The Peru-Ecuador border crossing sounds like a nightmare, but it really is super easy. You hear the horror stories of the bus driver leaving tourists at the border. If you choose the right bus company, you should have no problem at all!
Which bus company
There are many different bus companies offering Peru-Ecuador border crossing services. Always go with reputable companies, unless you feel like taking a risk of being left at the boarder in the middle of the night, with nowhere to go! The reputable companies will wait for you, and tell you what to do at the border.
Cruz del Sur
Cruz del Sur is a popular choice throughout South America. This bus company is the high-end bus service. You are almost always guaranteed a smooth boarder crossing with these guys. They serve you dinner, and there are VIP options where you can choose seats that recline to create a fully horizontal bed.
I never went with Cruz del Sur as the price was too high for this budget backpacker! However, friends did and they stood by this company. An example price from Trujillo (Peru) to Guayaquil (Ecuador) is 220 soles for a direct trip.
Superciva is the company I went with for the Peru-Ecuador boarder crossing. This company could be described as the ‘middle class’ bus service in Peru. It is not as flashy as Cruz del Sur, but it is still clean, fairly new, good bathrooms, a good price, good food included, and the company has regular bus stops for food. The journey was painless. The driver waited for everyone at the Peru-Ecuador border crossing, and did not let anyone on the bus until everyone was accounted for.
An example price from Trujillo (Peru) to Chiclayo (Peru) to Guayaquil (Ecuador) is (Trujillo to Chiclayo = 14 soles) (Chiclayo to Guayaquil = 80 soles) 94 soles. Far cheaper than Cruz del Sur.
Where from in Peru
You can get to Ecuador from anywhere in Peru, however, you will likely have to change buses if you are travelling from Cusco or Arequipa/ South Peru. The easiest way to get to Ecuador is by first making your way to either Lima, or one of the cities closer to the border, such as Chiclayo or Mancora.
Where to buy bus tickets
Buying bus tickets is easy in Peru! There is the option to buy tickets online straight from the bus company, from bus company booking sites such as Bus Bud, through local agents selling bus tickets, and by booking in person at the bus terminal or company office.
Booking your bus tickets online will save you the time and hassle of having to visit the bus terminal prior to departure. If you book early enough, you can have the first pick of seats in the bus. Often, the earlier you buy tickets online, the cheaper they will be.
If you want to be extra prepared for your journey, book your bus tickets online on bus bud. Visit the bus bud website to book your tickets, here. However, booking tickets online is not always smooth sailing. There are often problems with the online services not accepting foreign bank or credit cards. In this case, you have no choice but to go to the bus terminal or office to buy tickets, or book through and agent.
Remember that in many cases, even if you book online, you will still need to head to the bus terminal before the bus is about to depart to print off your ticket at the company ticket counter.
Book in person
If you are counting pennies, generally booking in person is cheaper than booking online from companies such as Bus Bud and Red Bus. It is very easy to book your bus tickets in person at the bus terminal, or a bus company office.
Tips for booking in person:
- Look online first, on websites such as Bus Bud and Red Bus, and compare the prices/dates and travel times for different companies for your particular route.
- Now try to navigate to the particular bus company website (such as Cruz del Sur), and check the price to see if it is different.
- Choose your time/date and check how many seats are available.
- If there are not many seats left, try to book online or get the hostel staff members to help you book.
- If there are plenty of seats available, or if you have trouble booking online, head down to the bus station and buy your ticket there!
Book through an agent
Sometimes it is easier to book your tickets through a local agent. Just remember that usually, this is slightly more expensive than booking online or in person. However, it is still a good option! Especially when booking from small town destinations such as Huanchaco where there is no bus terminal to book through.
At the Peru-Ecuador border crossing
At the border, the driver may tell you to take your bags off the bus and go through immigration. You go in one door, through the passport check, and then out another. In our case, while we were having our passports checked, an inspector went through the bus and checked all of the bags. This seemed a bit dodgy, but it was completely fine and quick.
So there you have it. No nightmares, and no scary stories of being left at the border! How did you Peru-Ecuador border crossing go? Tell me your story!