Crossing between Peru & Ecuador

You are thinking about going to Ecuador after Peru? Well then this should be a good read for you with some practical pointers to get from A to B. This article describes how you can easily get from the center of Peru, Lima, to Ecuador on the less travelled but gorgeous route through the jungle. This is one of the cheapest and at the same time one of the most luxurious options to get to Ecuador, ideal for backpackers!

A lot of backpackers travel along the beaches up to Tumbes in North Peru to cross to Ecuador, however this area is getting more and more known as increasingly touristic, expensive and warns people to take caution with their belongings. This article shows you a great alternative along a beautiful, hassle free road through the jungle that takes you along a properly guarded and safe border crossing to the beautiful jungle town of Loja in Ecuador.

Read more: 10 important rules for traveling on buses in Peru

From Lima to Ecuador
Lima is the center of Peru and it is an easy starting point for either travelling north or south in this magnificent country. From our Pariwana Hostel Lima you can take the easiest transport in Lima to get to the bus terminal Terreste, via the Metropolitana bus line that is located just outside our hostel. The Metropolitana will take you around 35 minutes (US$ 0.50) until you reach the stop “Tomás Valle“. Get out here and you will find Terminal Terreste just next to you. From here a lot of major bus companies can take you to a variety of places north and south of Lima and booking a ticket in advance is generally not necessary.

You can find buses throughout the entire day but be mindful of the time that the travel will cost you, as many roads go up and down causing long transport times for short distances. You can find bus companies that take you up north to popular destinations, such as the beaches of Mancora, connecting cities to the amazing Northern Highlands, the border town of Tumbes, or to Piura, which is the town where you need to go if you want to go to Loja.

The trip from Lima to Piura comes in many varieties and can cost you anything between 50 and 90 Soles (US$17 – US$30), depending on the company of your choice, how comfortble the chairs are and how flat they can go, and then the best; whether you want to have breakfast, lunch and/or dinner included. The duration for the trip is around 10 hours. For already 60 Soles (US$20) you can find great luxury, food included and a smooth trip to Piura.

Getting to the border

In Piura there is one company that takes you up to Loja, named Loja Internacional. The buses leave several times a day to the border and Loja, mainly in the morning and evening. Keep in mind that Loja does not offer great luxury in their buses but it can definitely compete with European or American standard bus companies. If you get at the bus company when it is dark, it may be handiest to wait inside the terminal as the bus terminal is not located in the center and this particular street is not the safest for foreigners at night. Also take some snacks and drinks along, as this bus will not have any for you and only a lost vendor can be found along this non-touristic route.  The trip will cost you around 27 Soles (US$9) to Loja and takes a total of 8.5 hours.

The trip up to the border will take around 3 hours from Piura. From there it is another 5,5 hours to Loja, Ecuador. At the border crossing, which is just a bridge, you will need to get off while the bus carries on to wait on the Ecuadorian side of the bridge (be smart and take your bag along!). You will need to “check out” of Peru, walk to the other side of the bridge and then “check in” to Ecuador (at night they sometimes make this one “check out-check-in post” as the countries are friendly with eachother). This border crossing is usually not very busy so it shouldn’t take you too long before you are on your way again.

This border crossing does not have any taxi’s or hundreds of sales people which makes the crossing immediately more pleasant. Also, most people in these buses are from either Peru or Ecuador and for them the crossing is quick and easy, making things go along nice and smooth. And don’t forget to take along some US dollars as this is the currency in Ecuador.

Continue in the same bus to Loja for another 5.5 hours, amaze yourself over the immense rainforest and amazing valleys and before you know it you arrive in the lovely town of Loja, Ecuador where life is even a bit cheaper than in Peru.

The road back to Peru and Lima can be taken just as easy! From Loja there are only buses to Piura,but from there you will find loads of bus companies that can take you to all kind of Peruvian destinations.

Extending your visa

As in every country there are regulations to permit travellers to stay only so long on a tourist visa. As ourselves, some people love Peru so much that they go across the border and come back just to obtain a renewed visa. Keep in mind that travelling along the described less travelled road does not make visa extensions easier, just the opposite actually. The custom officers work more strictly along the formal rules and the quick border passing makes it hard to bargain on the amount of days allowed in Peru (183 days is the maximum).

The rules regarding visa extensions and re-entry into Peru change frequently so make sure you are updated on the latest regulations. On the date of writing this article you can still go to the immigration office in Lima to pay for an extension (US$ 20 per month), but just like at the border you are only allowed to stay in total 6 months in Peru per calendar year.

Read more: For Americans: Getting a Bolivian Tourist Visa in Lima

Overstaying your visa will cost you US$1 per day. But as in all cases, for the creative mind, exceptions can always be found…