1. FIRST AND FOREMOST – Hopefully, you still have & remember you’re “Common Sense”. Ecuador is different and “Common Sense” will assist you in having a great time in Ecuador. By this, I mean, look where you are walking, look before crossing a road/street, pay attention to where you are, have patience, don’t get upset if locals don’t understand and REALIZE you are in a foreign country. Don’t advertise you are a tourist with money. Also, the convenience of having everything at your fingertips back home is not here in Ecuador. You have to pay attention. “COMMON SENSE” ENJOY, IT’S EASY ONCE YOU UNDERSTAND.
2. SECONDLY, check out the web site www.mantaexpatsonline.com for a lot of the basic information; then read the information below.
3. Things To Arrange Before You Leave – Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in and emergency to include hotel(s) information and contact(s) in Ecuador, if any. Make 2 (two) photocopies (color copies) of your Passport Identification Page, airline tickets, driver’s license and the credit cards that you plan to bring with you. Leave one copy of this information with family or friend at home; pack the other copies in a place separate from where you carry the originals. Optional, SCAN a copy of your Passport ID Page, Airline Tickets, Driver’s License and maybe Credit Cards that you plan to bring and EMAIL to yourself or a family member and/or friend, so if lost or stolen you have another backup plan for getting access to your documents while abroad through access of a computer to your emails.
4. Credit cards do work here in Manta & Ecuador. Make sure to check with your credit card companies and/or banks to inform them you are going to be using your card out of the country. Ask your credit card company how to report a lost or stolen credit card from abroad and if you want to set a limit for “debt withdraw and/or purchase”. Get a phone to call the company from overseas.
5. Once in Ecuador secure your originals of your documents if possible and carry your color copies.
6. You don’t need any of your gas cards, grocery cards, etc. So empty out your wallet.
7. You don’t need any of your expensive jewelry. Leave it home. In Ecuador, we don’t dress to impress.
8. Cell Phone – you might check with your existing service carrier about international service. Most are very expensive and not worth getting. If you have a laptop, Magicjack and/or Skype might be the cheapest way to communicate back to the US or Canada. Most smart cell phones have SIM cards and you might just need to purchase a local cell service SIM card and place it your phone, IF your cell phone is UNLOCKED.
If visiting Ecuador for a period of time you can purchase a local cell phone for about $40 with local cell service (Claro or Movistar cell providers). For cell minutes, when you purchase the cell phone tell them you want $10 cell minutes (diez, minutos así celulares). This will give you plenty of cell minutes for a while. Most expats have local cell phones. This way to can communicate with expats you meet while in Ecuador.
When necessary, I can actually call back to the US with my Ecuador cell service. Dial 001-area code-phone number. It's cheaper than most US international cell service. I use this when checking on my son during football games and special occasions. Just to check in not to carry on a conversation.
9. Laptop – most condominium buildings/hotels/hostels have internet service. However, you might need to check with whomever you are dealing with in regards to accommodations to determine what if any, internet service and/or WiFi is available. If the internet service is preexisting you can plug into an existing modem or log onto the WiFi. Some restaurant also have WiFi service.
10. Communicate back home – Magicjack; go to www.magicjack.com and check out the information. There is a new Magicjack “Plus/Go/Express” which is worth getting. The new feature allows you to plug directly into the modem rather than into your laptop/computer. Either way is fine. You can buy it from the internet or check out any Radio Shack or other carrier in your area. Once you receive the Magicjack follow the easy directions to setup a local phone number from your area into your laptop before you come down to Ecuador.
11. If you have Magicjack you can either use this connected to your computer and/or get an analog or wireless house phone. And, if you have the Magicjack Go/Express you can use on a mobile device (laptop/cell phone). This will be used as your telephone with the Magicjack. It’s neat, just like using your house phone.
12. Magicjack calls to the US & Canada are free. If you plan to call another country there are additional costs.
13. Download “Skype” software. It is free from the internet. Easy to download, setup an ID account. Skype service is free unless you want other options for “group calling, conference calling, etc. If your laptop does not have a built in camera you will need to buy a remote camera that will plug into your laptop USB port. However, when using Skype, you do not have to activate video. You can call without using a camera. If you want the person to see you when calling you will need a camera. Naturally, whomever you call will have to have a camera on their computer/laptop in order for you to see them. Again, optional.
There are also other internet software programs now available for communicating back home.
14. Books / Reading material – if you love to read invest in a Kindle or similar electronic reading device. Basically, there are no English reading books readily available around Manta. An electric reading device is well worth the cost if you are a reader. TRUST ME!!!
15. Planning to rent a car? Check with your insurance company to determine what if any coverage you have for renting a car in South America. Rental car insurance is expensive too, as in the states. We have Avis & Budget rental service providers here in Ecuador.
16. Medicines and Vitamins---- If you are taking some unusual vitamins or medicines, bring enough for your stay. If the vitamins or medicine is a common type (baby aspirin, fish oil, vitamin C, etc.) you will be able to purchase locally in the Pharmacy.
17. Be aware that this country is located on the Equator and the Sun is very intense, so get yourself some good lotion and plan on wearing a hat when outside, if you have fair skin, bring some light long sleeve shirts. In Manta, you will not need a jacket or heavy clothing. Shorts, flipflops short sleeve shirts. If you plan on visiting the mountains (Quito or Cuenca) you will need a light jacket, long pants, etc.
18. Money and/or Cash. In Ecuador most medium to large business, restaurants and hotel accept credit cards. It is when you are on the road and buying items from small vendors, restaurants and some hostels that you will need cash. Ecuador uses US currency. You can bring $100 and $50 bills but in small cities/villages it may be difficult getting change unless your purchase is close to the amount. Small business cannot make change for $100 and $50 bills. Banks here will exchange $100’s & $50’s for $20's, $10's & $5. The dollar coin is the most popular coin in Ecuador. Paper dollars are around but the dollar coin is what you will see the most of. If we see paper dollars we know visitors must be in town :).
19. Some advice when paying for anything especially in small villages or vendors along the roads try to pay as close to the cost as possible. In other words, don’t pay with a $20 bill for an item that cost $1 or so. Reason, most do not carry a lot of change. Depending on the business, they might not be able to provide that much change back. It just helps them out.
20. Check your local book stores for a dictionary “English – Spanish”. It helps to have one handy, but Ecuadorians try and some do understand a little English. Ecuadorians are great & friendly.
21. Lastly, have a safe trip and we hope to see you here in Manta / Manabí, Ecuador.
Terminal Terrestre de Manta is just before the airport via Puerto Aeropuerto
Numerous expats have experienced the Reina bus trip to and from Manta / Guayaquil bus terminal and the Guayaquil airport to fly to and from the US numerous times.
Guayaquil bus Terminal (terrestre) Look for the ticket booth"Reina Del Camino" (ticket booth #29, look for the ticket booth labeled with their logo)
Guayaquil Reina Del Camino buses normally board in the area numbered #111 (double check the signs and/or show your ticket and ask)
Your bus ticket will be white/original and yellow/copy to include a short white ticket stub for the boarding area. The bus ticket will have: date, time in 24hrs ~ 3pm = 15:00, destination, bus number, and seat number(s) assigned on the bus
There are several buses that run between Manta & Guayaquil. This information is with the Reina bus service , which my wife and I have experienced along with numerous expats & visitors.
Reina buses are straight through to & from Manta & Guayaquil. Reliable, nice, AC and safe.
The Reina Del Camino bus runs to & from Manta / Guayaquil numerous times daily. In Manta, the Reina Bus Terminal Terrestre de Manta is just before the airport via Puerto Aeropuerto. A taxi ride from the central area in Manta to this terminal is about $2.00 (it might be a little more with several suitcases).
In Guayaquil, the bus terminal is next to the airport (Avenida de Las Americas/Avenida Pedro Mendez Gilbert, Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil). A Taxi ride between the bus terminal / airport in Guayaquil is about 10 minutes & cost about $5.
Note: With limited Spanish just write Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil on a piece of paper and show the taxi driver. You shouldn't have any problems. Most taxis at the airport and/or bus terminal routinely work these locations. They are safe, but always check out the seals on the taxi door and maybe make a note of the taxi number, just in case. You pick the taxi you feel comfortable riding in. This travel for expats/tourist is a normal & safe choice. Just use your "common sense".
At the Reina del Camino bus terminal in Manta you will see the schedule of the numerous times the bus departs for Guayaquil on the ticket window (below). There you can purchase your bus ticket(s) to Guayaquil about $6.50 each). Your bus ticket will be “white/original and yellow/copy”. The bus ticket will have: date, time in 24hrs. 3pm = 15:00, destination, bus number#, and seat number(s) assigned on the bus, etc. Check your ticket information to make sure you have the correct ticket for the date, time, and to where you are going. You can purchase your bus ticket(s) several days in advance.
Bus departs from Manta: Destination Guayaquil:
2:30, 5:00; 5:30, 6:30, 7:30; 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30 & 19:30. About 3 1/2 hours to Guayaquil. Times are subject to change but there are several departure times.
Suggestion: Schedule a time to arrive in Guayaquil before dark giving yourself daylight to get to where you need to go. Spend the night in Manta and leave the next morning.
NOTE: Ecuador uses the 24 hour time, so 10:00 is 10:00am; 12:00 is 12:00pm; 15:30 is 3:30pm; 16:30 is 4:30pm, 20:30 is 8:30pm, etc. So, when purchasing your bus ticket(s) remember to use the correct time 24 hour time.
Bus departs from Manta: Destination Quito:
6:15, 8:15, 10:15, 12:00, 14:00, 20:00, 21:00, 22:00 & 23:00
If arriving at the Guayaquil bus terminal (terrestre) by way of Reina bus from Manta.
Exit the bus making sure you have your luggage (you might also use one of the luggage attendants at the bus terminal to assist with hauling your luggage on a handcart). Walk into the terminal proceeding straight through until to have reached the center of the terminal (nice shopping area). Looking to your right you will see the Exit / Entrance to the terminal (if time allows there are numerous nice stores to shop). Once outside the terminal there will be several Taxis available (remember to make note of the Taxi number, etc. JUST IN CASE). If going to the airport, again it’s about a 10 minute / about $5 ride.
If arriving at the Terrestre de Guayaquil to leave by way of Reina bus to Manta. Once at the bus terminal walk in the main entrance. The area will look like a shopping mall (very nice). Walk 2/3's the way through the shopping area and then go to the left and the next corridor over. You will notice numerous bus company ticket booths for obtaining bus tickets to many different cities in Ecuador. Look for the ticket booth"Reina Del Camino" (ticket booth #29, look for the ticket booth labeled with their logo). There you can purchase your bus ticket to Manta (around $5.50 each). The schedule is on the wall with buses running numerous times daily to Manta.You will need to show your Passport and/or Cedula for ID on your tickets. Booth #29
Once you have purchased your ticket(s) you will need to go to the 3rd floor (same side as ticket booth) to board the bus; however, if you have time before leaving you might want to shop around (1st floor stores for shopping and food court in the bus terminal). Once in the boarding area you are stuck until you get on the bus. At least 20 minutes before your departure time go to the bus boarding area. The boarding is on the 3rd floor on the left side of the terminal. If you have several suitcases there are elevators and/or escalators to the 3rd floor at each end of the terminal (you might also use one of the luggage attendants at the bus terminal to assist with hauling your luggage on a handcart. He will follow you to the ticket booth and to boarding, if necessary). Once into the boarding area you will see poles with numbered signs on the top. Reina Del Camino buses normally board in the area numbered "#111” (double check the signs and/or show your ticket and ask). The sign should say Reina Del Camino #111... Your bus ticket it will indicate the Bus #. Check to ensure you are boarding the correct bus.
Your bus ticket will be white/original and yellow/copy to include a short white ticket stub for the boarding area. The bus ticket will have: date, time in 24hrs ~ 3pm = 15:00, destination, bus number, and seat number(s) assigned on the bus (see below). Check your ticket information before leaving the Reina ticket booth to make sure you have the correct ticket for the date, time, and to where you are going.
The short white ticket stub is to get you into the bus boarding area (about $.50). The Reina bus ticket (white & yellow) is shown when boarding the bus. If you have luggage/suitcases they will be placed under the bus. The bus company attendant will give you a ticket with a number on it for each piece of luggage, once placed under the bus.
NOTE: For carry-on items (pocketbook, backpack, laptop case, etc.) when boarding the bus you will be ask to open your carry-on so they can inspected the contents inside (no weapons). They will do a light search of your person before getting on the bus. Safety first.
NOTE: Keep your valuables, pocketbook, backpack, laptop case, etc. in your seat with you not under and/or over head.
Once on the road to and from Manta / Guayaquil a Reina attendant on the bus will walk through and ask for the "pink" copy of your bus ticket and/or may take the pink copy when boarding. The bus Reina bus is an “Express” route to and from Manta / Guayaquil. About 3 hours & 30 minutes. There may be a very quick stop in Jipijapa (1 hr from Manta) along with a passenger pickup (vendor) to sell fresh hot baked goods (GOOD STUFF, cost about $.25 - $.35 each).
At the bus station in Manta there will be Taxis available. If you do not speak Spanish have the place and address of where you are staying on a piece of paper for the Taxis driver. Manta people are great, cost for most places in the Manta city area will be $3-$8; ask Cuánto Cuesta - How much is. (if heading out of the city, it will be more).
Bus Departures from Guayaquil to Manta (Time 6:00pm + 12 = 18:00 Hours)
2:00am, 4:15, 6:15, 6:55, 8:30, 9:30, 10:15, 11:00, 12:20pm, 14:20, 15:05, 16:00, 17:00, 17:30, 18:20, 19:15, 20:30, 21:30, 22:30 (pm). About 3 1/2 hours to Manta. (times are subject to change, but there will still be numerous departing times)
Suggestion: Schedule a time to arrive in Manta before dark giving yourself daylight to get to where you need to go. Spend the night in Guayaquil and leave the next morning.
Guayaquil: Destination Portoviejo
13:30pm, 16:30pm, 18:30pm
Guayaquil: Destination Bahia
8:00am, 9:45am, 11:25am, 12:50pm, 14:25pm, 16:45pm, 19:00pm, 21:00pm, 23:00pm
The Guayaquil airport is nice, clean and easy to get checked in and out of. There are several shops for buying the last time items before leaving to include restaurants. When flying into Guayaquil airport customs/immigration takes about an hour if the plane is full. So, if you have arrangements for someone to pick you up at the airport, plan accordingly.
PS: I know personal drivers (bilingual) with car / van here in Manta for a personal ride to or from Guayaquil / Manta. This transportation to or from Guayaquil / Manta airport / bus terminal cost about $80 - $120 (3 hr. ride).