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Peru to Ecuador - Journey from Chachapoyas to Vilcabamba

22 °C

The most popular crossing from Peru to Ecuador is along the coast via Mancora..as we were in Chachapoyas, we tackled the furthest inland border crossing, renowned for being a scenic rural crossing with bad roads and many vehicle changes!

We headed north to Bagua Grande in an 'auto' which works like a shared taxi, picking people up and dropping them off along the way and despite an hour pit stop when our driver decided to have lunch, it was a smooth and very scenic drive along a river winding through green mountains. The first change wasn't a change at all, our smiling driver continued on our chosen route to Jaen, chewing some tasty sugar cane along the way, from some children selling it through the car window. The climate changed dramatically to became much more humid. After a quick tuk tuk to another taxi terminal in Jaen we were swiftly rounded into another 'auto' to San Ignasio where we spent the night in the pretty fancy Gran Hotel. All up about 9 hours and the scenery was magic.

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The next morning we choaked on dust for 2 hours along the 47k strech to La Balsa at the Ecuador border..yeah the road was pretty bad but they are doing a lot of work to improve it, which meant it had cut down our travel time from the expected 3hrs. Immigration in 5 mins and at 10:30am, we were in Ecuador!

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Just when everything was going smoothly it turned out we couldn't leave La Balsa until 6pm that night as there was a festival procession of thousands of people from Zumba walking down the only road out of town! Hmmm 7 hours twiddling our thumbs stuck at the border..luckily there were loads of people coming into town for the festival which gave it a buzz and plenty of music and street food on offer. Instead of heading all the way to Vilcabamba, we stayed the night in Zumba (1.5 hours away) with 3 other travellers who also got held up. They are travelling through the continent on motorbikes..two of them heading overland all the way to Vancouver!

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On our third day, we caught a 6 hours bus which cut its way over cliff edges, and into Vilcabamba ~ The Valley of Longevity. All in all a great trip and if it weren't for the once a year procession, easy to do.

For those contemplating the trip, all the info you need from the tourist office in Chachapoyas, is on here: www.thenomadway.com/chachapoyas-vilcabamba.php

Posted by TheNomadWay.com 17:00 Archived in Peru

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