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Montecristi Panama Hat Tour

(11 customer reviews)

Montecristi Panama Hat Tour

4 to 6 people 10% Dcto
7 or more people 15% Dcto

Montecristi Panama Hat Tour

Our Montecristi Panama Hat Tour is a favorite among cruise ship passengers and tourists alike. Spend a day immersed in the local culture, history, food, and drink of Manta, Ecuador.


Begin your adventure along Manta’s main coast road, visiting the historic fish market and traditional wooden shipyard. Witness the unchanged daily life of fishermen and marvel at the massive wooden skeletons of fishing trawlers being built.

Historic Fish Market and Montecristi

The fish market is the heartbeat of Manta’s local economy. The daily routines of the fishermen have remained unchanged for generations. You’ll be fascinated by the massive wooden skeletons of fishing trawlers being constructed right on the beach.

Next, travel to Montecristi, the birthplace of the famous Panama hats. Nestled at the foot of the mountain, this town is rich in history and tradition.

Local Culture and History

Explore the museum and mausoleum of Ecuador’s most celebrated president, Eloy Alfaro. Learn about his revolutionary life, filled with intrigue and a dramatic demise. Your expert guide will take you through the museum, mausoleum, and local artisan exhibitions. You have the option to walk down the wooden deck promenade into the town center or ride down on the bus.

Once in the town center, your guide will show you the Panama hat makers’ workshops and stores, as well as a variety of local artisan goods. You’ll also see some of the last examples of traditional wooden architecture in the central plaza next to the cathedral.

Santa Marianita Beach and Optional Stops

Now we’ll head to the relaxing, scenic beachfront village of Santa Marianita. A favorite for both locals and expats, it offers a wide selection of the best bars and restaurants.

Relaxing Beach Experience

Take a break with a cold drink and order some spectacular local delicacies, from the freshest seafood to marvelous Criollo dishes. Enjoy a paddle, swim, or walk down the golden coast, or simply relax in a beachfront hammock.

Before returning to Manta, we’ll make a quick stop at a clifftop viewpoint for some lovely photos. If time permits, we’ll visit a lovely little artisan chocolate factory with an amazing coffee shop built around their production line. Enjoy hot chocolate, coffee, and other local products like wines, spirits, and sauces.


  • Pick-up: From Port, Hotel, or Agreed location.
  • Historic Fish Market: Drive past the market and traditional wooden boat builders with a 20-minute stop.
  • Ciudad Alfaro Museum: Visit the history and culture museum and mausoleum to President Eloy Alfaro (90 mins).
  • Montecristi Town Center: Explore the historic town center, Panama hat makers’ demonstrations, and artisan goods (60 mins).
  • Santa Marianita Beach: Scenic beach village with local cuisine at a beachfront bar and restaurant (60 mins).
  • Optional Photo Stop: At the hillside viewpoint on the way back to Manta (10 mins).
  • Optional Stop: At the artisan chocolate factory if there is time.
  • Return to Manta: Total tour time around 5 to 6 hours.

What’s Included

  • English-speaking guide
  • Licensed driver
  • Air-conditioned modern vehicle (Minivan, Minibus, etc.)
  • All entrance fees to attractions
  • Bottled water and local snacks on the bus
  • Pickup and drop-off at the port or hotel
  • Lunch stop (food and drinks not included)


  1. Do you pick us up and drop us at the port? Yes, we ensure timely pickup and drop-off from the port. We plan to return at least 90 minutes before the ALL ABOARD call and have a backup bus ready for any mechanical issues.
  2. Is this tour suitable for somebody in a wheelchair? Yes, all areas are wheelchair accessible.
  3. Will we have time for lunch? Yes, ample time is provided to enjoy lunch.
  4. What if we are late getting off the cruise ship? We will wait for the entire group. If there are a few stragglers, they can catch up with the main group in a taxi with one of our staff members.
  5. What currency do we need? US dollars are the currency used. For lunch and personal expenses, $100 cash should suffice. Tips are not included but appreciated and can be given directly to the guides and drivers.
  6. How do I find the shuttle at the port? The port provides shuttle buses from the dock to the passenger terminal. We will be waiting in our red uniforms by the door with name cards. You will see us immediately. For more details, read our blog “What is Manta Cruise Ship Port Like”.
Reviews (11)

11 reviews for Montecristi Panama Hat Tour

  1. Kirsty B

    On our first day in Manta, this was a great way to get our bearings and experience an insiders view of local everyday cultural.
    Vince was our excellent guide – very knowledgeable and personable. My sister and I are older but had no problem keeping up with this day walking and bus tour.
    Go and get a real up close local experience- with delicious food and drink and history. Thank you Vince.

  2. Amy Nigel

    Our tour guide for the day was Angel. He was very friendly, had a great knowledge of all things Manta and made a great effort to get our group interacting. We had five in our group and it was a lovely number. Overall, the tour has the potential to be great but it was a very rainy day and we were not prepared to get wet.

  3. Kieran

    Our tour guide, Tom, was very knowledgable and pleasant to be with. My husband and I learned so much about the history of Manta. Tom was able to answer all of our questions about life today as well as historical heroes in Ecuador. We enjoyed the day very much–a great tour!

  4. Martin Shiner

    An amazing experience beyond what I expected. Our guide, Carolina, a University student, was enthusiastic, very knowledgeable, personable and with impeccable English. We had a terrific lunch, and best of all really learned about Manta – the history and culture and how things work from a local. Highly recommended.

  5. Glen Ronalds

    My dad (retired) and I found ourselves an additional day in Manta and did this trip to fill the day, neither of us is big museum fans so this was the alternative but this was just right for us. Lots of open and spacious enviroments. It was not a strenuous walk so people of all ages can do this.

  6. Evelyn Steams

    Great walking tour. We went to montecristi today and met Bryan. He makes pthe panama hats with his family. He introduced me to his whole family. He even put one on and did a showed us how to where them and care for them. Very special to meet him

  7. Crystal

    We had a nice time on this tour. The only problem was the bus, which broke down coming back from the beach at the end of the day. We were very worried we would miss the ship’s departure. Thankfully they had a backup bus that picked us up within about 45 minutes and we were back on our way. Thanks to Tom for all his help. Very professional and friendly.

  8. Karen A

    We loved every minute of our time with a Eric. He knew answers to all of our questions and took us to a parade/festival that only happens once a year. We got to see and eat things that we would have never ever had a chance to see if we didn’t book this tour. It was worth every cent. Even my 21 and 18 year olds loved it! We did, however, get a nasty stomach bug after the tour, but I think that was our fault for eating the street food.

  9. Gemma R

    This experience was phenomenal. Our tour guide Chris, made sure my boyfriend and I had a blast from beginning to end. I got my hat at a bargain price too. The experience is authentic and full of great things to see, food to eat, and people to meet. Pura vida!

  10. Keia J

    I was a solo traveler that took this tour on 13th of Jan 2019. It was an amazing experience! Not only was this my first time in Manta it was my first international trip ever! I wish I could remember my guide’s name but he did an amazing job making me comfortable and explaining the history of the country. I will admit being from Atlanta, Georgia it was a bit of a culture shock but It was a very educational and fun way to explore the city and learn the culture. I definitely recommend this tour!

  11. Pat Bledsoe

    What a terrific tour. We walked the beach front and saw the local cuisine. It was amazing to see all the people and fish. From the waterfront, we headed off through the forest to a small town to see Artisan goods in the city. It was fabulous. off to the tour of the Panama Hat factory. We enjoyed lunch which was terrific. We enjoyed this trip.

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4 to 6 people 10% Dcto

7 or more people 15% Dcto



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