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 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. A reader recently let me know that they had a whole heap of money stolen from their bag which was underneath the bus on this journey — it pays to be very careful with your valuables and, if possible, keep them on your at all times. It’s also a good idea to invest in a good lock and find a way to “protect” your bag even if you fall asleep.
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
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.
Are you planning on crossing the border between Ecuador and Peru? Would you take the night bus? Let me know!
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