Cusco - Mancora - buses and a birthday boy

Trip Start May 10, 2011
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140
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Trip End Apr 15, 2012


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Where I stayed
Sol del Mar (next door to Loki)

Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, February 16, 2012

So we had another massive bus journey to deal with....our intentions were to get from Cusco (South Peru) to Columbia so that we could hook up with our friends Sun and Connor before they left to go home, this route meant some severe bus journeys including going through the whole of Ecuador. Nothing could be planned for sure as we didnt know bus times so we set off from Cusco with the mission of getting to Columbia also for Marc's birthday which was the 12th....we had 3 day to do this !!! 

How it panned out...
We got our first bus Cusco - Lima (Molina bus company) the bus was meant to leave at 12noon but apparently there had been landslides in the area so we so managed to get our money back and change to another company who had a bus leaving at 2pm.   We knew of 2 companies, Rutas de Americas and Ormeno that do "international" buses leaving from Lima (peru) and going direct to Cali (columbia) which was ideal sit on one bus and they deal with border control n stuff for you too and from what we could gather it left the next day at 11am - due to our landslide there was no way we were gonna make this bus now.

Bus ride of death....
SO...after some 20 odd hours, several bus breakdowns that seemed to be repaired with some rope and one flat tyre that was replaced with a tyre that had absolutely NO tread on it - we were on our way.  After being back at sea level we figured we were in for a nice easy journey but no!  This was honestly THE most scariest bus ride yet - we drove up through the mountains all day and night and I mean up the windiest roads with cliff edges, eventually we were so high we were in the clouds, its now dark, the rain has started (remembering the bald tyre!) and it was pitch black and this bus was using both sides of the road to get round corners.  We actually sat in the dark bus together in silence just staring out of the window for about 4 hours and at any point on this trip I though we might die this journey was it.  Eventually around 11pm we started to descend, pretty quick too which meant more tight bends and the bus so close to the edge when it turned you could feel the back tyres go over the gravel bits which were literally 2-3 feet of gravel before the sheer drop down - no exaggeration!

Eventually we pulled into a town that just appeared in the middle of nowhere and we were down from the mountains - it wasnt so bad here on in we managed to get some sleep but everytime the bus turned too quick it felt like it was gonna tip so you would instantly wake up !!

At last we are in Lima...not the bus station !!
So we arrive in Lima even later than we were supposed to in desperate hope to get straight on the next bus to take us up to the Peru/Ecuador border.   Well of all the fooking bus stations we have been in, in every single country you pull into a bus station where you can buy your tickets onto the next destination - NOT LIMA....we got dumped somewhere in Lima at the bus company depot...great !!  Its absolutely boiling daytime sun and we have our Cusco cold clothes on since its freezing there so we are now having to walk about town asking people where can we buy a bus ticket for our next destination - after several times asking and different answers we stumble
accross a company that has a bus leaving in an hour to Tumbes which is the border town for Ecuador woo hoo,  We buy our ticket get some food and within the hour get on the next bus.

The buses are not too bad we have cama seats which means they recline pretty far back and are big seats they have toilets which are usable for about the first 8 hours of a journey then they are foul.  This journey is ok though as Lima is on the coast so this time we have a lovely sea view coastal route - still though with hanging off edges.....whats wrong with building some barriers in these countries (see pics).  This was another 22 hour bus journey and with the help of our 2 year out of date lonely planet we tried to calculate the next part to get through Ecuador to Columbia after a good 45 mins and several notes in my book we came to the conclusion that we MIGHT be able to make it to Cali but not to Medellin where Sun and Connor were so we decided at that point that after the 20ish hours from Cusco, the 22 hours of the bus we were sitting on and then at least another 35-40 hours to get to Medellin we were being silly we just were not gonna make it.   So we knew about a beach town called Mancora close to the Ecuador border and fortunately the bus we were on stopped there so we decided to abandon Columbia for now and get off at Mancora and spend Marc's birthday by the beach.

Sorry for that HUGE bus rant but after all these months and lengthy journeys they now dominate our travels lol.

Mancora...at last some sunshine....and some unwanted guests 
So Mancora is a small little beach town and the main place to stay there is Loki hostel which has many throughout South America and its where all us "gringos" stay but when we got there it was full.  We however found what can only be described as a poor mans butlins resort next door to Loki - HALF the price very basic room but it was 2 secs from the beach so all good.

The strip itself is only about 2 miles long if that and there are tut tuts going to the end and back constantly slowing down as they passed you asking if you want marijuana or cocaine it was hilarious.

We pretty much spent the next few days relaxing catching up on sleep and enjoying being back in the sunshine, Cusco was cold and before the La Paz was just freezing so sun was good.

We went to the Loki hostel a few nights but it wasnt all that - its mostly young 20 year olds getting reeking dancing on the bar and not really many people from the UK all mostly from Europe and South America.  It did a good breakfast though so we ate there every morning hehe. Down the strip are other wee bars to sit in but the country loves its samba music and by god its hard to get away from it - I HATE samba music and most bars had it on and fairly loud too.

It rained the first two nights so was pretty pants as there are normally parties on the beach but we did go down a couple of nights but it was more samba and the problem in all these towns is the bars are next door to each other so you have to listen to the music of 3 bars at the same time - it was soooo annoying.  

We had a little courtyard type area outside the room and you could sit out and have a drink before we went out and when it didnt rain it rained with fooking cockroaches/large beetles not sure what the fook they were but I HATE COCKROACHES - there was one in the room and Marc stamped on it - after that they were running about the courtyard later at night getting way too close to the door - poor Marc was my hero he was stomping on them all - one night must have been at least 15 !!!!!!!!!!!!   With a towel stuffed under the door we slept.  This now started to highlight our jungle tour that we have coming up soon - how on earth am I going to cope!!

 
Marc's Birthday
The 31st birthday celebrations started at 11am as the Man City game was on so it was off to Loki for breakfast to watch the football followed by beers - City won the game thankfully.  We spend the day wandering the beach, having beers and going for a nice meal followed by more beers & some skype sessions to friends back home.  Thankfully it wasn't on some bus mid way to Columbia we made the best decision to get off and spent it here it was a great day.


Valentine dinner
We had a nice wee valentine dinner too and I got a lovely balloon, romance is not dead hehe - we headed down the beach for some cocktails and more samba music !!!  Some random guy was sambaing with a beer bottle on his head (see video) and no it wasnt glued - pretty good hip movements haha - life here is focused on the beach - people sit here till all hours of the morning.

Just another note on Peru there are TONS of old VW beetles and campervans they are so common here, I love these cars and some have been done up really well - worth a mint back home in the old VW classic collectors club haha.

Where to next???
Well since Sun & Connor have now left Columbia we are going to make our way up through Ecuador to Columbia then power bus it back down to Lima as we have to fly from there to Miami - total nightmare but its the only way out on our BA/Quantas RTW ticket.

Our friend we met in Rio is in Montanita another beach town just over the Ecuador border so thats our next stop!!

Costs  
Double en-suite basic room with one cockroach - 12 per night
600ml beer - 1.20
Bus ticket with Molina from Cusco - Lima - 31 each
Bus ticket with Ronco bus from Lima to Mancora - 21 each inc food

  
 

    
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