Explore Guayaquil and the southern coast Guayaquil South to Machala and the border Puyango petrified forest Huaquillas and the Peruvian border Playas and the Santa Elena Peninsula Ruta del Sol Share West from Santa Elena towards Salinas, a roadside petrol refinery signals your arrival in LA LIBERTAD, the largest town on the peninsula and the site of a busy produce market. With its untidy streets and unattractive beach, there’s no reason to stop off here other than to catch a connecting bus (every 30min during daylight hours) north up the coast road, the Ruta del Sol, from the bus station on Avenida 8 and Calle 17, Barrio Eloy Alfaro. Other destinations are serviced by bus companies from their offices in the town centre clustered near 9 de Octubre and Guayaquil: Coop Libertad Peninsular and CICA run alternate buses to Guayaquil (every 15min; 2hr 30min); and Trans Esmeraldas has three nightly buses to Quito (10hr). Five kilometres south of La Libertad – but reached by a longer, more circuitous road branching off the highway a few kilometres west of town – is the infinitely more appealing PUNTA CARNERO, a lonely, windswept promontory commanding superb views of the fifteen-kilometre stretch of beach flanking it. Pounding waves and strong currents make swimming at the beach unadvisable, but this is still a fabulous place to treat yourself to sun and solitude.