What is it about crossing international borders overland that makes one nervous in anticipation, even though you have nothing to hide?
At Hosteria Izhcayluma, we made friends with two Americans, Janice and Andrew, who are also travelling for a year and in the same direction. Together, we departed taking an early bus towards Zumba where we expected to spend the night before continuing the next day towards the Ecuador/Peru border and on to Chachapoyas.
The bus stops are not marked; you simply wait by the roadside and flag down the one you want when it comes along. On board, at some point, someone will come around to collect the fare.
The drive to Zumba took less time than we anticipated, so when a taxi driver approached offering the one hour drive to the border, we decided to continue on.
At the Ecuadorian border side, the taxi pulled up to the immigration building. A quick visit with the border agent and we had an exit stamp in our passports.
Next stop, the money exchange to buy some Peruvian Soles.
The four of us wandered across the bridge over the Rio Canchis, the river separating the two countries. It was quiet, almost like a movie set waiting for the action to start.
View of the border, looking back towards Ecuador.
Once across into La Balza, Peru, it was unclear exactly where to go. We must have looked confused, and someone pointed us to the Peruvian immigration office.
We entered in pairs, the officer took our passports, typed away on his computer while we completed the necessary form. He then turned the screen in our direction to confirm our data.
In broken English, he asked how long we would be staying, and in our imperfect Spanish, we answered one month. Peru is a beautiful country, and we might need 90 days he suggested.
Our first border crossing was both unusual and uneventful; the whole process was smooth and easy.
With the legalities taken care of, it was time for a ‘Crystal’ while we waited for a colectivo or taxi to San Ignacio, our next destination.
“Cheers to hassle free border crossings.”