Ecuador - Not Long Enough


Ecuador, and specifically, the Galapagos Islands have been on my travel bucket list for more than a decade.    I finally made it to Ecuador in January, 2020, but unfortunately, most of the country and the islands still remain on the travel to-do list.

We were on vacation in Tumbes in the northern part of Peru.  From there it is less than 15 miles to Ecuadoran border town of Cantón Huaquillas.   We decided to check it out. 

At the time of my visit, there were a lot of Venezuelans who were trying to leave their country for Peru.  And one of the routes was across the Peru-Ecuador border.  I had my passport with me but had already decided that if there was a huge line at immigration, that I would not cross over.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the border and it was wide open.   There was a single Peruvian officer hanging out near the border.  I asked him if I would need my passport to return and he said "no," not as long as we remained in the area of the border.

It's an active border with lots of stores on either side and people walking back and forth.   The only visible sign that you are in a different country, other than the welcome sign, is that all the prices in Ecuador are displayed in US Dollars, its official currency,  instead of Peruvian Soles.   

Steve Hunsicker at the Peru - Ecuador border

We hung out on the Ecuador side for less than an hour.   We then headed back to Peru for lunch.   The waiter told us that the border is guarded on the outskirts of town but that in the town everyone is free to move back and forth.   He said the police generally stop the buses and search to make sure everyone is legal.

I got to see that first hand.  The next day, the Peruvian police bordered the bus I was riding looking for people who might have snuck across the border.   They looked at everyone on the bus.  The only person who had to show ID:  me!


I hope to get back to Ecuador and to dive the Galapagos.  I know there is much more to see in the country which is part of both the northern and southern hemispheres.  

I didn't know it at the time, but Ecuador turned out to be the only new country I visited in 2020. The Pandemic hit after I got home from there and Peru in mid-January.   

Dates of Travel

  • January, 2020

Places Visited

  • Cantón Huaquillas



This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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