Consider This Before Deciding to Live in Manta, Ecuador
The coastal town of Manta, Ecuador, is an important place to know if you’re wanting to familiarize yourself with this South American nation. Located on Ecuador’s central coast, Manta is the country’s second largest port city and its most popular beach location, mostly among Ecuadorians.
While Manta does draw its fair share of expats and foreign tourists, it’s most commonly used as a vacation or holiday destination for families who want an escape from the bustle of nearby Guayaquil. It’s a nice compromise, as it offers them all the comforts they enjoy in Ecuador’s largest city but with far less traffic and noise.
With a population of under 220,000, Manta, Ecuador, is a medium-sized city (about the same number of people as Scottsdale, Arizona) that serves as an important shipping and industrial center. As a result, it’s not what most people have in mind when picturing their life as expats in Latin America.
However, while it may not be exactly the right feel for a place that would-be expats might want to live IN, it’s a really convenient place to live NEAR or to use as your jumping off point for accessing all of the great destinations that are in close proximity to this coastal hotspot.
Here are a few important things you should know about Manta, Ecuador Real Estate.
If you’re looking for an Ecuadorian beach town with city conveniences, it’s one of the few options.
Ecuador has some of the most beautiful coastal areas in the world. And among them are miles and miles of completely untouched coastline. There are a few small villages where you might find a sprinkling of seafood shacks and something that resembles a convenience store. Other than that there isn’t much available in the way of consumer options.
That may sound quaint and like just the thing you’re looking for. But not everyone can live that lifestyle all the time. Eventually you have to stock up on groceries and other necessities or just go somewhere you can find an internet connection. And Manta is a great place to do that.
Not only can you find the products and supplies you need, but in Manta you can also enjoy a hot shower, air conditioning, and paved roads, all things that are difficult to come by along much of Ecuador’s coast.
It also has a fully-stocked North American(ish) style grocery store, a modern movie theater with many English titles, internet cafes, and a large assortment of restaurants and bars. In addition to these basics, Manta has yoga studios, health clubs, casinos, quality medical facilities, and a modern shopping center.
There’s a lot to see and do both in and around Manta, Ecuador.
In Manta itself, you’ll find plenty to entertain you along the coast. The shore itself doesn’t have the pristine white sand that many beach-goers seek, but it’s a fine place to walk or dine al fresco at one of the many open-air seafood restaurants. You can also find many homes with fantastic views from atop the cliffs that surround the city.
Just north of the city center is Playa Murcielago, the most popular beach in the area. It offers some good surfing, as well as opportunities to try out other aquatic sports such as scuba diving and fishing.
If you’re looking for a little culture in Manta, there’s the Museo del Banco Central. Its exhibits include a large amount of Pre-Colombian artwork, as well as other artifacts representing the area’s cultural history. Just inland lies the city of Montecristi, the source of many of the erroneously named “Panama Hats,” which actually originated in Ecuador.
If you head south from Manta, you’ll be on what’s known as the Ruta del Sol, or “Sun Route.” While this drive takes you along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, the road itself could use a lot of work. It snakes alongside miles of deserted beaches where you could literally pull the car over and get out and surf entirely alone.
It also passes through tiny fishing villages where the residents seem completely unaware of the potential tourism potential of their sleepy little towns, although a few small developments have begun to pop up here and there. The route finally ends in Salinas, a popular resort community.
About an hour south of Manta is Puerto Cayo, a quaint fishing village that is a great place to go to get away for the day and relax. Just beyond that is Parque Machalilla, a national park with an assortment of flora and fauna, as well as some hiking trails and panoramic views of the coast.
Manta’s airport makes it accessible and also offers easy access to the rest of Ecuador’s Pacific Coast.
Manta’s infrastructure makes it a very livable city, and perhaps no other feature is quite as important as its domestic airport. The fourth busiest in the country, Eloy Alfaro International Airport (MEC) is a combination civilian airport and military airbase located on the outskirts of town.
Several airlines, including AeroGal, AVIANCA, LAN, TAME, and COPA, offer daily flights to Quito. That means that you could start the day enjoying the beach in Manta and, after a quick hour-long plane ride, find yourself in the Andean highlands.
Many factors make Manta a great place for a second home in Ecuador.
With so much to see and do in Ecuador, many of its citizens and foreign residents are finding that owning two homes provides some nice variation and a way to enjoy all the country has to offer. Because of its location and accessibility, Manta would be an ideal place to do that. Not only does it have the airport, it also has buses leaving regularly headed to many cities in Ecuador. Guayaquil, for instance, is only a short 3-hour drive away.
Manta, Ecuador, has a dry tropical climate with temperatures that range between 76 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, although it feels hotter in the wet season (December to May) due to the humidity. During the dry season (June to November), it’s still warm but the humidity makes being on the Ecuadorian coast far more bearable.
Many choose to spend the wet season in a more temperate area, like the Andean highlands, and then enjoy the coast during the months with lower humidity. In Manta, you can easily do this without sacrificing any of the creature comforts you’d otherwise have to do without in a smaller village.
Despite its size and amenities, Manta still offers an incredibly low cost of living.
One of the reasons Ecuador has gained attention as an expat destination is due to its extremely reasonable real estate and consumer goods. Those can also be found in Manta. You can enjoy a meal of fresh fish, with sides, and a cold domestic beer from a beachside restaurant for no more than $6. A 3-course meal for two in a nice restaurant will only set you back about $25.
Real estate is also cheap. You can rent a 2-bedroom condo with an ocean view, a swimming pool, and exercise facilities for as little as $500 per month. If you’re looking to buy, the same place would only cost you $80,000. If you don’t need the second bedroom, you can save as much as 25-30% on a one-bedroom property.
Conveniences from high speed internet to domestic help are all very affordable in Ecuador. And, while prices can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle, you could easily get by in Manta on as little as $1200 per month.
Manta, Ecuador, has many opportunities for investors.
Manta is home to one of the few ports in the country deep enough to receive commercial cargo, making it an important shipping and industrial center. Tourism is also a bit part of the city’s economy, and cruise ships dock there several times per week during the peak season.
It’s a growing city whose recent infrastructure projects include an improved sewage treatment system and a new bus station. Booming industry and better infrastructure lead to increased property values, making beach real estate another good investment option. Along with the potential profit, investors also have the added benefit of being able to influence the future of the community.
Manta does have some factors that make it unattractive to expats.
While Manta offers some great amenities and investment potential, it definitely has its downsides. For instance, its water supply is contaminated with mercury and other pollutants. You can’t drink it or use it for ice. And, while the city does offer some sweeping views, some of them are of cranes and other industrial components.
Also, although it experiences less crime than some larger cities like Guayaquil, Manta does have its share. A lot of it involves petty crimes, such as pickpocketing or theft of unattended items. However violent crimes do happen.
It’s important to use precautions, especially when you’re out and about at night, particularly in poorer areas of the city. It’s best to take a taxi, unless you’re in a large group. However, even taxis have been used in crime rings to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.
As in any foreign city, it’s best to just use common sense and generally avoid looking like a tourist. Don’t carry around too much cash or leave luggage unattended. Always watch out for anything that looks suspicious and never take your eyes off your drink, as the use of date rape drugs is a concern. Steer clear of anyone begging or asking for money, including children.
Manta is a bonus on the Ecuadorian coastline
While not the ultimate “forever home” of most expats, Manta offers a lot in terms of value to foreign visitors and residents. It’s a good beach option for those who don’t want to sacrifice a lot of amenities.
It’s also a great place to restock or even establish a home base from which you can explore all of the many wonderful destinations Ecuador has to offer. When planning a trip to scout out possible places to relocate your family, make sure Manta, Ecuador, is one of your stops.
Map of Manta Ecuador
Manta Fast Facts
- Population: About 217,553
- Typical temperature: Despite its near-equatorial location, Manta has an arid climate with an average temperature of 71 degrees
- Nearest airport with U.S. flights: Quito or Guayaquil. The Domestic airport, Eloy Alfaro International is located on the outskirts of the Manta, here you can catch a daily flight to Quito and Guayaquil.
- Nearest U.S. consulate: Quito