At first, it always seems like a good idea when we decide to go to Pucallpa by bus, instead of by plane. At first! First of all, it’s cheaper. We try to be wise with the money that we have and don’t want to spend it on things that are not necessary. It costs half as much to ride the bus as it does to fly to Pucallpa. Second of all, we have snacks! We love road trips, especially when there are snacks involved or because snacks ARE involved. How bad could the 18 hour bus ride be???
Last year we braved the long bus ride to Pucallpa for the first time. Really it wasn’t bad, except for the one bathroom they had on board. It’s a non-stop drive to the Jungle from Lima and you have approx. 75 people sharing one bathroom. Just imagine…or maybe not!!!
We started the trip at 1:30 pm and were expected to arrive in Pucallpa the next morning around 7:30 am. I think there is a reason why they do most of the travelling by night – so the passengers can’t see the condition of the one road we are travelling on!!! There are times where the road is so narrow, it seems the bus can barely pass through. There are no guardrails in many of the places and the drop down would take us into roaring rapids. Some parts of the dirt road have caved in and fallen down and it is just amazing that the bus even fits on certain parts without slipping down the side of the embankment. We saw parts of it in the daylight – couldn’t see the side of the road – just the raging river under the side of the bus and we wondered how we made it…then again…we have the favor!
The inside of the bus is always a gamble! You never know who will be on the 18 hour journey with you. Throughout the trip there are security guards, kids, and vendors that randomly hop on and try to sell you things. One time we hadn’t stopped in a couple of hours and yet a man came up the aisle with some popsicles and ice cream to sell. We still have no idea where he came from or where he went afterwards!
On our trip back to Lima from Pucallpa, there was a guy that sat right behind us that kept yelling out things in broken Spanish (we think he might have been German). Seriously thought there was going to be some type of altercation with someone on the bus if not one of us. But God took care of him. He got VIOLENT altitude sickness as we passed over the 16,000 ft high mountains, going back and forth on the switchback road. Calmed him down!
In His Mighty Grip travelling through the mountains,