Crossing the land border | Ecuador to Peru

Land border crossings are always a worry especially post covid as things seem to change by the day.  This one from Ecuador to Peru couldn’t really be simpler.  We found the actually process of the crossing stress free and although, quite time consuming, was conducted with a great deal of professionalism.

Peru Border crossing
Ecuador/Peru Border crossing

Where to cross the border from Ecuador to Peru?

There are three land border crossing points from Ecuador to Peru. La Balsa, which I believe is a complicated crossing which involves an adventurous journey through a jungle pass.   La Tina which we have been told is a quite easy crossing with a simple immigration process however if you’re travelling from the Cuenca area, this route, requires multiple bus journeys that can take up to two days to complete.

We will concentrate for this blog on the border crossing we used to get from Ecuador to Peru.  The Aguas Verdes crossing between Huaquillas, Ecuador, and Tumbes, Peru is close to the coast and the most convenient method of crossing the border at the time of writing the post.  This route is especially easy as there is a direct bus service between Guayaquil or Cuenca in Ecuador and the coastal town of Mancora in Peru and beyond.

How to get the bus from Ecuador to Peru?

At the time of writing, it’s most important to say this because as we come out of the pandemic, things may change, but the basic process should remain the same.  From Guayaguil there is currently only two buses a week that make the border crossing.  These are run by Cruz del Sur and you can only board the bus in the city of Guayaquil.  The bus runs between Guayaquil and Lima in Peru, stopping at Tumbles, Mancora, Trujillo and Lima. You can check on their website for the current schedule.
 
From Cuenca you have a pretty similar choice.  The bus runs from the main bus terminal on the outskirts of the city to Chiclayo via Mancora every night at 10pm.  It gets into Mancora via the border crossing at about six in the morning depending on how long it takes to get all the passengers through immigration. The bus company doing the route, at the time of writing, was  Super Semperia.  The seats are quite comfortable but it will not be the best bus ride you will experience in Peru, having said that we found the journey was quite pleasant and passed quickly.

Immigration and the border crossing from Ecuador to Peru

The bus pulls up firstly at the bio security office where you must prove that you have the correct covid passes to get into the country.  At the time of writing, you required two jabs to get into Peru.  After completion of the required proof process you were issued with a stamped ticket to indicate to the border control that you were allowed to proceed.

We then got back on the bus and were ferried round to the immigration office although those at the back of the queue were left behind and had to walk over.  Both the Ecuadorian and the Peruvian immigration are in the same building  you queue to get the stamp out at one desk and then move over to the other to get the stamp in.  Basically that is it.  Once everyone has been through the immigration process the bus continues on its way.  The whole process took about two hours to get everyone through and back on the bus.

Harbour Los Organos Mancora Peru
Harbour Los Organos Mancora

What to do in the beach resort of Mancora?

Mancora, as with most places we’ve been on our travels so far, wasn’t quite what we expected.  You have the very busy Pan American Highway cutting right through the middle.  It’s a dusty and noisy road with big heavy goods transporters and tuk tuks vying for space.  Our Hostal was on the opposite side of the road to the beach so we had to cross this everyday to get down to the beach.
 
We had been warned to expect a hectic night seen with bars and clubs open to all hour blasting out tunes into the early hours and had actually decided we were going to let our hair down and do a little partying.  Unfortunately we didn’t manage to find the party scene maybe it had gone long ago or just shut down through the pandemic we are not sure.  On the bright side there are plenty of restaurants both selling local food, the seafood is especially popular with the vast number of local tourists, and international cuisines.
 

There were a lot of people there to learn to surf, we didn’t have time to take part but it looked really good conditions for the beginners with good gentle breaks.  One of the most popular day tours is to take one of the many boats out to watch for whales.  Lynne had been looking forward to this for a good few weeks and wasn’t disappointed.  Between July and September the whales migrate down the coast from the north to breed and give birth in the shallow waters.  If you’re have keen eyesight and your lucky you can actually see them from the beach although they are very distant.

We stayed in Mancora for three nights mainly because we didn’t realise the bus went further.  We stayed at Eco lodge Mancora which was quite pleasant with a great breakfast although we thought it was slightly overpriced for what you got. The room was good and it was in a quiet part of town down a dusty track away from the noise of the road but still quite close to the beach. 

Humpback whale Mancora Peru
Humpback whale Mancora

Our view

We found this method of crossing from Ecuador to Peru both simple and convenient.  If you’re short of time I would skip Mancora and go directly on to your next destination of choice in Peru.  If you’ve plenty of time stop for a few days then you can learn how to surf, watch some whales and eat some seafood with the locals.

Booking resources for your stay in Mancora

Flights

You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.

Accommodation

We have always tended to use Booking.com having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

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