We had been fairly apprehensive ahead of the border crossing into Peru so instead of heading directly there went from Cuenca to Machala on the coast where you could pick up a bus that would actually take you over the border rather than ditching you in the vile, smelly sess pit of Huaquillas. We got up at the crack of dawn and were at the bus station in Cuenca for 6:20am. However with best laid plans and all that we still had to wait till 7am for a bus. 4 hours later we rolled into Machala, a hot, sweaty insignificant city on the coast. The heat was a stark contrast from the 2 weeks travelling at altitude through cloud and rain and to make matters worse we missed the bus by literally one minute and had to wait 3 hours for the next one! Not much fun!
The border crossing was largely uneventful but we were thankful we had chosen the bus rather than the DIY route. The bus dropped us at Tumbes over the border and from there we travelled by collectivo onto the beach town of Mancora down the coast with an Aussie couple we had met.
Mancora is a short 3km strip of the Pan American highway with a plenty of cafes, restaurants etc. We had heard good things about the place and were perhaps expecting some sort of Thai beach resort so we fairly disappointed with the only similarity being the tuk tuk type motos. However we still had a relaxing couple of days doing nothing other than clearing grasshoppers out of our room, bags, clothing etc (the town is infested!) and watching the surfers and impressive kite surfers.
I did try my hand at surfing and having never been good had got even worse in the two years since I had last done it so spent more time in the water than on a board!
We left on a 8 hour night bus at 10pm bound for Trujillo but rather than being in any way comfortable we had almost no leg room, the tv was on full blast, there was no air con or toilet and it took over 9 1/2 hours. Our Aussie companion, who at 6 ft 9" makes Peter Crouch look small, had to take up the entire back seat and woke up to find his possessions had magically been stolen through the night!!