Cuenca Ecuador to Mancora Peru: Crossing the Border with Night Bus

Border crossings are always extremely confusing, especially if you are backpacking or traveling in South America.

If you are ever traveling from Ecuador to Peru, you probably thought about going from Cuenca Ecuador to Mancora. It is one of the most convenient ways to cross the border between these two countries because there are night buses that run between the two cities.

After doing this myself border crossing, I knew I had to share this experience because I had so much difficulty finding it online.

In this guide, you will learn about the border crossing from Cuenca to Mancora by night bus, what time the buses depart, the whole immigration process, and what to do once you arrive in Mancora!

📝 Note: We decided to take the night bus because we were on a budget wanted to save a night of accommodation. There are day buses that depart from Cuenca to Mancora as well, but the journey time is slightly longer because of the traffic and congestion at border crossing.

Buying Your Bus Ticket And Selecting The Right Bus Company

The most difficult part of crossing the border from Cuenca to Mancora is making sure you have the proper night bus. That means buying your bus ticket from the right company at the correct time.

Luckily for you, this procedure is quite simple.

The Terminal Terrestre of Cuenca (or the main bus terminal) has 2 companies offering night buses from Cuenca to Mancora. They both depart at 9:30 PM, “Ecuadorian time”, meaning give or take half an hour. Always arrive half an hour early to be safe.

My 9:30 PM bus actually left 30 minutes early that night!

I took the cheaper bus that cost $20 USD while the other one cost $22 USD. The cheaper bus that I took was one of the most comfortable buses I have ever taken and they also provided a small meal on board, as most buses do in Peru.

I did hear that the cheaper one doesn’t provide food and there is no food stops along the way.

Terminal Terrestra is the main bus terminal in Cuenca, and I HIGHLY recommend you to go there a day before to ask about the bus situation from Cuenca to Mancora. That is because like most things in South America, things change frequently and often without notice.

In Terminal Terrestra, there is an information center with a reception that speaks English! The receptionist will be able to answer all the questions you have about the bus to Mancora.

Cuenca To Mancora Night Bus Journey

In comparison to the buses in Ecuador, the night bus from Cuenca to Mancora will be much better in quality and comfort, but about the same in terms of security.

Be aware of your belongings, keep your valuables with you and don’t put your bag underneath your seat or near the top. If you have a big bag with you, you can store that underneath the bus but make sure you have a padlock on it. For that reason, I always travel with 2 combination locks.

The buses departed Cuenca at around 9:30 PM and arrived at the Ecuador/Peru border at around 1:00 AM.

Immigration Process at the Border

The immigration process at the border was one of the smoothest I have ever had. The bus drops you off at a small little building that contains both the immigration officers from Ecuador and Peru. Everything was smooth, no specific questions were asked, no yellow fever vaccines were needed.

The Peruvian officer will ask you how many days you plan on staying in Peru. Depending on what passport you hold, you can get up to 183 days visa-free stay in Peru (for EU passport and US Passport).

See whether you need a visa or not and how many days you can stay in Peru here!

However, I got a stamp for 90 days only because I told the officer I was staying for 1 to 2 months. Always say a little more than intended just in case, especially if you are backpacking Peru!

After getting through the immigration process, you will walk about 200m to the parking lot on the Peruvian side.

Don’t be shocked on your walk because you will see many people sleeping on the sides on your way. (I believe they are Venezuelans that have left their country due to the Venezuelan Crisis.)

Arriving in Mancora

You will arrive in Mancora at around 5:00 AM. It is still dark and the moment you arrive, you will be bombarded by tuk-tuk drivers trying to make a quick buck off of uninformed tourists.

The tuk tuk drivers will tell you that Mancora is dangerous and you should not walk in the dark. Mancora is definitely not the safest city but usually, nothing happens. If you are traveling with someone else, it will be much safer to walk to your accommodation.

We walked to our accommodation in Mancora and nothing bad happened to us, but we heard tales of people getting robbed. In hindsight, we should’ve taken the offer with the tuk-tuk driver because it was such a small amount of money.

Well, at least our first impression of Peru was a magical sunrise!

If you decide to take the tuk-tuk, please bargain. The ride to your accommodation from where you are dropped off should cost around 5 Peruvian soles or 1.5 USD, but they will ask for 5 USD or even 10 USD!

There is also an ATM close to where you are dropped off for anyone that wants to take out some Peruvian soles.

Where To Stay In Mancora, Peru

Best Hotel in Mancora – Las Olas

Beachfront Hotel Mancora Peru
Where to Stay Mancora Peru

If you are looking for a beachfront hotel in Mancora that won’t break the bank, then Las Olas is the perfect place for you. Situated on a quiet part of Mancora Beach, guests can fully enjoy the relaxing vibes that come with the beautiful waters and soft sand.

The rooms at Las Olas are spacious and comfortable. Depending on what you’ve picked, you might even have a terrace with a gorgeous sea view!

Best Hostel in Mancora – The Point

The Point Hotel in Mancora
Point Mancora Hotel

The Point is a chill and social hostel in Mancora with an amazing location right on the beach. It has an amazing atmosphere and simple decor as well as the perfect balance between partying and a good night’s rest.

The outdoor common area with a pool is an excellent place to relax after a long day exploring Mancora or to meet some new people.

Cuenca To Mancora Bus FAQs

Is The Cuenca to Mancora Bus Safe?

The Cuenca to Mancora bus is generally safe, especially when compared to the safety of other parts of the country. Robbery and crime is quite low along that route, and I’ve personally not met anyone that encountered any trouble on the bus.

Is Mancora Worth Visiting?

Mancora is definitely worth visiting if you are looking for a cheap destination for surfing, relaxing on the beach, and partying hard!

How Long Does The Bus Take To Get From Cuenca To Mancora?

The bus from Cuenca to Mancora typically takes 8 and a half hours when there is no traffic. Keep in mind that you’ll have to account for immigration time, which is usually pretty quick.

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I hope this guide about the border crossing from Cuenca to Mancora with the night bus answers all the questions you have! If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

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3 thoughts on “Cuenca Ecuador to Mancora Peru: Crossing the Border with Night Bus”

  1. Hi Sean,
    Which bus company did you use? Can you remember the name?
    We are hoping to make this trip in May this year.
    Thanks in advance for this info!


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