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Seaside Serenity and City Convenience: Real Estate in Manta, Ecuador

One of the main appeals of a second home or retirement home in Ecuador is the opportunity to live in a place of great natural beauty on a very small budget. Many expatriates are drawn to Ecuador's beautiful Pacific beaches. A seaside lifestyle is especially appealing to expatriates from northern countries where beachfront real estate is prohibitively expensive, and many find themselves buying real estate in Ecuador for this reason.

However, many of the rural beachfront areas of Ecuador are lacking in some of the modern conveniences, such as paved streets, air conditioning, or speedy internet connections, that North Americans and Europeans are accustomed to. As with any rural area, moving to one of the smaller beachfront communities in Ecuador has the potential to leave expatriates feeling a little isolated. What are the options, then, for a prospective second homeowner or retiree? Many find that Manta, Ecuador real estate strikes a great compromise.

A small city of around 200,000 people, Manta is one of the nation's most important port cities. Its history dates back to pre-Columbian times, and the local indigenous people have a reputation as skilled shipwrights. Today, Manta is a major economic center for the fishing industry as well as the manufacturing industry. Much "Chilean" sea bass is actually caught near Manta, as is a large amount of tuna. Montecristi, a nearby town, is also the home of traditionally-made Panama hats – yes, the name is a misnomer! Manta also a tourism hub, with large cruise liners taking advantage of the deep-water port and the beautiful beaches near the city.

Unlike smaller Ecuadorean coastal towns, Manta boasts at least one large, modern supermarket, a contemporary shopping center, and a cinema that shows films in English. In fact, this city has a lively cultural life that includes an annual film festival. In recent years, it's also become known as a great destination for dining out, with an abundance of fresh seafood and a variety of restaurants. (Try dining along the boardwalk at El Murcielago, one of the area's most popular beaches.) Ecuador as a whole offers incredible values for those used to living on the U.S. dollar: as elsewhere in the nation, it's possible to eat at a nice restaurant for less than $10 per person.

Also, as with Ecuador in general, those looking for Manta, Ecuador real estate will find that property is surprisingly affordable. In Manta itself, there are a number of oceanfront condo buildings, and modern units with balconies overlooking the Pacific can easily be found for under $200,000.

As might be expected of a seaside city, life in Manta revolves around the beach. In addition to El Murcielago with its popular boardwalk, several other beaches are popular with both locals and tourists. This part of Ecuador is a great spot for surfing, which is popular here. Because of the area's steady winds, these beaches are also excellent kitesurfing and windsurfing spots. Diving and sport fishing round out the area's extensive watersports offerings. Those looking to live a seaside lifestyle with city amenities, culture, and conveniences may find all of those things within easy reach, at an extremely affordable price, in Manta.