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Consider This Before Deciding to Live in Manta, Ecuador

Manta, Ecuador

Len Langevin

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.

Manta, Ecuador

Dani Blanch

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


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

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23 thoughts on “Consider This Before Deciding to Live in Manta, Ecuador

  1. 1

    A great feature of Manta is a bar called ‘El Puente’ located near the airport. Men can have the time of their dreams here for very little money. If you catch my drift…. this is one of the best of it’s type in all of Ecuador!

  2. 2

    I would like to be able to contact someone in real estate who can show me places to rent in manta with views of the beach and that someone can be a friend for life. thank you.
    jim brogan

  3. 3

    My husband and I are living in Manta for almost 7 months. Our experience has been positive although home prices are rising as is cost of living. Getting around is easy and practical with taxis being all over the place (for a set rate depending where you take off from as little as a 1 dollars and up, make sure to ask before you get on and negotiate a rate). Buying a car in Ecuador is very expesive, a very basic model, stripped down without any comforts will set you back 15+ grand (brand new). The food is great and we feel pretty safe. We rent a 3 bedroom apartment in a neighbourhood called Umina, near most everything but not exactly in front of the beach ($400/month), and what we have seen most places in front of the beach cost at least 100K now, and not 80K (at least in Manta) . Come prepared to speak and learn Spanish, the town is not equipped to cater to English speakers. I definitely suggest to come and visit and see for yourself!
    saludos desde Manta, Ecuador.

    • 4

      Catia, thanks for taking the time to comments and give us a “real” view of Manta.

    • 5

      We have several families traveling to Manta Ecuador for three week this summer for missionary work. We are on a budget and while we want to also enjoy our time time there we don’t have as much interest or funds for the expensive beach-side condos and homes. We were hoping to find a clean efficient furnished place or two separate places that can accommodate 10-12 people including several children under 12. I have not been successful in finding anything online yet except the more expensive vacation condos. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • 6

      I would like to have someone to guide me and gives names of real estate companies coz I am planning to buy two bed room condo near the beach front

      • 7

        >Ralph, have a look at my project. It is in Santa Marianita and only 15 minutes south of manta, and has an beautiful beach. LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS.

  4. 8

    Please reccomend a good reasonable decent restaurant in Manta near the University if possible.

  5. 9

    Are there any good inexpensive, clean restaurants in Manta?.

  6. 10

    like mexico 180 days you have to leave what is the law in Ecuador?

    • 11

      Derac, check out our post on Ecuador Visa requirements. If you need to stay longer than 90 days you can apply for a 12-IX visa, which is good for an additional 90 days (for a total of 180), but only once in a calendar year. Common reasons for such a stay, besides tourism, include studying abroad, conducting research, participating in international sports, or even traveling for business. Have more questions, check out that link, hope that clears it up for you.

  7. 12

    Just a clarification…Manta is the largest open water port and the only coastal city with urban characteristics. Guayaquil is the largest city but it is not on the coast, it sits along side the Guayas river. Manta is Ecuadors’s fastest growing city and current real estate developments include over 30 beachfront condo’s, one of the largest shopping malls in Ecuador and the city is implementing a permanent solution to the water crisis. There are good schools, good internet providers, and very soon a beacfront Marina for sport fishing and tourism. Moved her 6 months ago from Quito with my entire family… Not going back.

  8. 13

    Manta was a great place to live for locals and immigrants until the “expat” crowd of colonists and real estate speculators arrived. Now housing prices have tripled or more in about 5 years, you can’t go to the grocery store without running into “ugly Americans”, and racism is soaring thanks to the bad behaviour of the “expats” who refuse to learn the language or accept the culture but expect to be catered to in English while treating the locals with condescension and driving the housing market inflation putting it out of reach of many Ecuadorians. The single male “expats” frequent the sex industry sites, like your lovely commenter above, or go through a string of “girlfriends” who they basically treat as prostitutes. Overall, the “expats” are racist, hypocritical bigots who go on and on about birther theories and complain about Spanish speaking “illegals” taking over the US and Spanish becoming more widely spoken (and don’t think them not speaking Spanish here is a problem). all this while contributing the minimum to the economy and nothing to society.

    • 14

      Would an American family who has lived in many countries and speaks Speaks Spanish well enough to function be treated well by the locals? We are not anything like what you described above. Don’t people respond in kind to respect they are given?

    • 15

      Doing research. We are from Canada. Thinking about spending some time in Manta to learn Spanish & expose my kids the wonderful culture. I agree with you. There is some truth in what you say. I hope that you will not tar all foreigners with the same brush. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to send their kids to local Manta high school? I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

      • Dominic and Adriana

        I spent several years in Ecuador, to include Manta, and love the area. I am now thinking of returning to live in Ecuador with my Ecuadorian wife and two children. Looking to find a realtor to help in locating a house to rent. So if anyone has any leads, I would greatly appreciate the assistance. Gracias!!! (not an ugly American)

        • Yolanda Roman

          Dominic and Adriana, if you decide to purchase land in Manta I have two lots for sale, please let me know

      • Paul Palacios

        Hi Greg, ran into your post because I was looking for some info on people who are interested in going to Manta Ecuador. I wanted to know if there are people who are willing to go and live in that area. I was born in Chone in the same province as Manta, which is Manabi. I went to grade school and then again for my last two years of high school. I have gotten to live the best of both worlds, being an Ecuadorian citizen and a US citizen. I am also looking to relocate back with my small family, my wife is also from Ecuador and are both looking forward to relocating back to where our entire family is at. The only thing that has us a little hesitant is work. My uncle works for a Canadian company and I am trying to contact someone over there to get some more info. If there is anyway I can assist, please reply. Take care.

    • 19

      I am buying a condo in Atacames, and that small city seems to have much more “life” than Manta. I was really surprised at how few people seem on the street in Manta. There is a really nice supermarket, but prices are not cheap. Locals in many places are friendly as well. I am staying in a hotel, and the water was off for 18 hours and the internet was not working for 3 days. I find this incredible in a city the size of Manta. As for restaurants, there seem many more closed than open, and the food in an nicer one is expensive. Without question, Thailand and the Philippines are much cheaper to live in, and with some hard searching, real estate can be found cheaper than in Ecuador. Unfortunately, the air pollution in Cebu City, Philippines is very bad. The smaller beach towns offer very little for an active lifestyle, but there are trade-offs everywhere. Manta seems pretty OK for a visit, but I have decided I never want to live in Manta.

  9. 20

    Hello and thanks for the article.
    I am 30 year old guy, planing to move to Ecuador and I am looking for a nice jungle type view with good internet connection (adsl). I am a freelancer and the only thing I need for my $1500 monthly income is my laptop.
    my main considerations are:
    -more English language people.
    -security and low rate of crimes.
    -good internet connection
    -nice view with jungle or forest.

  10. 21

    Great article on Manta, Ecuador. We have a small family inn in Ecuador that you can all check out; we are located in Manta. We speak English and Spanish and can do monthly rentals for anyone that is interested. We have a Canadian number as well . We are 10 minutes away from the beach, 5 minutes from the mall, terminal and airport.

    • Terry Tarbeck

      Hi Stephano. I’m retired and considering moving to Ecuador. Are taxis available and inexpensive from your location? Is it easy to get to the beach, restaurants,shopping etc.? Thanks.

  11. 23

    Stephano what is the monthly rent for the hotel?

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