I did this trip a few years back. I would recommend going south to Chile.
There were problems at every turn, corrupt cops, taxi drivers, etc...
You best bet is to take the bus from Tumbes to Machala Equador and back.
There are buses that are in town when you arrive. The border is close to Tumbes .
As far as the hotels, they are expensive, the taxi drivers in Equador are decent. They can recommend a nice hostel (cheap). http://www.oroverdehotels.com/
The Peruvian side of the border was pretty bad.
My account of events:
1. Took Oltursa (bus) Lima - Tumbes (nice scenic costal trip)
2. Arrived in Tumbes late the bus to The border was not going out til the next morning.
3. Befriended a taxi to take me to the border 25 Sols (few years back).
4. Traffic was heavy at the border so the taxi took a short cut into the back road of the market on the border.
5. He stopped to grab a quick soda and when he came back he told me that the police wanted $100 to Allow us to proceed. The ghetto in me approached the police and he ask for my papers. He stood there looking at my passport and papers hoping i would panic and offer money. I did not so he gave me my papers and i left on foot to the ecuador side of the border - Walking distance.
The Taxi driver (Peru) followed me. I had already paid his fare and a big tip.
I now knew he was in on the scam. As i got into a cab to take me to Machala, the Peruvian cab driver was screaming that I had not paid my fare. The cops were coming, so I threw 100 sols at the cab driver (peru) to get him off my back. Then I took the cab (ecuador) to Machala.
Found a nice hostal downtown - center city and spent the night.
The next day I took the bus from Machala to Tumbes. The bus stops at the border to allow you to get your stamp in your passport. Also beware of shady people when you get in line to get your stamp when returning to Peru. They offer to help for a fee , many are pickpockets and will also ask to help you with you bags, they take off with it.
My suggestion is to take the bus both ways. It is cheaper and safer.
The bus company i took from Tumbas to Machala and back was named Cifa
Check this blog for info: http://perunews.wordpress.com/threatdow ... -crossing/
Please be safe, the northern border is chaos. There are. CHeckpoints on the highway going north where the police make everyone get off the bus and they send in drug dogs, this may happen 2 or 3 times in your travels to Tumbes. So any valuables you have keep them on you including your laptop and cell, because when reenter the bus they may not be there.