On October 7th, 2014 we headed to Manta to explore the beaches of Manabi Province. Since we lost our beloved Milo (our cat) to kidney disease on September 22, we decided that we needed to get away. And since we no longer have our baby boy waiting at home for us to return, why not make our time away count, and visit the region of Manabi for one month. With that said, we hopped on a 10-hour Flota Imbabura night time bus run, leaving Atuntaqui at 8:30 pm, arriving in Manta at around 6:30 am on the 8th. Grueling, but at least we don’t have to do a repeat of that until one month from now.
Our friend Wayne from Colorado, lives in Manta, so he was able to get us a nice room with a small kitchenette in the same building that he lives in and almost directly below his own apartment. In fact, we’re able to access his wifi from our place. But as far as the rest of the expenses for utilities go, including Directv, all are included in our $140.00/month rent. Not too shabby!
The building is very secure, clean, and has two attractive courtyards for tenants to enjoy. The showers are hot and toilet paper can be put into the toilet (that is something that is not always a convenience in Ecuador). Too, the landlady spent many years in the States, so her English is perfect — another plus. Oh, and not to mention, good air conditioning. Although, during this time of year, air conditioning along the coast should not needed for most of the day.
So then, Manta will be our home base as we explore the Manabi region. We have heard plenty of negative reports about Manta, but so far, so good. Our friend Wayne, whose been in Manta for about one year, said that even he has seen quite a few changes. One change: The street dogs have been cleaned up. People are even leaving their full trash bags right on the side walks for the garbage trucks to pick up, and, we have seen none ripped open yet. Garbage day is 7 days per week, according to him. And, contrary to what we’ve heard, Manta doesn’t smell bad either. So apparently, whatever it was that created the bad odor, has been cleaned up too?
There is also a lot of construction going on in Manta — as is the case with the rest of Ecuador. Manta has one mall, but another is in construction. And, of course, the attractive malecón area too, is booming — with it’s new waterfront condos beckoning Americans, vacationers and investors who have money to spare.
At night Manta seems to come alive even more, as cute eateries, bar and grill places, and karaoke bars start opening up. Around the corner from us is a German bakery, and on the other side somewhere in Manta is a French bakery. Update: (Oops — the French guy may have closed his bakery and is now baking bread for restaurants?)
One interesting sight that we saw during our first afternoon, while strolling the beach, by the Malecón (boardwalk) in Manta, were these birds, tons of them, circling around close together just above the sea, right off shore. Then suddenly, the entire cluster would disappear, taking a nose dive into the water in unison. What a sight. We were told they were the blue-footed boobies — but we’re not really sure.
There are also four very healthy resident kitties that belong to our landlady. And one little girl is super affectionate! You can bet that Fred and I are doting on her, even allowing her to come into our room for short visits.
So anyway, there will be another entry about Manta after we stay here for one month.