Manta City Tour And The Artisans Of EcuadorExplore > Ecuador > Manta > Manta City Tour And The Artisans Of Ecuador
Explore the city of Manta, and then see how the Panama hat and Tagua buttons are made!
Manta, Ecuador's second port after Guayaquil, is a busy town that sweeps around a bustling bay. Located in the province of Manabì, the area offers a wide range of cultural and natural beauties. The western section of the city comprises steep, narrow streets and the Malecón, and a constant breeze from across the bay makes it pleasant to walk along there even in the evening for a drink at one of the many small bars.
Your tour will begin with a drive through the Malecón, where a constant breeze makes it pleasant to walk at all times of day. Continue past the new town and residential areas, home to some of the wealthy Ecuadorian exporters and industrialists. Next, you will learn about the ancient cultures of the coast - Machalilla, Chorrera and Valdivia - by visiting the small but charming archeological museum. The oldest signs of human settlement in South America were found along the coastline, south of Manta.
Next up is Montecristi, located only 20 km away below an imposing hill. This colonial town was founded in 1628, when many of the inhabitants of Manta fled inland to avoid the frequent pirate plundering to which the port was subjected. Montecristi is renowned as the center of the Panama hat industry (contrary to popular belief, they are not made in Panama!). Visit some of the artisans here, and watch as they use "paja toquilla," a special straw obtained from certain palms of the Ecuadorian coast, to knit these special hats. Of course, there will be time for shopping if you would like a souvenir! Also visit the town's main square to see the statue of Eloy Alfaro, the famous President of Ecuador who was born here in the early 1900s.
Upon returning to Manta, you will make a stop at the Tagua button factory. "Vegetable Ivory" is the name used for the Tagua nut, found in the rain forest in parts of Colombia and Ecuador. Although it is soft at first, when dried out it becomes as hard as ivery and can be carved as such. Seeing the process of peeling, cutting, and then making buttons, sculptures and souvenirs with this vegetable ivory is particularly interesting.
All transportation, a great English-speaking guide, entrance fees, and bottled water are all included. Food, beverages, and gratuity are not included.
Please note that the Tagua button factory is closed on weekends.
Days offered: 7 days a week