We recently used Bolivia Hop and Peru Hop whilst travelling around this part of South America. Their service made life a heck of a lot easier than the public buses that we’d become used to. Read on for our honest thoughts on becoming Hopsters.
This is a review you need to read if you’re headed to Peru!
Hopping Around Bolivia and Peru: How It Works
The beauty of hopping your way around Bolivia and Peru is in the simplicity of it all. For one reasonable rate travellers have up to a year to carry out their all of their adventures under the watchful eye of local guides. All you need to do is figure out which route you’d like to undertake and decide how long you’d like to spend at each stop. The tickets are flexible and you can spend as long at each stop as you like (or, should you prefer, you can race right on through).
Whether you have a great deal of time or are just passing through Peru to see the highlights, there’s a ticket option to suit. From single day itineraries to the see-it-all La Paz to Cusco to Lima pass that takes a minimum of 11 days (the option we chose) and everything in between; the question shouldn’t be whether you’ll join Bolivia Hop and Peru Hop, but which journey you’d like to take with them.
What We Loved About Being Hopsters
Having travelled broadly throughout South America on our six-month trip, we experienced the best and the worst of the continent’s transport system and can recommend the Peru Hop and Bolivia Hop passes unreservedly.
There’s lots to love about these guys.
- The buses are in good nick. Though the sizes and types of bus vary, we always found them to be clean, tidy and comfortable. All buses come equipped with bathrooms (for #1s only, so you can be sure the bus won’t stink at the end of a 12+ hour journey) and TV screens playing modern, English movies (I can’t tell you how much we came to appreciate this after all of the Spanish-dubbed movies we saw on other bus rides!)
- Guides accompany you on all journeys. Having spent months in South America trying to figure out things for ourselves in a language that we were anything but comfortable with, it was a breath of fresh air to have well-trained, friendly English-speaking guides onboard all journeys.
- There’s the option to stop along the way at points of interest. Public buses travel straight from one stop to the next, with only very brief stops for food along the way (sometimes, not even that). By comparison, Peru and Bolivia Hop specifically allow time at certain spots that might be of interest, either including a visit to them free of charge or an optional excursion for a nominal fee.
- They pick you up from your hostel and drop you off at the next one. To make life easy, Peru Hop will either drop you at your hostel (presuming it’s within the central zone of each town/city), saving you a taxi fare. In Cusco, where they aren’t legally allowed to take the bus onto the city’s historic streets, they’ll pay for your taxi.
- Your passes get you discounted accommodation and activities. Though you’re free to organise your own accommodation and activities, we almost exclusively used the companies Peru Hop recommended. #1, as Hopsters, we received discounts (in some cases, fairly substantial ones) #2, we knew they’d always be able to drop us off at the hostels and #3, we knew that by booking official excursions, we knew the bus would always wait for us if our tour was delayed.
- Absolute flexibility or locked-in plans? The choice is yours. Once you’ve decided on your pass of choice, it’s entirely up to you how you plan out the journey itself. The online system for Peru and Bolivia Hop is easy to use and clearly shows which buses have availability, allowing you to book onto your bus of choice and to easily amend your booking should you wish to. You can do as we did, and adjust your plans as you go, or lock in set dates from the get-go.
Reviewing our Bolivia Hop/Peru Hop Itinerary
With a fair bit of time up our sleeves, Nathan and I decided to book on the most involved Bolivia and Peru Hop itinerary – we had the time and the flexibility so we were determined to see as much as possible whilst travelling at a relaxed pace.
The following is our no-holds-barred review of each of the spots. Keep in mind that each of these are based on our personal thoughts – we always know of some other travellers that would disagree with what we’re about to say, so consider all of your options when booking your route.
La Paz – 8/10
The starting point of our Bolivia Hop trip, we enjoyed the hustle and bustle of this vibrant South American city. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I certainly enjoyed it more than Nathan, but we both had a great time hanging out in what felt like a very authentic place.
Where to eat: Cafe del Mundo – seriously good Western food at affordable prices
Where to stay: Landscape – International B&B
Copacabana – 6/10
This sleepy little town on the shores of Lake Titicaca is a great place to recharge your batteries for a day or two. There’s not a heck of a lot to do there but maybe that’s half the beauty of the place.
What to do: An afternoon trip to Isla del Sol
Where to eat: El Condor & The Eagle Cafe – though it was closed by the time we made it there, it was highly recommended.
Puno – 4/10
We wanted to love Puno and the Floating Islands, we really did. Compared to the other incredible parts of Peru though, we found it to be somewhat disappointing though.
What to see: An afternoon visit to Uros; the Floating Islands
Where to stay: Suite Independencia
Cusco – 9/10
Known as the cultural and historical capital of Peru for good reason, it’s easy to spend a great deal of time based out of Cusco, exploring the region.
Where to eat: Maikhana – the best Indian food we had in South America
Where to stay: Magicpacker Hostel
Arequipa – 8/10
What to do: We weren’t feeling well so just explored the town but rafting and hiking the Colca Canyon are both popular with visitors to the region. If we were up to it, we’d have done these awesome things in Arequipa!
Where to stay: Flying Dog Arequipa
Huacachina – 8/10
The only natural oasis in South America, Huacachina is undoubtedly a tourist town but it’s unique and definitely worth a night or two.
What to do: Sand buggy riding and sandboarding – so much fun! On your way to the next stop, you’ll also swing by the mysterious Nazca Lines.
Where to stay: Wild Olive Guest House
Paracas – 5/10
A quiet seaside town, Paracas is known for its beach and beachside excursions.
Where to stay: Los Frayles
Lima – 9/10
A real surprise to us, Lima seems seldom talked about when compared to cities like Rio, Buenos Aires and Santiago, but it should be! This underrated capital quickly became one of our favourites. With a striking coastline, world-class restaurants and a chance to top up on any shopping you need, it’s well worth spending some time in the city.
What to do: Paragliding over the beach
Where to eat: Chili’s – flashbacks to our time in Abu Dhabi!
Where to stay: Lima House
Peru Hop & Bolivia Hop: Are They Good Value For Money?
As with anything, value is in the eye of the beholder.
Compared to public buses, a Peru/Bolivia Hop pass does seem expensive, absolutely. Compared to a tour though, it’s very well priced.
Yes, you can find transport at a lower price in Peru; none of the buses though will give you access to the benefits that we discussed earlier in the post. The big question is how much value you place on each of those benefits of course.
PS: Did you forget what we loved about Peru and Bolivia Hop? Here you go…
- The buses are in good condition
- English-speaking guides accompany you on all journeys
- There’s the option to stop along the way at points of interest
- They pick you up from your hostel and drop you off at the next one
- Your passes get you discounted accommodation and activities
- You can lock plans in or be flexible
Keep An Eye Out For This One Thing…
Because the buses run on set timetables, there is the odd occasion whereby you won’t be able to get the bus you’d like, on the day/time that you’d like.
Once the bus was full and on another few days, there simply wasn’t one running.
It really wasn’t a problem as we were travelling in such a flexible manner but if you’re tighter on time, be sure to check the schedules and lock in your most likely days to ensure you don’t miss out.
Who Is The Peru and Bolivia Hop Service Best Suited To & Would We Recommend It?
Anyone that wants to travel in comfort, safety and ease! It’s especially well-suited to first-time travellers, those that don’t speak a lot of Spanish, those on tight timeframes (who has time to constantly figure out buses when you’re only travelling for a little while?), solo travellers and anyone that would like that extra little bit of support.
It was such a treat for us to leave the bus stations behind and know that everything was taken care of with Peru and Bolivia Hop!
Would we recommend Peru and Bolivia Hop? You bet!