After chilling on the beach in Máncora for a couple of days, a logical next step would be to travel to Ecuador. Time to leave Peru!
By far the easiest way to do this from Máncora is to take a direct bus to one of the cities in Ecuador. Our first stop was going to be Cuenca, and from Mancora there are several bus companies offering this route. We could’ve done the border crossing on our own, and figure out how to get to Cuenca from the border, but sometimes it’s just best to take the direct option.
All bus companies we checked only offered an overnight option, meaning we would cross the border at around 2/3 AM. The price to Cuenca for 2 people was 273 soles (=€67). We checked multiple agencies, but prices were pretty similar all over, but it’s of course never a bad idea to ask around a bit before commiting.
1. Taking the bus
We booked our tickets with a little agency that is closer to the center of town, but the bus stop for our bus what a little bit further up the street. They didn’t tell us this in advance, so when we arrived to the agency we had to take a short tuk tuk ride to get to the correct spot with all our bags, which was not super practical.
Our bus was also delayed just over 30 minutes, so we were waiting for quite a bit (at least it was dry!). As soon as it arrived, our big bags went in the back and we found our seats with our small backpacks. To my surprise, the bus was basically full.
It would be a few hours until the border, so we settled in and tried to get a little bit of sleep.
2. The border crossing
Between 2 and 3 AM we arrived at the border. Everyone went out and got in line for the passport check. The desks for both the Peru exit and Ecuador entry are in the same room, which makes it easier.
I don’t remember the Peruvian officer asking any questions, he simply put the stamp in my passport, but there were some on the Ecuadorian side. They asked whether or not it was our first time in Ecuador, how long we were staying and what our destination in Ecuador was. It only takes a minute, and then you get a bright pink entry stamp in your passport.
3. Getting to Cuenca
Now, usually, that would be it for the border formalities. However. About an hour outside of Cuenca the bus was stopped by customs police and searched. This took quite a long time.
At some point they called out the number on one of our luggage tickets, so Luis went out to check what it was about, and they were basically wondering why I had 2 travel locks on my luggage. Apparently it made them think I had something to hide, hahaha. They checked my bag and it was all good. But not everyone was that lucky, many bags where taken from the bus to be checked at a different location! Also, several boxes of GUINEA PIGS that someone was trying to import, were confiscated!
All in all, an interesting experience.