A onetime sleepy fishing village with an unsuccessful history of warding off pirates, Manta today booms with all the hustle and bustle of a medium-sized city. Ecuador's second-largest seaport's newest incarnation is that of a port of call, where large ships stop on select South America itineraries during the December-April season. Organized shore excursions take you shopping in nearby Montecristi, or via a flight to Quito, then overland to the markets in Otavalo.
Bertha Pachay, in nearby Montecristi, is one of the area's
foremost purveyors of quality Panama hats.
Open-air restaurants and shops front the city's pleasant
oceanside promenade, which leads north and south from the cruise-ship docks.
Museo Centro Cultural de Manta
Yet another museum operated by Ecuador's
Central Bank exhibits artifacts from the Pacific coast's pre-Inca indigenous