We caught an Ecuadorian bus the next morning from Cuenca to the border town and then hopped onto a local Peruvian bus to head through border formalities and onto Mancora, a popular surf town in Northern Peru. It is only supposed to be a couple of hours from the border to Mancora but we ended up having a few delays. Up until recently you had to visit two different stations when crossing the border by land but there is a brand new facility housing both Ecuador and Peruvian officials which is good. It was a bit weird cos the Ecuadorian official made Ty fill out this exit form but he didn’t make me do it and I had gone through before him. Once we had been cleared for entrance we ended up sitting around for what felt like ages, it was kinda frustrating cos we just wanted to get on our way again and couldn’t work out what was going on. Once they let us back on the bus I noticed 3 local looking ladies chatting with our driver and I presumed they had just turned up and wanted to get a ride as I saw him point to the customs stand and then we waited another 10 min for them to go through before we got on the road, except that Ty said he had seen them on our bus originally so I was a bit confused. Heading along the Pan Americana highway we had two security customs check points to pass through within the 3 hour ride and something had obviously been going on with the local looking ladies (who turned out to be from the Dominican) as they and their luggage was taken off the bus and put into a customs car. Ty’s ‘looking like a local’ seemed to be working against him that day as when they were questioning the Dominican ladies they came over and asked to see his passport and entry stamps too (but not mine!). At least everything was in order though so he didn’t get hassled.
Chilling by the beach
Green Eggs and Ham - best hangover milkshakes!
Mancora was bigger than I had expected and greeted us with the glorious sunshine we had been hoping for in Montanita. After a cheap dinner in town we joined some of the others at the hostel for Happy Hour. A few too many passion-fruit slushy cocktails later, Tyro earnt himself some boyfriend credits and I woke up the next morning feeling a little worse for wear! Fortunately there is a delicious café in town called Green Eggs and Ham which has a milk bar attached and their chocolate shakes sorted me right out.

We spent a couple of lazy days relaxing, and working out a rough plan for the remaining time of our trip. The town is infamous for its surf but on the days we visited it was pretty much flat as a lake. We were a bit disappointed as we had wanted to try again after our failed attempts in El Tunco, so we did hire a board for an hour one day when it looked like it was about to pick up but we spent most of our time just floating around.

On our final day I had tried (and failed) to order 3 different satisfying gluten free meals to fill me up before we got on our overnight bus and was ready to give in and head down to the burger bar when we decided to try out one of the restaurants that a guy we had met at Café Eucalyptus in Cuenca had told us about. It was such a good decision – we both ate what was probably the best tuna steaks of our lives and even though it made our wallets lighter than the burgers would have it was so worth it!

Next stop: Lima

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