Monday, July 6, 2015

Easy way from Ecuador to Peru--7/1-2

My double decker Occidente bus similar to this one left on time but ended up arriving about an hour and half late in the morning at 7:30 am.

The Lonely Planet guide on how to make your way through this border was completely outdated and wrong. It claimed that you had to stop at two different immigration offices----Ecuador and Peru---and that you had to take a series of collectivos or taxis. They also indicated that scams were rampant with some passengers being charged $100 to help expedite clearance through immigration.

Instead this is what happend to me: As I got off the bus in Huaquillas, EC, I got in a taxi and I asked for him to take me to "la frontera---Ecuador Immigration and then Peru Immigration. He said it would be $10 and I told him I would instead pay him $5, and he agreed.

On the way I had him stop at the Lonely Planet described Ecuador Immigration Office in Ecuador. While he waited, I went in. I think they told me that I needed to go further to another Ecuador immigration place in Peru. I was a bit uncertain, but it was early so I had lots of time to figure out what to do.

The driver then ended up driving me to the Peru Immigration across the bridge that the Lonely Planet said I had to walk across and then catch a collectivo to the Peru Immigration office.

Instead I got out at the Peru Immigration office paid my $5 taxi fare and entered the building to discover that both the Ecuador and the Peru Immigration offices were here at the same counter. After filling out the entry form, I got checked out of Ecuador and was welcomed into Peru.

How simple was that.

They had a nice bathroom there, so I shaved and freshened up before going to the taxi queue for the ride to Tumbes and the long distance buses that would take me to Trujillo.

The taxis had a fixed fare of $12 for the half hour ride to Tumbes and unfortunately there was no one around to share the cost after I had spent time primping myself. As it turned out I only paid $10.75 since my cabbie did not have change for my $20 USD

Again the Lonely Planet was no longer accurate since there were no longer any morning buses to Trujillo as they had indicated. I took the 8:30 pm deluxe ride, so now I would be able to spend the entire day exploring Tumbes.

This is the back of the bandstand at the central plaza.

The town square with its church and plaza where people met and mingled was clean and shiny. I am sure the towns people were really proud of this plaza which they took such good care of.
After walking about four of the major streets and plaza, I determined that unlike most other places I had visited in South America this time, there were no restaurants that offered wifi.

I had an egg sandwich, paypaya drink, and coffee con leche at a cafe along the Plaza for just 10 pesos--$3 USD. While having breakfast, the cafe owner's little boy enjoyed playing Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds on my iPad. Unfortunately he kept sending the angry birds into the ground without making any points and with the fruit ninja he kept pointing instead of slicing at the fruits. He kept trying though as I finished my breakfast.

I then walked about for some sort of wifi but the only things I came across were the internet places and not wifi.

I then spotted a brand new Ramada Inn. Since I had already had breakfast, I just ordered coffee and activated my wifi in the A/C restaurant. How good is that.

After catching up on messages, I then left with the plan to return for lunch. I wandered about the town and noticed the long lines at many of the ATM machines and banks. Since it was the beginning of the month and coming up to the weekend, I figured that was the reason rather than a run on the banks like in Greece.

I was looking forward to lunch time since I planned to eat at the A/C Ramada where I could work using the wifi connection as well as recharge my iPad.

I ordered the fish relleno with a seafood rice mix which was OK, but kind of gummy, and actually about the same prices and the street side restaurants that surrounded the plaza about 58 pesos with a beer--$18 USD.


I spent the afternoon sitting by the Ramada Inn pool nursing a warm beer and recharging my iPad before I have to return to the bus terminal. The pool had a shower next to it, so I took a shower while I waited.

As the night came, I made my way back to the bus terminal for my night ride to Trujillo--about a scheduled bus ride of 11 hours that took 13 at a cost of 55 pesos or $18USD-----again about the price of my kind of hotel room.

This was the first double decker bus ride I have taken in this trip and I realized how much more comfortable it was because we just seemed to glide along the highway during the night to Trujillo. We stopped just once for a gas refill, and security inspection where I think I lost my sunglassess along with a stash of $60 in the case. After that I was able to sleep mostly through the night.

As dawn broke, the scenery outside was just miles and miles of sand dunes broken up by the occassional village that surrounding some sort of mining operations.

Coming in from the north to Trujillo, it looked like a very dusty, gritty city, but fortunatly after I got off the bus and walked about a mile north of the bus terminal, I came to the old part of town and what is claimed to be of of the most beautiful plazas in Peru. I stayed here for three days.

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