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Sunset in Ecuador, Sunrise in Peru

AKA – How to travel by bus from Cuenca, Ecuador to Chiclayo, Peru.

One of our homework assignments while learning Spanish was to read about Atahualpa (the Incan King who “surrendered” to the Spanish).

This happened near Cajamarca, Peru. (Stay tuned for more on Atahualpa and Cajamarca.)

When we were looking into traveling from Cuenca, Ecuador to Lima, Peru (by bus – about 30 hours), we wanted a way to break up the trip a bit. Cajamarca was our answer. So, we did this instead:

(FYI – in trying to plan our route we found no one who told us the name of the bus companies… so this post is to help others find their way.)

The bus from Cuenca to Machala, Ecuador:

Pullman Sucre is the name of the company, and their office is inside the Cuenca bus terminal (Terminal Terrestre). In Machala, we switched buses (and bus companies) to CIFA International.

But, the tickets for both buses were purchased in Cuenca through Pullman Sucre.

Bus from Cuenca, Ecuador to Piura, Peru
This bus took us from Machala, across the border of Ecuador, and into Peru.

The border crossing at Tumbes was pretty basic and relatively easy as far as land crossings go.

However, the “no-man’s land” was huge! I would not have wanted to be on my own to find the two in/out offices.
crossing the border Ecuador to Peru

The CIFA International bus was pretty nice. It was much better than Pullman Sucre’s.

It wasn’t the best, but it was good enough.

Bus from Machala, Ecuador to Piura, Peru

Through Pullman Sucre, the tickets from Cuenca, Ecuador to Piura, Peru were $15 each.

Cuenca to Piura took 11 hours (with a 30 minute stopover in Machala for the bus change).

In case you didn’t know…it’s a desert in northern Peru.

Here’s the view.
Bus from Cuenca, Ecuador to Piura, Peru
Travel by night if you can.

When we arrived in Piura, Peru (where CIFA ended their route), we had to change buses and bus companies.

We took a taxi (because a Peruvian woman traveling the same route as us told us to).

And, Jonathan forgot what the exchange rate was… either that or he wasn’t awake yet.

In any case, he paid our taxi driver $7 for a 3 block ride. (That should have cost about $1-$2.)

We didn’t need a taxi… Transportes Chiclayo’s terminal is located (as said) basically just 2-3 blocks from CIFA International.

We took Transportes Chiclayo from Piura to Chiclayo.
(3 hours, $6 each for the “Bus Cama” (nicer) seats)

The bus was really nice!

We arrived, finally, in Chiclayo at about 10:00am.

This time, when we got a taxi, the driver first took us to get our tickets to Cajamarca.

Tonight, we will be traveling with Tourismo Dias on a night bus to Cajamarca (approx. 10 hours, $12 each).
Bus from Bus from Chiclayo to Cajamarca, Peru
Now, we’re in Chiclayo at a restaurant with internet our taxi driver recommended. It’s great!

It’s called Hebron, and they’re really nice and the food is good, and the internet is fast!

Check it out the next time you’re in Chiclayo.
Restaurant with internet in Chiclayo, Peru

15 thoughts on “Sunset in Ecuador, Sunrise in Peru

  1. Lisa

    So that’s where you were while we talked on skype!! It’s pretty cool they let you stay there all day!! Love ya! Mom

  2. Bailey

    I was Googling ´´Cuenca to Lima by bus´´ and came across this post of yours. Thank you for such good information, my boyfriend and I will probably try to do just what yall did because 30-plus hours on a bus sounds pretty brutal without a break.

    Se vayan bien y gracias!

  3. Daniel Lai

    I will be going to Machala in Sept 2013 and I have been seriously thinking of taking the bus to Lima from Machala. Friends of mine keep telling me safety is really an issue, robbing on the highway etc. Do you see it safe regarding bus rides from Machala to Lima for a single person?

    1. strive4impact

      We’ve never taken that route, but I would think you’d be alright. Just keep yourself aware, keep your backpack zipped when facing toward you, and drink bottled water.


      1. Daniel Lai

        Your comment on the backpack and bottled water is meant for the whole time staying in Peru as a precaution, not just the time on the bus ride??

  4. Derek

    This is a great find for me. I was somewhat stressing how to get to Chiclayo from Cuenca. I have to be there in a few days for a job. The details you gave are a life saver. Hope you still have the travel bug.

    All the best,

    1. strive4impact

      Hey Derek,

      I think “the Travel Bug” is more of a way of life for us. I’m really glad that this was a lifesaver for you and I hope that you will share our post with everyone you come across who might also benefit from knowing how to get to Chiclayo from Cuenca.

      What kind of job will you be doing there?

      1. Derek

        I’m going down to teach English for a few months as a getaway from my OTHER job. I’ve done this two other times and both times it ended up as a year long engagement because I loved living that life away. I have a crazy travel jones myself.

        On another note, after four years, your info is still valid. I’m here in Cuenca now. But I was enticed to talk to the Super Sumeria people and they offer an overnight bus for the same price with no switch over. The woman at the counter VOWED that it would be a nine hour trip to Piura in the ‘semi cama’ seat bus.(the swanky kind). I’ve yet to buy the ticket, but I’ll take that route and let you know.

        Tell your fella that today I took a cab from one side of the bus station to the other(being misinformed on the Panama Hat factory) and had already agreed to full price here. I’m VIGILANT about not getting screwed by cabs, but I took my lumps today. It could happen to anyone

        1. Jacqui

          Hey Derek,
          How did you go with Super Sumeria? Was it hassle free like they promised? How did the border crossing go? I’ve have heard some really sketchy stories about the Tumbes crossing, did you feel safe enough? Any info would be great, thinking of going tomorrow.

          1. Derek

            The bus was indeed hassle free. I didn’t have to change buses, the time was right, and the border has been revamped so that the Ecuador and Peru counters are literally right next to each other.
            The only problem was that the Immigration people from both sides didn’t really have any interest in working expediently, and one would often get up and just walk away and smoke a cigarette for a while and then come back. It took almost two hours to get through that convenient two desk line up.
            That crossing is safe as houses. There’s literally no touts there at all. Money changers, no vendors. They are chased away, as I understand it.

        2. Claire

          Hi Derek, my husband and I are making the trip from Cuenca to lima in a few days time, I just wondered how your trip worked out? Grateful for any information as we are just trying to figure out whether to cough up the money to fly from coca in ecuador down to lima/ cusco or bus it. Thank you! Claire

          1. Derek

            Well, crossing the border withSuperSumeria was fine. It was safe. The towns you are going to see in the early stages are not pretty at all.,…and it’s a Loooonnnnng way to Cusco. The country does get nicer as you move into the mountains but the roads are narrow and twisting so you are being tossed around so much that you can’t take a picture and it’s a picture from A BUS WINDOW. I’d say, if you have the means and want to save the time, take the flight.

          2. Claire

            Hi Derek,

            Thanks so much for your quick response – we had just reached decision to fly and so your message was brilliant to confirm we have made a good decision! As we were umming and ah ring whether there would be anything to see in Northern Peru. THANK YOU! Claire

  5. stephen

    This is absolutely a lifesaver. I have been living and working in (Colombia, Ecuador, Central America) for 4 years, and this is the only post I could find about traveling by bus from Cuenca, where I now live, to Chiclayo, to meet a friend. Thanks for your info.
    What time, if you remember, does the bus leave from Cuenca?


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