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The Night Bus from Ecuador to Peru: Cuenca to Mancora

I found a lot of misinformation while searching how to cross the border from Ecuador to Peru. I heard that it was one of the dodgiest border crossings in Latin America and that it was best to do it during the day – both of these are wrong. It is possible to travel all the way from Cuenca to Mancora (or to as far as Piura) on one comfortable bus for only $15. Here are all the details you need if you’re planning to take the night bus from Ecuador to Peru.

Booking a ticket in Cuenca

Make your way to “Terminal Terestre” in Cuenca to book your ticket. We went early in the morning and bought our tickets for the 10pm bus from Cuenca to Mancora. It costs $15 each (it might be a bit more to Piura). It was pretty easy; just make sure you have a copy of your passport. There are at least a couple of bus companies that do this route and from what I’ve heard they are all pretty similar.

Getting to the terminal at night

Cuenca seems like a pretty safe place but it’s always best to be careful when taking taxis at night in Latin America. We got the woman at our hostel to order us a taxi – it was under $2 for the short ride to the terminal from the old town in Cuenca. Try not to spend all your US dollars before you get to the terminal – there is a 10c platform fee!

The ride

The bus was comfortable and there was a good mix of locals and tourists on board. As always in Ecuador, be careful with your things. I got a bit sick on the bus ride; eating that huge Indian curry and drinking a few beers before a long journey probably wasn’t a great idea. We arrived at the border between Ecuador and Colombia at around 2am.

The Border between Ecuador and Peru

The whole border process is handled in one small building – it was definitely one of the easiest border crossings we have experienced. It took around 45 minutes – I’ve heard if you cross this border during the day it can take hours.

Arriving in Mancora

We arrived in Mancora at around 5am and joined a group of fellow tourists in walking to Loki Del Mar, one of the few hostels that seemed open at that hour. The check in process was extremely slow – we waited around to be checked in for about 30 minutes until we finally left, frustrated and tired. The sun had come up so we walked around until we found another hostel that was open (Casa de Betty). A double room was 40 soles (Loki Del Mar was 90 soles!). It might be better to book a place in advance as walking around in the dark isn’t ideal, especially if you’re alone. Mancora is a nice town – the beaches are pretty good and the sunsets even better.

FURTHER READING: Mancora, Peru: Desert, Beaches and Sunsets

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The night bus from Ecuador to Peru: Safe, Cheap and Comfortable

I can’t imagine a better way of crossing the border from Ecuador to Peru. The bus was cheap, safe and comfortable and the border process was easy. You could spend more money and take longer doing it (as I’ve read some people have done) but there’s really no point – for $15 you can cross the border between Ecuador and Peru in about 7 hours.

Looking to kill time in Cuenca before the bus?

Head to Cajas National Park! We spent the day there before the bus and it was great. The barren, high altitude terrain is home to lots of small lakes and weird looking cactus plants – it’s very different to anywhere else we went in Ecuador.

cajas-national-park-ecuador

Are you planning on crossing the border between Ecuador and Peru? Would you take the night bus? Let me know!

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Jon Algie

Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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15 Comments

  1. Val Troy
    January 22, 2016 at 5:15 am — Reply

    Hi Jon
    Really useful information except you don’t name the bus company that provides this amazing service. I’d love to know.
    Regards
    Val

    • Jon Algie
      January 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm — Reply

      Hey Val, I’m pretty sure it was Super Semeria, but there are a few companies that do this route and from what I’ve heard they are all pretty similar.

  2. Leiann
    February 21, 2016 at 12:10 am — Reply

    Does this bus go through Guayaquil before heading to Mancora?

    • Jon Algie
      February 21, 2016 at 11:36 pm — Reply

      The one from Cuenca doesn’t but you can catch a bus from Guayaquil to Peru, probably to Mancora but I’m not 100% sure.

      • Leiann
        February 23, 2016 at 3:50 am — Reply

        Thanks Jon!

  3. February 27, 2016 at 12:32 am — Reply

    Thank you for this info, its been very helpful to me in a sea on confusion and “scary stories” lol

    • Jon Algie
      February 29, 2016 at 10:20 pm — Reply

      No problem — it definitely isn’t a scary border crossing these days!

  4. Dawson
    July 11, 2016 at 11:56 pm — Reply

    Useful post. Thanks! One question, how did the border crossing work? Did you stop at the border and get your Peru visa? Or did you have to arrange and get stamped before leaving Cuenca?

    • Jon Algie
      July 12, 2016 at 12:41 am — Reply

      Hey Dawson, we just hopped off the bus at the border and got a visa there, it was really easy.

  5. susan de wit
    August 18, 2016 at 9:42 pm — Reply

    Hi,

    I have got a question related to the border crossing from Ecuador to Peru, I did get my yellow fever vaccinations but I can not find any information anywhere if you have to show your vaccination report crossing borders, would you be able to shed some light on this topic?

    Many thanks in advance

    • Dawson
      August 19, 2016 at 10:59 am — Reply

      You won’t have to show the vaccination report. I just crossed in the middle of July.

    • Jon Algie
      August 19, 2016 at 4:16 pm — Reply

      Yeah, I can’t recall ever being asked for it in Latin America.

      • Leiann
        August 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm — Reply

        The only time you might need this is if you plan on taking a sailboat from Puertobelo, Panama to Colombia. One charter in particular requests you have it or you don’t get on his boat. Other than that scenario we have never been asked if we have it.

  6. October 24, 2016 at 6:42 am — Reply

    Hey Jon,
    I have just arrived in Cuenca and as it’s a Sunday, I am having trouble finding out about options here. You mentioned that you went to Cajas National Park for a day. How did you do that, was it an arranged trip or is it possible to do it independently ?? Appreciate your help.
    Cheers,
    Dave

    • Jon Algie
      October 24, 2016 at 4:41 pm — Reply

      Hey Dave, I keep meaning to write a post about Cajas National Park! You can do it independently, just catch a bus from the bus station, takes around an hour from memory.

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