The friendly, busy seafaring port of Manta on Ecuador’s central coast boasts a robust tuna-fishing industry, and some fine beaches including the popular Murciélago Beach. The understated Tarqui Beach has a popular waterside fish market.
Inhabited for over 6000 years, Manta has a long history and archaeological evidence of seven different cultures over time is apparent across Manta. The Central Bank Museum contains pre-Columbian relics from indigenous tribes. A good selection of bars and restaurants are clustered along the Malecón Escénico promenade, which reflect the prosperous vibrancy of this city.
From Manta, it is possible to travel to the Galapagos Islands, voted amongst the world’s best islands. These magnificent islands are home to a plethora of wildlife not found anywhere else in the world, which influenced Charles Darwin’s studies and his theory of evolution by natural selection.
The colonial town of Montecristi is renowned for being the home of the famous Panama hat, despite its name suggesting otherwise. Lying at the foot of Montecristi Mountain, the town was founded in 1628 and boasts a charming church, not to mention a beautiful square featuring a statue of former Ecuadorian president Eloy Alfaro. Enjoy the unique experience of exploring Montecristi by the local means of transport – a Chiva bus.
The Andes are one of the world’s longest mountain ranges, and are a must-see for anyone visiting South America. One of the best ways to admire the Andes is via a unique train ride – an outstanding feat of engineering which will take you past breathtaking Andean scenery and to the Devil’s Nose.