Getting there & away
You can usually find a bus to Lima within 24 hours of your arrival in Tumbes, but they’re sometimes (especially major holidays) sold out a few days in advance. You can take a bus south to another major city and try again from there.
Buses to Lima take 16 to 18 hours. Some companies offer a limited-stop special service, with air-con, bathrooms and video; some have deluxe, nonstop bus-cama services. Slower services stop at Piura (five hours), Chiclayo (seven to eight hours) and Trujillo (nine to 10 hours). If you are heading to Piura, you can catch a much faster colectivo taxi (US$6, 3½ hours).
If you’re going to Ecuador, it’s easiest to go with Cifa, an Ecuadorian company that stops at the border for you to complete passport formalities.
Cial (52 6350; Tumbes 572) Services to Lima at 1:15pm (US$15), 5pm (bus-cama US$27 to US$36) and 5:45pm (US$15).
Civa (52 5120; Tumbes 518) Lima services at 1:30pm (US$15), 4pm (bus-cama US$25.50 to US$36) and 6:15pm (US$15).
Cruz del Sur (52 6200; Tumbes 319) To Lima (bus-cama US$39 to US$48) at 3pm.
Oltursa (52 6524; Tumbes 946) Bus-cama service to Lima (US$36 to US$45) at 4pm.
Ormeño (52 2288, 52 2228; Tumbes 314) Two classes of bus to Lima (US$22.50 to US$33) via Chiclayo (US$9 to US$13.50) and Trujillo (US$13.50 to US$19.50), the cheaper one leaving at 1pm and the pricier one at 5:30pm.
Tepsa (52 2428; Tumbes 199) To Lima (US$28.50) at 2:30pm.
If you’re heading for Puerto Pizarro (US$0.30, 15 minutes), Zorritos (US$0.60, about one hour) or Máncora (US$1.80, two hours), there are combi stops in Tumbes near the market area. Ask locals, as the stops aren’t marked. Buses to Casitas leave at 1pm (US$3, five hours), while the Rica Playa bus leaves at midday (US$0.90, two hours).
The airport (code TBP; 52 5102) is 8km north of town; the usual US$3.57 airport departure tax is charged. Aero Condor Perú (52 4835; Grau 454) has a daily flight from Lima to Tumbes (US$102) leaving at 5:30pm and returning to Lima at 7:30pm.