Getting to Ecuador from Peru was incredibly tiring. We left Lima at 4:30pm and arrived in Piura the next day @ 8:30am, so a 16 hour bus ride. We took Cruz Del Sur which is the best bus line in Peru and it cost us 90 soles (~$32 USD) which was more than we wanted to spend. After we arrived in Piura we got in a South American styled tuk tuk vehicle, or mototaxi, and went to a different bus terminal. We waited for about an hour and then hopped on Loja International to cross the border into Ecuador and take us to the city of Loja. It cost us 34 soles (~$12 USD) and that bus ride was another eight hours. Crossing the border was easy but it was bloody hot.
We have been traveling now for nearly three months and it's been mostly cold or cool weather but the border was sunny and hot. One strange thing about this bus though, there was a bathroom on board but it was locked so if you wanted to use it you needed the bus attendant to unlock it every time, honestly quite ridiculous. But after all our time on buses we finally made it into Ecuador. When we arrived to Loja we got a cab (for $1 which is cheaper already oh and Ecuador's currency is the US dollar since 2003) and arrived to our hotel. We stayed at a little place called Hotel Londres which was $6 for the night. Immediately after checking in we went in search of real food, since it had been nearly two days since we ate actual food. But of course it was a Sunday and it was early evening so nearly everything was closed until I finally spotted a Chifa restaurant (Chinese food) and we ordered veggies and rice, it was delicious and we almost cried we were so happy to eat something with some sustenance.
Honestly there isn't much to do in Loja (unless you visit somewhat nearby Podocarpus National Park) so we left the next day. When we left Loja we took a bus to Cuenca which was four and half hours and cost $7.50. When we arrived to Cuenca we saw how massive the city was and how a lot of the buildings in the center were beautifully constructed. We stayed in Cuenca for two nights at Posada Rio which was $10 a night. It was a nice place with the exception of really creaky floor boards and a neighboring building which had a guy hammering at 7am so you could hear it throughout our entire hostel. Cuenca is a nice city but honestly unless you are really into colonial buildings and churches there isn't much to do. We spent our day in Cuenca wandering around and eating food. If you go to Cuenca, eat at Cafe Eucalyptus, the food was fantastic. Outside of Cuenca there is also Cajas National Park but we are running out of time and are saving our time for other national parks and reserves. So after our time in Cuenca we head for Baños. I am in Baños now so I'll be posting my next blog from there.