to walk in the evening with its refreshing evening breezes.
The recently refurbished Playa Murciélago (Bat Beach), very popular with locals, is in the Malecón area; it features a scenic boardwalk, restaurants serving excellent seafood fresh out of the ocean, recreational sports, craft markets, bars and other places for fun and relaxation.
 External links
- Manta municipality, official city and tourism information (Spanish)
- Michael Flynn, "What's the deal at Manta?", Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January/February 2005., An article discussing the presence of US Airforce at Manta Eloy Alfaro Airbase
- U.S. Department of State, Support for Plan Colombia