Hitchhiking Stories: Chicama To Tumbes

June 12 – 13, 2016

It was our first time to try hitchhiking in Peru so we left the hostel early, took a bus out of Huanchaco (1.50 Soles/person) and got off at Metro where we jumped on another bus going to Chicama. We asked the bus driver to drop us off in a peaje (4 Soles/person) where we would be waiting for anyone that would be willing to take us anywhere north.

Surprisingly for newbies who didn’t even had a proper sign (lol) we only had to wait 35 minutes. Our first lorry experience! Unfortunately, Manuel could only take us to Pacasmayo which was a little over 100 kms north of Chicama. It was still something so we were fine with it.

Hitchhiking in Peru, South America
Our first lorry! Here with Manuel who drove us til Pacasmayo.
Hitchhiking in Peru, South America
Our view of Panamerica Norte from the lorry

Hitchhiking in Peru, South America

Hitchhiking in Peru, South America

Arrived in Pacasmayo at 11.30am. Had a snack/lunch along the road while waiting for another lorry to take us north. However, seeing as that spot was not conducive for hitchhiking we walked 500m to what we thought was a good spot.

Hitchhiking in Peru
Lunch break along the road while we wait for a lift

An hour passed without any car stopping for us. Then another hitchhiker, Nikola (he’s a guy but really that’s his name) joined us in our spot. He’s a young Peruvian trying to hitchhike to his hometown, Sullana. Please don’t blame us if it crossed our narrow brains that he was a competition or that 3 persons hitchhiking will have lesser chance of getting picked up by anyone. We wanted to change spot, leave him, but my packs are too heavy and I just can’t be bothered to walk so Nikola stayed.

Hitchhiking in Peru, South America
JC hitchhiking in Pacasmayo

Hitchhiking in Peru

Hitchhiking in Peru, South America
Mac & Cheese with Nikola at the back of a lorry somewhere in the Panamerica Norte

After 7 hours we made it to Sullana, a town a little after Piura. This is where Nikola waved us goodbye but not before telling us to give him a call if we ever come back that way again. Jorge drove 10 more minutes then stopped in a parking area where other lorries are parked as well. We finally got invited inside. He also stashed our packs in a safe place somewhere in the pit of the lorry before disappearing for dinner. 

We wandered to the lone food cart in the area. Some tables and chairs were set up where a few locals where having a bite. We looked and asked around how much they were selling it for and got the surprise of a lifetime which until to this day I still can’t believe. The food was free. I thought I heard wrong but when I asked the second time, another lady confirmed that indeed it was for free.

So that’s how we ended up eating one of the best meals of our entire hitchhiking saga (I mean, so far). The lady even gave us each hot tea to warm our bellies. I don’t know the real deal nor the procedure but somehow we got away with a delicious and warm dinner to which we are both thankful. Then we headed to the lorry to grab a quick nap. Jorge set up an alarm at 1am so I think we managed to snag some 3 – 4 hours rest.

Hitchhiking in Peru

Jorge drove from 1am to 7:30 am, our arrival in Tumbes. JC and I managed to catch more zzz’s in between those hours. I can’t believe we travelled 600+ kilometres north for free. Huaquillas, the border town of Ecuador, is just a few minutes away. We said our thanks and goodbye to Jorge and resumed our journey to Ecuador.

Hitchhiking in Peru, South America
Approaching the town of Tumbes

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