We’ve been looking forward to Peru for a while. Not so much for Machu Picchu-like attractions, which I may even pass on, but because the Andes riding is a test and a reward for the solo rider. Big distances, barren landscapes, good dirt.
Also, Peru is huge. Three times the size of California. 50% bigger than BC.
But first we have to cross the border today. Lonely Planet guides are a bit huge for me so I use apps called Viva! on my iPad mini for basic beta. The paragraph about the Huaquillas crossing ahead reads this way. Click for a fun/scary read
Well thankfully that isn’t going to be our experience of it, but they’re right, Huaquillas is a full-on lawless dive. But most Latin border towns are.
The day’s track. The Garmin has decided to not track me south of the border today, so just pretend I follow the coastline where the track straightlines. I can’t wait for Google to come out with GPS hardware for Google maps.
The ride is over 200 miles, plus an unknown amount of hours at the border, so it’s an early start. If something goes sideways we’re going to have to return to Machala, another lawless dive. Fingers crossed, we have a nice green start out of Cuenca
We’re headed for a long-distance-rider mecca: Mancora. A fishing village on a long beach with the best food in thousands of miles. Specifically the ceviche.
It goes dry very fast and we ride through a high canyon for a couple of hours
We haven’t seen a soul in hours then these guys fixing a power line make for a nice pic
Down to an interesting mountain town on a river
Worried about the time we speed up and soon we’re in Ecuador’s Nanaimo visual equivalent, Huaquillas. We speed through because Lucinda’s in no mood to be raped today
Then we go through miles, really, of banana plantation. It’s harvest time
Further on we arrive at the border for the usual procedure: Ecuador immigration, aduana, Peru immigration, aduana then seguro. It’s ridiculously modern, what a surprise, no more than a year or two old. And incredibly, Ecuador and Peru share the same immigration building. There’s a bit of a hang up as my adauna guy is in training and can’t figure out the paperwork, but after all this time I’m up to speed enough to know what we need and we’re through in about 90 minutes. Wow
Here’s the SOAT lady’s son. She’s gone off to find the money changer for me who only screws me out of .17 Peru solas per dollar. About a 6% haircut
That done, we pass through the Peru-side border town of Aguas Verdes, which is not so bad, and we see for the first time Peru’s equivalent of a cab
Very quickly it’s arid as we head south
Into Mancora. The sky has alternating low patches of pelicans and high patches of frigate birds