We had to get an intercultural visa so we could stay in Ecuador for longer. So, we had to cross the border from Ecuador to Tumbes, Peru and then back into Ecuador again.
Cuenca to Machala
There are 2 bus companies that leave every hour or every other hour.
The â€œRutas Orensesâ€ company has some of the nicest buses I’ve been on in Ecuador with air conditioning and foot rests.
$5 for 4 hours.
In Machala we caught the CIFA bus direct to Tumbes. They start at 7am and leave about every 2 hours. There are 2 different classes of buses. The special service is a double decker with air and foot rests. The others are more normal Ecuadorian style buses.
This is the order of what happens when crossing the border
Machala â€“ >Ecuadorian border post (1 + hour)
Ecuadorian border post -> Huaquillas (15 min)
Huaquillas - > Peruvian Border post (15 min)
Peruvian Border post - > Tumbes (15 min)
So, as you can see this is not a typical border situation where the 2 borders are across a bridge from each other. There is quite a distance between them. This is probably part of why it is so easy to be taken advantage of while crossing this border. If you don’t have the proper transportation it is really easy for someone to try to â€œhelp outâ€
The BEST advice I can give is to take the CIFA bus across the border. It is really cheap. $2.50 and much more secure than trying to do it on your own.
Either the helper on the bus or someone at the border will wait with the people who are getting their passports stamped. That way someone is around kind of watching out for you.
We had a problem leaving Ecuador. The border patrol officer claimed that our extension stamps weren’t valid. We had to wait for his supervisor and make copies of our passports for them. The bus helper showed us where the copy machine was. The others got on the bus and left us at the border. He waited with us and once we were sorted out helped us get on the next CIFA bus that passed by.
On our way back from Peru the next bus that was available wasn’t going all the way into Machala. There is a giant round about 15 minutes outside of town. Buses both local and long distance pass by there constantly. They told us we had to get off there in order to get a bus to Cuecna. We were lucky to get on one almost immediately after we were dropped off, but a person could potentially wait for about 30 minutes for the next bus to come along depending on where they were going.
One other piece of advice would be to try and go before 11am. On our way into Peru there weren’t very many people hanging around trying to get you to change money, take a ride, help you out etc. On our way back at 3pm the place was hoping with them.
We stayed 1 night in Machala.
Hotel Mosquera Internacional
Price - $20 for a double (actually triple. All rooms have 3 beds) with a private bath.
Cleanliness â€“ It is okay.
Comfort â€“ The bed was okay. The pillows were hard and lumpy. Thank goodness it had air conditioning. It would have been torture without it.
Character â€“ None to speak of.
Amenities â€“ Unfortunately, no breakfast. We had to get up early and nothing was open to eat at before we left at 7am. No hot water either. Air conditioning. TV with limited cable. A fridge with drinks in the lobby. You can walk to the CIFA station from there.
Recommended? It was fine for a 1 night stop over, but without hot water, I wouldn’t want to stay there any longer than that. Православни икони