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There are four official border crossings: two into Peru and two into Colombia. Entering Peru and Colombia are relatively straight forward affairs. You are required to present a valid passport for stamping and occasionally proof of financial independence. This can be in the form of a return plane ticket, cash (minimum of USD 20 per day), traveler’s checks and or credit card. Respectable-looking travelers will rarely be asked to provide any of the above to border officials, however if you look scruffy… well, don’t be surprised if you are confronted with hassles and delays. (In Latin America, dressing overly casual can be taken as a sign of disrespect.) Copies of passports and other forms of identification will NOT be accepted. Provisional passports are sometimes accepted but sometimes they are not. Use your best judgement.
Very few nationalities require a prearranged visas to enter Peru or Colombia from Ecuador, although we suggest you consult with embassy representatives before leaving your home country, as visa regulations can and do change frequently. Not surprisingly, the situation at borders can change daily, so it is best to consult with other travelers and/or the South American Explorers for the latest information.
Travelers entering Ecuador will be required to present a T3 card (available upon arrival at borders and airports), in addition to a valid passport. You will automatically receive a 90-day tourist visa. If you want to stay longer, extensions – up to three additional months – can easily be made at the immigration office in Quito (across from El Jardín shopping center on Amazonas 2649; 2nd floor; office; open 8-12 and 3-6 Mon – Fri). Oddly enough, you can only get your visa extended on the day it expires or within a few days thereafter; the fee is only a dollar or two..
Do NOT lose your T3 card as it is necessary for exiting the country, visa extensions and military check points. If you happen to lose your card, they are easily replaced – but do it ahead of time to avoid border and airport delays in addition to the pompous attitudes of immigration officials who seem to enjoy seeing you sweat.
Tulcan – Ipiales
The border is open 7 days a week from 0600 – 2100. Beware of border-crossing scams and scammers; official looking and acting people may not be official, so ONLY have your passport handled by people in the actual office.
Lago Agrio – San Miguel
This border appears to be slightly less official and the logistics are quite complicated. You must get your passport stamped at the police station in Lagro Agrio (Quito 111-PS-T125) BEFORE taking a bus north to La Punta (1 1/4 hours), where you deliver your T3 card to the military guard on duty. Then you cross the Río San Miguel via boat (1 hour) to reach San Miguel on the Colombian side of the river. Apart from the logistical hassels, we have not heard any reports of problems crossing here.
Not recommended due to drug smugglers on Peruvian side.
The border is open 7 days a week from 0800 – 1800 (closed for lunch 1200 – 1400).
Huaquillas – Tumbes
The border is open 7 days a week from 0800 – 1800 (closed for lunch 1200 – 1400). The border may close earlier on Sundays (ask a local).