Border Crossing: Ecuador to Peru

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Border crossings are not exactly on my list of favorite things to do.  Crossing over from Ecuador to Peru wasn’t very eventful – but man, was that an uncomfortable journey. To begin with, we took an hour bus ride from Vilcabamba to Loja. We arrived 3 hours before our next bus, so we had to kill time in the extremely dodgy Loja bus station.

Spending hours in bus stations is also not one of my favorite things.

The 8-hour bus ride to Puiria was hardly more comfortable than the station itself. For starters, the bus left at 11 p.m., but this did not stop the bus operator from playing the loud Bachata music to which we have become accustomed on each and every bus ride.

This was a night bus, and naturally, people wanted to sleep. The problem was when someone reclined their seat all the way – as both people in front of us did – they were literally right on top of you. Not so comfortable.

Border Crossing Ecuador to Peru Bus Seats

“Firts” Class. One step above First.

At 3 in the morning, we had to get out of the bus, get stamped on the Ecuadorian side, and walk across the bridge to the Peru. The man who was supposed to give us stamps on the Peruvian side was sleeping, so a guard had to wake him up before we could go about our business.

Border Crossing Ecuador to Peru Border Sign

This is what a 3:00 a.m. border crossing looks like. Pretty uneventful.

Border Crossing Ecuador to Peru Immigration Booth

Getting our passports stamped

We arrived in Puiria at 7 a.m., but this was no walk in the park either. Our night bus to Lima didn’t leave until 3:30 in the afternoon. We couldn’t very well lug all our bags around town, so we spent the day passing time in the tiny, un-air-conditioned terminal and taking naps in the extremely uncomfortable chairs.

Border Crossing Ecuador to Peru Snacks

We ate lots of “Bimbo and Snob” sandwiches while waiting for our bus

Our bus that afternoon was leaps above any other we have taken thus far. Our seats on the second level were plush, and leg room was a-plenty. Dinner service was a perk, as was a friendly game of BINGO (which Ben thought we won prematurely and yelled out “BINGO!” then pressed the “call attendant” button, before realizing he wasn’t a winner).

Border Crossing Ecuador to Peru Bingo

Apparently when playing BINGO in South America, they skip the “5 in a row” phase and jump right to “Black Out”.

Border Crossing Ecuador to Peru Bus Food

It doesn’t look like much, but we were quite impressed with the bus food.

Finally, FINALLY, we arrived in Lima after two nights spent on buses. Walking into our hostel was like seeing a mirage in the desert – too good to be true. We got there well before the 1:00 p.m.check-in, but we were able to take hot showers and eat breakfast – luxuries to a backpacker.

Two border crossings down, one to go.

Read about our other border crossings here:

Colombia to Ecuador

Peru to Boliva

Comments (4) on “Border Crossing: Ecuador to Peru

  1. krystalannhes@gmail.com says:

    I’m about to do this soon as a solo female traveler, any idea of cost and bus company names? Your blog is great.

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Krystal, Thanks for commenting! I believe traveling from Loja, Ecuador to Piura, Peru we booked a Loja International bus. I think it cost about $10 USD. Then from Loja to Lima we booked with Cruz del Sur and it was about $18 USD. Hope this helps!

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