Peru Hop – La Paz to Lima, an honest review
What is Bolivia and Peru hop?
As the name suggests it's a hop on hop off bus targeted towards travellers and backpackers who are looking for a flexible and safe way to explore Bolivia and Peru. They follow the notorious gringo trail, stopping at all the main cities and sights from La Paz to Lima. During each leg of the during they put on a movie or two, all in English so you can sit down and relax and wait for the time to fly by.
We started with the Bolivia hop in La Paz heading across to Lake Titacana pit stopping in Copacabana and Puno before finishing in Cusco.
The buses. The buses on the Bolivian side are small and leave a lot to be desired but there is a reason to this. This bus has to cross the river on the Tiquina ferry which is pretty much a trailer boat that quickly ships the bus from one side to the other. It seems crazy that they didn't sink or breakdown only powered by small motors at the back. The Puruvian side bus was must nicer with two stories and the bottom floor for the long haulers, we made ourselves at home.
The border crossing. Thank goodness for Bolivia hop here, the day we choose to cross, the border town was having a massive festival which lead to us taking the road on foot for a few minutes while weaving in and out of the festivities including dancers, on lookers and market stalls.
The stops. We had planned to stay a night in Copacabana before heading to Cusco but we both managed to pick up a stomach bug in Bolivia, the tour guide suggested Cusco would be the better option for seeing a doctor. So just like that our itinerary was updated and we were onward bound for Cusco skipping Puno out altogether, except for the dinner pit stop.
- Isla de Sol. Since we were only at Lake Titacana for a few hours, we made most of the Isla del Sol boat trip, a four hour round trip to check out the island. To be honest we thought this was a waste of time, the amount of time spent getting to the island compared to the actual time you get on the island is very unproportional. My suggestion is unless you're staying a night on the island, spend your time on the mainland, and treat yourself to trout for lunch on the waterfront.
We technically changed to Peru hop when we crossed the border but after a good experience with the crossing etc, we thought long and hard about doing the next trail up to Lima with them or take it on ourselves. In the end we caved to the easier option and gave Peru hop another shot.
The buses. The majority of the buses for the Peruvian side were comfortable and clean, smaller than our initial one from Puno to Cusco. I think like any bus company it's luck of the draw, some were brand new and others needed a little TLC. Most importantly each one had a working bathroom and also blankets which was great for those colder nights.
The stops. We did all the stops available for this leg which included; Arequipa, Huacachina, Paracas and Lima. We even accidentally booked the wrong bus time and after an email to their team it was changed back in only a few moments.
Arequipa – Peru’s second largest city that's is surrounded by volcanoes and full of beautiful architecture, home to the Colca canyon.
Huacachina – an oasis town which is surrounded by sand dunes and the popular activity of sandboarding.
Paracas – a small fishing town where you can visit the Ballestas Island which is full of wildlife and the natural reserve.
Lima – the lively capital city that is full of culture, where you can indulge in great food and coffee.
- Arequipa, Colca Canyon hike. To be fair we just really didn't enjoy this tour very much the hike is challenging and to make matters worst I think we got bad luck of the draw when it came to our guide unfortunately.
- Huacachina, sandboarding. Though we didn't book our tour directly with Peru Hop it was amazing experience and I would recommend to everyone to do, such an adrenaline rush.
- Nazca Lines Viewing Tower. A free pit stop for those who want to see the lines without the cost of plane ride, it was quite underwhelming and without any back story provided, it was hard to appreciate.
- Hacienda San Jose in Chinch. Slave tunnels tour, this was a free tour and was actually extremely interesting to learn more about the slave history in Peru.
Would I recommend Peru Hop?
Although Bolivia Hop/Peru Hop offer great services it does leave your wallet a little empty.
I highly recommend the Bolivia hop especially if you're a bit nervous about the border crossing and as we experienced at the worst possible time, it was handled professionally even due to the conditions.
If you're short on time, this is a great way of organising your time wisely as you can stick to their recommended timelines, providing effective use of your time.
If you have time up your sleeve or on a tight budget, you could easily do this yourself and buy the top end Peruvian buses and still have money to spare.
This is an honest review, I did not get paid or compensated by Peru hop.