Breaking a world record (we reckon!)
Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
332Trip End Jan 19, 2007
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Were on our long journey to Ecuador. We reckoned it should take 2 days but had read of people taking 3, 4 or 5 depending on transport connections and if there were land slides (in the wet season). We both secretly hoped we would do it in a day but never articulated it to each other. We were going the road less travelled to Ecuador but was meant to be more scenic and interesting. Plus we love a challenge!
4am - Chachapoyas. We found the taxi collectivos going to Bagua Grande. We had been told the day before Monday was v busy and that people leave from 3.30am to go there. We waited and hoped some would turn up
4.30am fortunately 2 others turned up and we were on our way on the worst roads ever
7.30 - Bagua Grande. Got a moto taxi (like a tuk tuk) for 1 Sole to the station for an auto collectivo onward to Jaen.
7.45 - auto collectivo left costing 7 Soles each
9am - arrive Jaen
9.05 - get moto taxi 1 Sole to collectivo station
9.15 - Combi collectivo (like a minibus) leaves Jaen for San Ignacio for 12 Soles each. So far so good.
We had initially planned on spending the night in San Ignacio as most people do to break the journey.
By this time it was getting hotter as we headed north, loads of vultures out the window and the scenery was actually very green with lots of paddy fields and rivers
11.50 - arrived at San Igancio which was an ok town but we had arrived earlier and were keen to press on.
11.55 got a moto uphill to the Plaza for 1 Sole to the collectivo stop
12.00 Arrive San Iganicio auto collectivo stop and wait for more passengers to go onwards to La Balsa. More arrived and they tried to put an extra person with us but Dave put his foot down and
12.10 - we left with just 4 in the end much to all our relief! 12 Soles each
13.20 - La Balsa. Arrived at the border in the middle of nowhere having dropped off our other passengers nearby. We got out walked to the border post and got stamped out. Few little restaurants here (more on the Peruvian side than the Ecuadorian).
Walked over the bridge. I always feel nostalgic leaving a country but I actually felt like a tear was coming to my eye as we left
13.35 - Arrived to Ecuadorean migration and BIG STUMBLING BLOCKS.
Some Peruvians and we were told the post was shut for a couple of hours as the system was not working. Odd.
The Peruvians went over the road to a cafe and a bloke came back into migration and next thing we know miraculously the system was working (although the computer was not used once!) and they were let in and they were going to make us wait for some reason. We just stood there and they just processed us anyway. Think they just wanted a couple of hours off.
Next potential major stumbling block was transport out of this place as there was virtually nothing just a few little cafes and shops and nothing else but countryside. We had been wrongly told there was a ranchero (open sided truck thingy) leaving at about 14.30 but were told here it was actually going at 17.30. This would be a major pain esp waiting in this bloody place for a few hours with nothing
Dave went over the road to talk to a guy that had a truck and negotiated a lift to our next destination, Zumba for $20. Pretty steep but we wanted out of there!
14.00 Left La Balsa us sitting in front and some poor local guy clinging on for dear life on the back of the truck with our rucksacks.
15.30 - arrived Zumba. Nice town and we were getting excited now. Not only was it civilisation but we may reach our destination, Vilcabamba.
Found out there was a bus at 16.00 to Vilcabamba were v happy and got tickets too. Scouted for some food as had only eaten bananas, bread and icecream all day.
16.00 Bus leaves for Loja but stops at Vilcabamba on the way. $6.50 each. Cant believe we are now using US $ feels very odd and cant get used to it.
Bus is pretty comfy and we are pleased to have our own space for a change
Both fall asleep in bus.
21.30 - Thankfully Dave wakes up and manages to get me awake after a few mins as we arrive in Vilcabamba. Am sure if he hadnt have done we would have ended up in Loja another hour or so north despite us telling the conductor we were getting off here.
Half asleep we get off the bus and wander to find a hostal.
22.00 Walk out of town and get to Hostal Paraiso near the main road but quiet. Get a cabana for $16 inc breakfast has pool etc. We cant be bothered to go elsewhere so stay.
Go into town and buy a carton of Clos wine (very good chilean stuff. $3 a litre) and some crisps. Sit on our patio area and celebrate arriving!
23.15 pass out in bed!