Manta Cruises

Manta sits almost directly on the equator, around halfway up Ecuador’s Pacific shore. The setting was inhabited by at least seven different civilisations before the Spanish conquered the area in 1534. While mostly considered an industrial city today, it has also found fame for its beaches and watersports.

While the Panama hat is known around the world, it is less common knowledge that they actually come from Ecuador. Montecristi is just a short hop inland from Manta, and it provides a fascinating insight into their manufacture.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Highlights of Montecristi and Manta

    Experience the history, culture and traditions of Ecuador as you discover the highlights of Montecristi and Manta.

    Highlights of Montecristi and Manta

    Embark on a drive through the main town of Manta to the small archaeological museum of Banco Central, where you’ll see an exhibit on the culture of Manta.

    Next, you’ll take a drive along the scenic seaside promenade and through the suburbs of Manta to charming Montecristi, home of the famous Panama hat. This beautiful little town is the highlight of the tour. Monticristi still retains the atmosphere and faded elegance of its Spanish heritage.

    On the way, you’ll make a brief stop at the Civic Center and Memorial, Ciudad Alfaro to pause for a moment and take a photo. This complex was built in 2007 to be the site where Ecuador's new Constitution was written.

    Afterwards, you’ll continue to the town of Montecristi, where you’ll stop by the central square which holds a cornucopia of artisan stalls selling straw baskets, jewellery, colourful handicrafts and Panama hats.

    Before returning to Manta, you'll visit the Tagua Factory, where the Tagua nut is processed. The Tagua nut is an ivory like palm nut found in the tropical rainforests of the coastal and Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador. Although first used as buttons, the Tagua is today fashioned into jewellery and figurines by skilled craftsmen into a variety of small, reasonable priced sculptures.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is up to one hour of walking over some uneven surfaces and a maximum of six steps at each venue. Sensible footwear, a hat and sun protection are recommended. The itinerary order may operate in reverse.

    Tour code

    MEC_001

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Leisurely Montecristi

    Explore the picturesque town of Montecristi, birthplace of the Panama hat.

    Leisurely Montecristi

    As you take a leisurely drive along Manta’s promenade, your guide will enlighten you on the history of this area, which was formally the home to pre-Columbian people such as the Valdivia culture.

    A stop will be made at the natural viewpoint of Ciudad Alfaro's Civic Centre and Memorial to enjoy the spectacular views of the coast line, before continuing on to Montecristi.

    The pretty little colonial town of Montecristi still retains the atmosphere and faded elegance of its Spanish heritage. It has a number of craft shops which feature ceramics, wickerwork and Panama hats in a variety of shapes and colours. You will have around 40 minutes’ free time to browse the local shops and market or relax and watch the world go by in the town’s central square.


    This excursion will operate by coach. There are six steps to enter Ciudad Alfaro, however this is optional.

    Tour code

    MEC_002

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    2½ hours

  • Machalilla National Park

    Discover the unique and varied landscape of Machalilla National Park along with its rich cultural heritage.

    Machalilla National Park

    Leaving the pier at Manta, you’ll head south along the ‘route of the sun’ for a two hour journey through amazing landscapes, small fishing villages and tropical forest. At the small Agua Blanca Museum, you’ll see artefacts including ancient burial urns particular to the Manteña culture, traditional tools and wildlife specimens from the surrounding area, whilst learning about the local culture and history.

    After your museum visit, you’ll have time to explore the little village or walk in the forest, giving you an opportunity to see some of the 270 species of birds. Wildlife in this park includes armadillos, deer, and two species of monkeys.

    Next, you’ll make a stop at one of the best lodges in the area for a relaxed lunch by the pool before returning to the ship.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The drive to Agua Blanca takes approximately two hours each way. There is one hour of walking in the Agua Blanca Museum. Hat, swimwear and sun protection are recommended.

    Tour code

    MEC_005

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    8 hours