Most people headed South from Montanita go to Mancora, Peru next. To do this you first have to go to Guayaquil. There are 6 direct buses that run daily between Montanita and Guayaquil, the first one departing at 4:45 am and the last at 5:00 pm. The company that runs this bus service is called CLP(Coop Libertad Peninsular) which has a small terminal on the main road. The ticket costs $6 and the trip is relatively short at around 2 1/2 hours.
Once you reach Guayaquil you get dropped off at the main bus terminal called Terminal Terrestre which is enormous. It is located beside the airport and is also a large shopping mall with the buses leaving from multiple floors. The terminal is full of options for buses going anywhere within Ecuador and to other countries in South America.
Terminal Terrestre has ticket windows for a large number of bus companies offering routes within Ecuador and beyond.
A typical snack stand that lines the lot where the buses park. Lots of snacks and beverages are available to make your trip to the next destination more enjoyable.
The main bus companies doing this route are CIFA, Oltursa and Ormeno. These are typically double decker buses with the economy class on the top and the executive class on the main deck. The tickets for this trip range in price from $12 – $18 depending on what class of seat you are in and if you can afford the extra fee to be in executive class it is well worth the money.
I got the executive class seats and these recline almost all the way back into a bed. This made for a relaxing trip and also meant less chance of having my belongings stolen while I was sleeping. In any case I still kept my bags touching me at all times and if I want to sleep I always have a bag strap in hand.
One of the common scams in Ecuador is to spray people with the drug Scopolamine to knock them out and then steal all their belongings. This is almost never going to happen on the executive class of the bus as the people who are out to rip people off are likely not fortunate enough to afford the few extra dollars to ride in this section.
With this part of my trip involving a border crossing I always choose to do it either on a bus, shuttle etc. with a destination beyond the border crossing. This is much easier, safer and often comes with less surprises when compared with getting transport to the border, crossing yourself and trying to pick up with another ride on the other side.
I also do this because there is less chance of being hassled at the border and sometimes if you are having a hard time the bus driver leans on the immigration officers to hurry up because it is holding up the rest of the passengers.
The first leg of the trip from Guayaquil to the Huaquillas border crossing is about 4 hours. Once we reached the border all the passengers had to get out and get stamped out of Ecuador. Once we were cleared we got back on the bus and drove a short distance to the border entry into Peru.
This is considered one of the most dangerous border crossings in South America. That being said you could likely assume that it is one of the most dangerous border crossings anywhere in the world. There is a bit of a distance between where you leave Ecuador and enter Peru and that brings with it lots of people that will try to rip you off for a ride to the customs offices or offer their services to give you an easier time clearing customs. If you are in any situation at a border crossing and someone is offering you a ride or services make sure they are accredited or licensed and make sure you negotiate a rate before accepting. Also as a word of caution if you aren’t sure about the driver then keep your belongings on you and don’t put them in the truck. They can easily drive away from you before you have the chance to get into the trunk or hold your belongings at ransom and make you pay them extra to get them back.
Any search about this border crossing on the internet will bring up many bad experiences. Having researched this before I knew the best way to do this was to take one bus all the way from Guayaquil to Mancora.
Once we cleared customs into Peru we all got back on the bus and started our way directly to Mancora via Tumbes. This took about 2 1/2 hours and we were dropped off at the main road. All in all this was a smooth trip and I was happy I made the decision to take a direct bus and not bother with only going to the border and making my own connections once I cleared customs.
Gone on a whim…