COASTAL, ON-LINE ISSUE 01
By Mark Bradbury
Photos by Mark Bradbury
Many of you who have been reading Cuenca Expats Magazine may know about Manta over here on the Coast, but for those of you who don’t know our great city and its surrounding communities, we welcome you to a new chapter in your reading experience. We’re not like Cuenca, or any other city in the Sierra, but we hope to get you interested enough in our coastal gem that you might want to visit us sometime soon.
Manta is the largest city on Ecuador’s Coast, and the Province of Manabi is an incredibly diverse region. We have over 350 km of coastal beaches, miles and miles of beautiful farmland, and we also have the coastal mountains that in some places creep right into the ocean. Manta is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in the country and is the second largest exporter of canned albacore tuna in the world. Our countryside is green with some of the most important food crops grown in Ecuador: bananas, plantains, rice, corn, coffee, and the list goes on and on. Fresh local fruits and vegetables are always in good supply, and the fish market on the beach here is amazing. If it’s in the ocean anywhere nearby, it’s at the market.
Manta has been called the fastest-growing city in Ecuador by some people. I don’t know what’s happening in other cities, but Manta is charging ahead with a very strong growth plan. We have a very dynamic young Mayor who doesn’t just talk, he makes things happen. He and his staff are doing everything they can to make this a better place to live, and they’re doing a terrific job.
There is a major reconstruction of the airport here that will give us an ultra-modern terminal that will certainly be an international stop at some point soon. We have a very well-maintained and healthy shipping port, and the new Cruise Terminal should get back into action soon. We have two large shopping malls with many of the brand names you know and want. For the golfers, there is a very nice course in Montecristi, just 15 minutes from Manta, that has been rated one of the best in Ecuador.
Oh, sorry, did I mention beaches? Yes, we have beaches, and some of them are beautiful. There are seven to choose from within the cantonal limits of Manta, and dozens more both north and south of us. Many of these beaches are getting ready to reopen soon, waiting for the locals and tourists to come back. And I won’t even tell you about the spectacular sunsets that say goodnight out over the ocean here; you’ll have to see for yourself.
Food is a very big part of the culture here in Manabi. The province is famous for its Manabita cooking, and you can find lots of good local restaurants and small family-owned eateries that feature the specialties of the region. There are also many high-quality options for dining, and there are lots of beach cabanas if you just want to dive into the excellent local seafood scene. You will never run out of places to eat; I’m sure of it!
In the coming months, I’ll be talking about Manta and its neighbors. There are smaller expat communities throughout Manabi, in towns such as Puerto Lopez, Puerto Cayo, Mirador San Jose, Santa Marianita, Crucita, San Clemente and Bahia de Caraquez. There is also a new community under development called Las Olas, just south of Bahia. We’ll talk about all of these places as we go along.
If you’d like to be better informed on what’s going on in Manta and Manabi, consider joining the expat group “Expats and Amigos in Manta and Manabi.” Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/323275021650751/
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