Earth : South America : Ecuador : Coastal Lowlands (Ecuador) : Manta
Manta  is a major coastal city located in the Coastal Lowlands of Ecuador. Manta is a commercial and vacation resort area and is the second largest seaport in Ecuador. The city's main industries include tuna fishing, canning, and processing; coffee and cocoa bean export; and crafting the tagua nut into artwork.
Eloy Alfaro International Airport(IATA: MEC) (ICAO: SEMT), . Located on the outskirts of the city. There are daily flights serving Quito and Guayaquil. Airlines include AeroGal, Icaro, andTame, . Round trip airfare to Quito will run 75-100 U.S. Dollars.
Bus service is readily available to most cities and towns. Long distance fares are generally around $1 per hour of the trip.
Taxi service is inexpensive and you can get to most places from one to three dollars. You can also take buses throughout th city, but with an abundance of inexpensive taxis, that is the best option for a tourist. Negotiating the cost of your taxi as soon as you step in is common practice. Carry small denominations of money and have exact change for your taxi fare if possible. If you do not have exact change, taxi drivers conveniently will not be able to make change for you and will try to convince you to leave the change as a tip instead.
Since 1999 Manta has shared it's airport with the U.S. Air Force in unison with Ecuador in strategic warfare against Colombian drug cartel traffic through surveillance flights in an effort to stop the flow of illegal narcotics. In 1996 a Boeing 707 cargo aircraft crashed into a wooden church located in Manta. It was reported that amazingly the statue of the virgin remained intact. Manta was also the host city for the sixth South American Windsurfing Championship in 1991.
Manta is located in a dry tropical forest area with an average annual temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77° F). The area has a wide variety of climate zones attributed geographical characteristics of the area. During the year, there are two seasons; rainy, and dry. The rainy season is approximately six months long when it is hot and humid, and occurs from December to May. The dry season is approximately six months long and occurs during the months of June to November. It is warm but very low humidity.
Manta is a port city situated on a coastal plain. The outskirts of the city is a dry tropical forest area.
Manta hosts an International Theater Festival every year in September. There are sporting events from January through April. Downtown you can find first rate night clubs, bars, and casinos.
The evenings is a hive of activity of partying people, loud music and meandering cars that form around the nearby side streets and main frontage of the Malecón that arcs around the bay. Bathed in constant ocean winds, the Malecón is always a pleasant and most refreshing area to walk in the evening and taking in the night breezes.
Manta has Paseo Shopping Mall on Avenida 4 de Noviembre. It is a a western styled modern shopping mall including clothing shops, a supermarket, banks and automatic teller machines, movie theater, and food court.
Manta has an amazing selection of fresh seafood. You can find fish, shrimp, octopus, calamari, clams, mussels, prawns, lobsters, crabs and scallops that are especially fresh and cheap. Ceviche and viche de pescado are traditional tropical dishes in Manta. Fresh coconut juice is always available on the beach, and other delicious fresh fruit juices and smoothies are available on the malecon.
The city water supply is contaminated with mercury and other contaminants. Drink bottled water only and do not use ice in drinks either.
Iced coconut water (agua'e coco) is very popular due to the hot temperatures. Freshly extracted from the coconuts in front of you, and it tastes really good.
Manta offers many places to have a great time, many of them in the main street called "Flavio Reyes."
Manta is a generally safe city but tourists should take special care in certain areas. Dark unlit streets at night is an invitation for trouble. Taxis are inexpensive in the city, using them even for short distances is a great precaution.
Travelers in Manta and other areas are likely to be approached at some point or another by con artists or persons with "sob stories". Ignore such persons and be wary of anyone asking for money under any pretext, including children begging. If you're feeling charitable, Ecuador has lots of legitimate charities you can support. Pickpocketing is done by highly skilled groups of 3 or 4 people. You are best off not bringing a wallet at all -- just some bills split between various pockets. Buses and bus stations is an area known to target travelers (foreigners or locals alike). You need to watch your bags closely, before and during departure; even once on the bus. It is best not to put your luggage in the overhead shelving, as you can be easily distracted and have all your possessions stolen before realizing it.
Do not leave drinks unattended in bars and restaurants especially at night. Thieves working in tandem are known to act friendly gaining your confidence; then 'slip you a mickey' (spike your drink with drugs), and then rob you.
Blend in and avoid con artists
Wearing gringo' clothes(i.e. fishing vests, travelers pants, bright colored t-shirts, dirty sandals) will make you a target. A pair of nice pants and a nondescript white/off-white t-shirt will make you look a business person who knows his way around the area and not just another tourist
Local Laws and the Ecuadorian National Police
All Ecuadorian citizens and visitors are required to carry ID at all times. Carrying your passport around all the time is not advised due to the risk of loss of theft. A better option is to have a copy of your passport certified by your embassy and carry that with you.
Close to Manta is Montecristi, which has been known for years for their Panama hats. There are numerous small shops selling Panama hats, tagua nut artwork, and other types of artisan craft works made in Ecuador. An English speaking tour guide or taxi driver can be helpful in your shopping.