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.
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.
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.
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).
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.