Travel Journal

Tumbes and beyond

(Friday 13 May 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 264-5 4/28-29/11
It should have only been a few hours to Tumbes but it stretched out to over five hours. I got into town after six and it was too late to try and cross the border then. I found a hotel near the bus station with a basic room and a restaurant next door with incredibly bad food and went to sleep.
I really didn’t want to deal with catching multiple buses across the border so I went to Cifa bus lines and booked a ten o’clock bus to Machala which would be a good place to catch a bus onwards to Quito. I had wanted to do a home stay with villagers but me emails to a tour company that specialized in that went unanswered for three days and by then it was too late to arrange it as my flight to Galapagos was set for 5/2. I had considered trying to catch the famous train ride through Nariz Del Diablo (the Devil’s Nose) but north bound instead of the usual south bound route but I could not get a recent schedule on the internet and the only timetable was for the south bound train and even that was old. I couldn’t take the chance of missing the flight so I pressed on to Quito.
The bus was a half hour late leaving and I was directed to the Machala bus, I confirmed it was the Machala bus when I checked my backpack but it ended up not being the Machala bus. The driver’s assistant never checked my ticket. Anyways, we had a quick stop at the Peruvian border for an exit stamp. While leaving, someone came up to me and asked for my passport which I hesitantly gave to him. He quickly filled out the entrance form for the Ecuador customs and asked for five dollars. I asked what the charge was and was told it was for the form. I said no and he asked for a dollar. I shook my head and tried to give the form back to him but he was already off to try this scam on someone else.
It took some time to get my stamp for Ecuador and I had read that the officials try to shake down travelers but the officials seemed more interested in looking at the various stamps and visas in my passport than trying to extort money.
After a couple hours on the bus, I noticed the bus did not take the turn to Machala but rather to Guayaquil and at that point I realized I was on the wrong bus. Guayaquil is about three hours further north than Machala and on the way to Quito so I just kept quiet. We finally stopped at the huge Guayaquil bus station and I got a ticket for the seven hour ride to Quito on a bus leaving at eleven that night. It was a long transit day and I was exhausted when we finally pulled into the buses’ station in the New Town section of Quito.


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