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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. 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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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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  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.

    • 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.

      • Ryan
        September 13, 2018 at 2:18 am — Reply

        I don’t recommend Transportes Super Semeria S.A.

        Took overnight bus from Cuenca to mancora, leaving the night of Sept 7, 2018. My Colombian girl’s cash and credit card were robbed from her bag below the bus, where she had it locked up with a small lock. The lock had been picked. Nobody had left the bus before us, the only time we stopped was for the long line at immigration. Thus, the drivers must’ve been in on it, or else turned other way while customs was going through bags. We never saw customs going through bags because the entire bus was in line for immigration, which is historically longer than normal with the Venezuelan crisis going on. She had 2.4 millones Colombian pesos robbed, which is $800, what she was trying to take with her for the entire trip (and had been unable to exchange in all the places we visited in Ecuador). We figured having things below the bus is safer than on your person when you’re sleeping above. Obviously not with this company!

        Tomemos el bus entre Cuenca hasta mancora directo por la noche, saliendo la noche de Sept 7, 2018. $800 estaba robada de la mochila de mi novia con candado desde abajo del bus. El candado pequeño era forzado. Ningunos pasajeros dejaron el bus antes de nosotros porq fue directo desde Cuenca hasta mancora. Sólo paremos 3 horas para inmigración, no eran ningunas otra paradas. Ningunos pasajeros estaban presente durante la revisión de cualquier maletas abajos durante este tiempo, todos fueron a la fila. Entonces la gerencia era involucrado en este robo. Sus cosas no están seguros abajo aún si son los primeros a salir del bus!

        • September 13, 2018 at 11:13 am — Reply

          Hey Ryan, sorry to hear about that, it’s the worst feeling when that happens! It’s a good reminder that this kind of thing can and does happen often in Latin America (and most other parts of the world I guess). I’d be very reluctant to keep anything valuable below the bus / anywhere you can’t see it but I understand not wanting to fall asleep with it on the bus either — tough situation!

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

    Does this bus go through Guayaquil before heading to Mancora?

    • 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

    • 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?

    • 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


    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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  7. Bob
    October 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm — Reply

    Hi jon,

    is there a direct bus from guayaquil to chiclayo or lima? and time ‘( day or night) and travel time?


  8. Stacye
    January 14, 2018 at 8:56 am — Reply

    Hey! Thank you so much for your information it was so helpful! We are planning to go to Mancora from Cuenca so this came in handy. I was wondering where you do the dollar exchange to soles? Is it at the border?

    • January 29, 2018 at 11:03 am — Reply

      Hey Stace, thanks for the kind words! I think we may have changed it at the border but pretty sure we only had like $10 or something. You’d probably get a better deal if you wait and change it in town. Best not to be changing money too much though, as the changer will almost always get a better deal.

  9. Dharshana
    April 25, 2018 at 5:07 am — Reply

    Hey Jon! Read your post many times in preparation for getting to Mancora from Cuenca in the next few days. Thank you for the advice! We will probably be following your footsteps to the tee.

    • May 4, 2018 at 7:46 pm — Reply

      Thanks Dharshana, let me know how it goes and if anything has changed!

    • Natasha
      May 10, 2018 at 8:17 pm — Reply

      Please update if you’ve done this, can’t find any recent information online and I’ll be doing this too in a few days. Thank you!

  10. Helen
    August 10, 2018 at 5:43 am — Reply

    Hi Jon, thank you for this very useful blog. I just wanted to update that my partner and I did this journey the other night (Aug 2018) and it was just as you described and all very smooth an easy! We caught the 9.30pm bus from Cuenca (Ecuador) down to Mancora (Peru) with the Super Semeria bus service. The tickets were 20USD each. We bought them a day in advance as i think theyre popular. The bus was fairly comfortable- decent leg room and not too hot or cold. The toilet was in service and they provided a carton of juice and oreos free at the start. No noisy music but a film playing on a very bright screen and windy roads so not the best nights sleep. We arrived at the Ecuador side of the border at around 1.15am and that was super quick (the driver dropped us off just by the building). Then back on the bus for about 10min drive to the Peru border which took a while longer- we waited in the bus stationary for approx 30mins and had to queue in the building for our passport stamps for about 45mins. In summary we were back on the bus on our way to Mancora approx 3am and arrived in Mancora at approx 5am (there were tuc tuc drivers waiting if you needed a taxi although we just walked to our hostel). Note there were a few ATMs near where the bus arrived.

    Would Definately recommend the bus- we were tired but it was a smooth quick journey (we queued for over 5 hours at the colombia-Ecuador border during the day and it was a much worse journey).

    Hope this helps!

    • August 10, 2018 at 6:13 am — Reply

      Hi Helen, thanks heaps for the update — glad to hear it’s still a smooth journey!

  11. peter struthers
    June 28, 2019 at 10:25 am — Reply

    Hi Jon, thanks for the info on bus to Peru from Cuenca. I will be flying into Quito and ,after a month, want to bus out through Peru to Santiago. Can you tell me if I will need a bus ticket[ buy online?] in advance to prove I am not staying forever in Equador or will my flight ticket home from Santiago be sufficient? Id hate to be refused entry at Quito on arrival!

    • July 3, 2019 at 10:42 am — Reply

      Hey Peter, I did a little research and it seems like most people don’t get asked but it still could happen. You’ll be more likely to be denied boarding by the airline, so if that’s the case you could quickly book a ticket (get to the airport early if you’re doing this) when / if the airline doesn’t let you board (or just take the hit and book a bus anyway). I’d say it’d be unlikely you’d get all the way to Quito and then have to return home. Let me know how it goes!

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