Crossing the Macará River

Border crossing time! Yes, this would be our 13th border crossing of the trip – unlucky for some? Well, not for us – it was a pretty easy crossing…

The Macará River forms part of the border between Peru and Ecuador, and we would be crossing it at the town of Macará which is just inside Ecuador. This crossing is a less frequently used crossing than the Aguas Verdes crossing, which is the main Peru to Ecuador crossing, and which is known as ‘the dodgiest border crossing in South America’…  (only by some people… 🙂 ) Yes, of course that’s not for us! We like to take ‘civilised’ border crossings – and in this case, there was a nice, direct through-bus from Piura, Peru to Loja, Ecuador.

Unfortunately there is only one bus per day, and it leaves at 1pm. It’s an eight hour journey, so that means an arrival time in Loja of around 9pm 🙁 Yes, not the greatest – but what can you do…

The bus was brand-new and very comfortable – it was so new that the driver tried to persuade people that they shouldn’t eat on the bus…. yeah right?! THAT’S UNHEARD OF!

The bus also left on time, and arrived on time!! ALSO UNHEARD OF! The border crossing only took about 30 minutes, and involved a quick stop to get stamped out of Peru, a walk across the river (using a bridge… 🙂 ), and then a quick stop to get stamped into Ecuador. The only hassle was that Ecuador made everybody fill out a form when they entered – this included a box for the ‘type of visa’, and a box for the ‘number of days allowed in Ecuador’. It seemed to us that this part really ought to be filled in by somebody official… but they told us to write ‘T-3’ in the visa box, and didn’t seem to care what we wrote in the ‘number of day’s box…. we had read that you are supposed to get 90 days, so we put ’90’ in the box. It only had two spaces, so ’99’ would have been the best we could do anyway! 🙂

Once the bus entered Ecuador, it turned into a ‘local’ bus very quickly. It continued its journey through the mountains to Loja, and picked up pretty much every random person in the countryside along the way. At 9pm it rolled into the bus station at Loja and we were ready for our first night in Ecuador!

Our brand new shiny bus – ready to take us to Ecuador. Note the driver having a quick sleep in the luggage compartment!
Not much happening at the border area.
Don’t forget to do your paperwork!
View of the Macará river from the bridge.
Ecuadorian migration office.
CC is SUPER-excited to be in Ecuador! 🙂

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