A quick stop in Cuenca
Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
51Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
We had arranged to stay at La Cigale, a hostel just up the road from the place we stayed on our last visit. This hostel was much better, we had a room overlooking their restaurant with an en-suite, very nice. We originally planned to stay for 1 night before getting a bus to Loja then onward towards Piura in Peru. We were informed by one of the guys from the hostel that there was a new direct service from Cuenca to Piura which cut out a nights accommodation for us, so we decided to go for that. We bought our tickets and booked in for an extra night.
Having already seen much of Cuenca on our last visit we spent our final day in Ecuador eating and planning, as well as enjoying an afternoon jug of Canelazo, an extremely enjoyable hot sugar cane alcohol and cinnamon concoction
Our first bus left Cuenca around 9pm, we were headed for the border crossing at Tumbes, our second encounter with the so called worst border crossing in South America. The plan for the 10 hour journey was to take the first bus to Huaquillas, getting stamped out of Ecuador, before changing bus and entering Peru.
Everything was going smoothly until we reached Huaquillas. Around 1:30am we stopped at Ecuadorian customs, everyone piled off the bus and marched over to the customs office, only to be told that the 24 hour customs office was shut until 3am. We all got back on the bus, and were treated to a night tour of the dusty border town as a couple of people were dropped off in various places, not pretty. We then drove back to the customs office to await its opening. At 3am, true to their word, the customs office opened back up, formalities were completed and then we were waiting for the next bus to arrive. In true South American style it showed up at 4:30, only 3 hours late!
We then headed onwards to Piura arriving around 5 hours later than expected. We caught a connecting 4 hour bus to Chiclayo, where we thought about spending the night. After much consideration we decided to press on to our final destination, Chachapoyas. We had time to grab a quick dinner in Chiclayo before embarking on the final leg of our longest journey yet.
Chachapoyas was a further 9 hour bus journey away, making for a grand total of 28 hous spent travelling out of 36. Not in a hurry to do that again!