Day 1 Monday: Quito - Manta
In the morning you transfer from your hotel in Quito to the national airport and fly down to Manta on the Pacific coast. We will pick you up at the airport and take you to the Hotel Oro Verde, when you’ll get the chance for your first dip in the Pacific.
Day 2 Tuesday: Free Day at the Pacific Coast
This day is free for you to explore, starting with the comforts provided by the Oro Verde Hotel Manta. The hotel faces the ocean and has direct access to Oro Verde Hotel Mantathe long stretch of clean beach that separates you from the warm waters of the Pacific.
The Oro Verde also provides a wide range of additional amenities; swimming pool, restaurants, bars, business center, casino, fitness center with Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, massage room and gym. The services are of an equally high standard, as you would expect from a fives star establishment. Manta itself is a lively maritime city that has prospered over the last decade due to the increasing importance of its thriving port, giving the city a cosmopolitan flair. The constant sea breeze tempers the intense sun, making the city’s ocean-front avenues pleasant places to stroll.
The centre of the town, built on a hill, has conserved some of the older wooden buildings to create a rather bizarre architectural mélange.
Day 03 Wednesday: Montecristi
In the morning you leave Manta and drive south along the coast towards the Machalilla National Park. On your way you will visit Montecristi, an old colonial town located 30 kilometres west of Portoviejo, founded in 1628 and the birthplace of the ex-President Eloy Alfaro.
Montecristi is famed for the production of Panama hats, the best quality of which, the "Superfinos", when turned upside down should hold water! For Montecristiover 100 years, most people have been ignoring the fact that the Panama hat actually comes from Ecuador. The error is due to the workers constructing the Panama Canal, who discovered these hats were the most convenient to protect them against the glaring sun, and since then, they named the hats after the place of purchase, and not their place of origin. The hat is made out of a plant called "Carludovica Palmata", which grows in the western hills of Guayaquil. These plants are boiled, then dried and finally taken to the weaving centres where it takes up to three months to manufacture the finest of these hats.
After a look round and time to make a purchase or two, you will reach the Mantaraya Lodge for lunch. In the afternoon you will visit the little but informative archaeological Museum of Salango, which houses artefacts of the ancient cultures from the region, found locally during excavations in and around the town. Dinner and accommodation at the Mantaraya Lodge.
Day 04 Thursday: Visit Isla de la Plata
After breakfast you will drive to the fishing village of Puerto Lopez. Here you will board a small yacht, which takes you to the amazing Isla de la Plata in the Pacific Ocean. This is a closer alternative to the Galápagos Islands, where sea lions and Blue-footed boobies are amongst the main characters to be viewed. You can also observe frigate birds, Red-footed and Masked boobies and tropicbirds among others.
After a walk around the island’s guided trail there will be time to explore the depths and the sea life whilst snorkelling. In the late afternoon you will return to Puerto López and on to the Mantaraya Lodge. Dinner and accommodation at the lodge.
Day 05 Friday: Return Journey or Guayaquil
Today you will drive back to Manta and fly back to Quito. Or, an additional option is to continue your travel driving south along the Ruta del Sol (the route of the sun) along the Pacific Coast towards Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, which is also the financial, commercial and industrial centre of the country.