The Southern Coast of Ecuador stretches south of Manta in Manabi through the new Santa Elena province to Guayas and El Oro.
The highlight is Ecuador’s only protected coastal zone, Machalilla National Park. Further south are the busier beach resorts of La Ruta del Sol (The Route of the Sun). Most famous is the surfer’s sweet spot, Montañita, with some of Ecuador’s best waves on the coast and a lively, Bohemian atmosphere.
About three hours inland by bus is Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil. Although still not a very popular tourist destination for foreigners, the city has undergone an award-winning redevelopment in recent years. With a stunning waterfront , new museums and glitzy malls, there is more than enough to keep tourists busy for a couple of days en route to the beach or the Galapagos. South of Guayaquil the highway soon reaches the most convenient crossing to the Peruvian border at Huaquillas.