When flying to Ecuador from another country you have two airport options: Fly into either Quito (airport code UIO) or Guayaquil (GYE).
To get to the central coast where we are located, we normally recommend flying into Quito and then taking a short (25-30 min) domestic flight to Manta (MEC). Unfortunately, there are no domestic flights between Guayaquil and Manta so Quito is your only option if you want to fly.
However, over the years, we’ve had a number of friends and clients have trouble with the altitude of Quito which sits at 9,350 ft or 2800 m above sea level; one client even required brief hospitalization. So, if you think you might be susceptible to altitude sickness, your best bet if possible is to fly to Guayaquil.
If you do arrive to Guayaquil and want a safe, reliable, and inexpensive means of traveling to the central coast there is an express van service called the “Manta Express” that runs between Manta (and Portoviejo) and Guayaquil.
Here are the Manta Express “need to knows”:
- The service offers multiple trips each way daily, beginning as early as 5am and ending at 7:30pm.
- The trip takes between 3 – 3.5 hours.
- The cost is $10 per person or $8 each if you are aged 65+ with Ecuadorian residency.
- Reservations at least 1 day ahead are generally necessary. Note: the folks at Manta Express only speak Spanish. The bilingual representative at the information booth at the Guayaquil airport can assist you in making your reservation. Another option is to use Google translate to send them your translated reservation details via their contact form on their website.
- The van is air-conditioned.
- The van seats ten people comfortably. Leg room for the taller guys may be a little tight. Luggage is strapped to the top of the van and covered with a tarp.
- The van typically makes one brief stop where passengers can use the restroom and grab a snack.
Here are the Manta Express office locations and phone numbers as dialed within Ecuador (visit this post for more details about calling Ecuador from abroad):
- Blvd 9 de Octubre and Del Ejercito (Avenida 4) (near the Hotel Oro Verde of Guayaquil).
- Landline: (04)2532027, Cell phone: 0996333061 or 0994200289
- Malecón y Calle 19 at the Central Comercial Plaza Jocay (just past the museum)
- Landline: (05)261-1016 / 261-0567, FAX: 261-1763,, Cell: 0999025094 or 0985147384 or 0991563000
- Pedro Gual y Garcia Moreno (Hotel Cabrera).
- Landline: (05)2656621 Cell: 0993852655