June 14 – 15, 2016
Hitchhiking in Ecuador didn’t start well for us. We had some minor booboos upon arrival in the border town of Huaquillas, Ecuador.
First booboo: we thought we couldn’t hitch outside the immigration (it can only be reached by yellow cabs as it’s too far to go on foot, quite annoying) so we took a $3 taxi back again to Huaquillas town proper and asked to be dropped off at the terminal where we would hop on a bus heading to Guayaquil. A few metres outside the immigration, we passed 3 hitchhikers on the road. Ugh.
Second booboo: buses in Huaquillas wouldn’t accept our hundred dollar bill no matter how crisp and new they are because they do not accept any bill higher than $20. It was super annoying and frustrating. We couldn’t find any money changer around the bus terminal area, and the few locals who volunteered to break our 100 asked for a huge cut which we naturally declined.
So off we walked again back to the direction of the border where I know we could exchange our money. We saw another bus company so we immediately booked our seats hoping they’d accept our hundred. But come payment time, upon seeing our $100 bill the lady’s face suddenly changed from surprise to fear. I will never understand the Ecuadorians’ fear of $50 and $100 bills.
By the way, we only had 5 minutes to spare before the bus was set to depart lol. Buti na lang pinaalis ko na si JC at pinaghanap ng mapapagpalitan! Luckily he found a guy to break the hundred but at $2 cost 🙁 It was another mad dash to the bus for us.
Four hours later, we made it to Guayaquil. To be specific, Guayaquil Terminal Terrestre where we decided to spend the night. We reckoned we’d catch the short bus trip just outside Guayaquil to catch a lift to Puerto Cayo the next day and instead of paying for a hostel for one measly night we’d stay in the bus terminal. It’s huge anyway with plenty of waiting areas to catch a few zzz’s.
Ecuador uses the dollar currency which meant everything seemed to be too expensive for us so we chose what we eat carefully (read: we went cheap). For our dinner, JC opted for a $1.99 KFC chicken meal while I scoured the food court for something of similar price.
Next morning (June 15), we paid $3 to get to peaje Chongon where we could catch possible lifts. It was scorching but we toughed it up til a lorry stopped for us that took us all the way to Manglaralto.
The road to the coastal towns of Ecuador is scenic, passing thru sloping mountains before going down and passing coastal towns. Cruising along this road inside a lorry with perfectly functioning AC was just perfect.
After 4 hours, the nice guy (I forgot to write down his name huhu) dropped us in Manglaralto where we tried for an hour to catch another lift to Puerto Cayo. Unfortunately, no one stopped for us so we hopped on a bus that took us all the way to Puerto Cayo. We paid $3.50 each. In front of the (only) gas station, we then hopped on a passenger truck – there was no mototaxi in sight – where the guy charged us $1 each to bring us to our host’s place. We made it to our host’s place just in time for supper!
Now we could shower and rest from travelling/hitchhiking, go easy for the next 3 weeks yay.