Aguas Verdes: The scariest experience of my life

Aguas Verdes Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 21 › view all entries
For anyone that is crossing the Peruvian and Ecuadorian border, take the utmost of care... or maybe just fly.. bacause the border crossing will scare the hell out of you. 

I had planned on stopping in Tumbes, Peru which is about 20 KM from the border to take a bus with an ecuadorian company from there.. but upon arriving to Tumbes, i was informed that the bus wouldnt be leaving for another 8 hours.  My friends and I decided that we would cross the border in a taxi and take a bus from the Ecuadorian side.  I remember thinking.. how dangerous could it be?  i had no idea what i was getting myself into. 

We hopped off the bus at the Peruvian customs office to get the exit stamps for our passports and we were immediately hounded by locals, offering us safe passage accross the border.  I finished in the customs office early and was sitting outside, waiting for trey to finish.  I was wearing some aviator sun glasses and trying to look as threatening as possible when a group of Peruvians came over to talk to me.  One of them said that i looked like a mobster and proceeded to pull out a pistol to show it to me.  Its hard to describe what was going through my head at that moment.. but i managed to keep my calm and i said "es una buena pistola"  (thats a nice gun).  They laughed and the guy slid his gun back in his pocket. 

After Trey came out, another local came over and said they he worked with the customs office and that he was a guide that takes tourists accross the border safely.  We decided to believe him and go into a small cart pulled by a motorcycle with the "guide".   According to the guide, we had to ride the taxi some 4 km to the border town of Aguas Verdes and then get out walk the rest of the way to the border.  The paved road turned into a muddy diry road as be approached Aguas Verdes.  We got out of the taxi and began walking through to sketchiest place i have ever been.. everyone was looking at us because it was so obvious that we did not belong there.  The streets were pretty packed with people and markets, which the guide called mercados negros or black markets where you can buy anything ilegal, from drugs to guns. 

We made it throught the black markets and finally crossed the well guarded Ecuadorian border.  As soon as we crossed the border, i immediatly felt at ease becasue the roads were paved again and there wernt nearly as many sketchy looking people.  Our guided walked with us to the bus terminal where we purchased our tickets for Quito.  Our guide then explained to us that we had to take a taxi to the Ecuadorian customs office to get our passport stamps and then get back to the bus  terminal.  Then he said that we all owed him $20 each for getting us accross the border safely.  THough i gave him some greef for the price, i payed him because i didnt want to risk anything else bad happning.  In retrospect, the guide was probably a scam artist that takes tourists to the scariest part of Aguas Verdes to scare the hell out of them so that he could charge whatever he wanted.  For other people considering doing this border crossing, try to look for an alternative rout..  consider taking a bus from Tumbes that has service to Quito. 

In the end, this border crossing was a major learning experience. The important thing is that we made it through alright.  As for our next border crossing into Colombia, we have already found a bus company that helps with border crossing formalities. 
RainyDayToast says:
Scary stuff, about to do this in the next wee while also so thanks for the heads up !
Posted on: Sep 22, 2007
sarahkoca says:
Hey Tris- You never know when "es una buena pistola" might come in handy! I thought Grandma was going to have a heart attack when we read this entry. Now that's it's over though, and you survived, it's a great story you'll be telling for years to come. -Sarah
Posted on: Jul 26, 2007
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Aguas Verdes
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