This Peru Hop review comes after using this hop-on-hop-off bus for two weeks as I travelled across Peru. Peru Hop gave me a pass to honestly relay my experiences of their service. Further details on travel in the country are be found in my Peru Travel Guide.
Travelling with Peru Hop became an answer to the considerable stress when planning my trip in this country of vast landscapes and long overland journeys. Furiously researching how I would travel in and around Peru from Lima to Cisco and see everything from the sand dunes, colonial cities and the humanmade habitable lake islands in between, I mostly came across stories of dodgy local bus trips and rip-off taxi drivers.
Then, through those targeted adverts that seem read our minds, I came across a relatively new hop on hop off bus service called Peru Hop. It was set up by a couple of Irish guys who wanted to make travel in Peru fun, informative and hassle-free after their own experiences traversing the country. After I asked a few questions about how it all worked, they gave me a Peru Hop pass to try out, in exchange for an honest review and in helping you out with your Peru trip transport planing.
- 1 What is Peru Hop?
- 2 How much is a Peru Hop Pass?
- 3 Cost of Local Buses Compared to Peru Hop?
- 4 Peru Hop Bus Reservation – Online Booking
- 5 Increased Safety with Peru Hop
- 6 Peru Hop Door to Door – Hostel Pick Ups and Drops Offs
- 7 Peru Hop Bonus 1 – Free Extra Stops
- 8 Peru Hop Bonus 2 – Discounts and Hostels and Hotels
- 9 Peru Hop Bonus 3 – Tour Bookings
- 10 Does the Peru Hop Bus Travel in the North of Peru?
- 11 Travelling to and From Lima Airport?
- 12 Overall Thoughts on Peru Hop
What is Peru Hop?
Peru Hop offers a multi-stop flexible ticket to travel across Peru in either direction between Lima and Cusco, also stopping at Paracas, Huacachina, Nazca, Arequipa and Puno and with the help of an on-board local guide who speaks English and Spanish. There’s also a bus (the Bolivia Hop) that also takes you to La Paz, Bolivia as an extra loop in between Puno and Cusco.
The point of the Peru Hop offering is laid out to be more than just a standard bus transport service and more like an adaptable tour experience. In their own words, they cite it as a means to “travel independently but never alone”, which is true. The flexible service and everything from accommodation to tour bookings on the ground is designed for the curious traveller and those looking to see a lot of Peru without the difficulties and safety issues associated with South America travel. It’s neither a rowdy tour bus or nor are you forced to be with people in the same accommodation or a set itinerary.
How much is a Peru Hop Pass?
From $159 to $199 you get a Peru Hop pass, valid for a year from the starting date you choose. This flexibility is great for travellers with no particular timescale where you can stay as long as you like in each destination hub, as well as people like me who had to travel to a specific time frame.
The buses are new, modern, spacious and comfy and during your first trip, you are giving a helpful booklet about each destination and a daily bus schedule so you can plan. You are also sent a PDF guide via e-mail before the trip.
Staff members also act as tour guides, providing insights and useful information along the way. They are available at any point along the journey to solve any queries, help you book your hostel, hotel and tours and ensure everyone gets from A and B with minimal issues.
The overnight buses have pullout legs rests and blankets, ensuring maximum comfort for lengthy rides – an extra touch I appreciated.
Cost of Local Buses Compared to Peru Hop?
One of my first questions when looking to use Peru Hop was: isn’t the local bus system in Peru cheaper? I started to add up a few journeys, especially between the larger cities. While I could have possibly saved $50 or so, I knew I was paying for comfort, better organisation, door-to-door pickup and drop-offs in unfamiliar cities and more importantly, safety (especially overnight).
Those are priceless elements when it comes to limiting stress and not having to deal with dodgy taxis, middle of the night arrivals at out-of-town bus stations and scam ticket touts.
Peru Hop Bus Reservation – Online Booking
Peru Hop means having one ticket, one easy to use online booking system, maximum flexibility and not having to deal with rogue travel agents or the hassle of local bus stations.
I was able to roughly map out my journey and pre-book all of my buses in advance, ensuring I would get to Cusco in good time. You can change your plans at any time providing you book your seat on the bus by midday the day before departure. However, some buses do book out fast, so this can also be risky.
Increased Safety with Peru Hop
Safety is another reason Peru Hop was the right choice, especially as I was a solo female traveller in a country that attracts couple travellers and friendship groups. Everyone who gets on the bus has to have a valid ticket and seat booking, which then corresponds to the passport details the guides have logged in the system and on a printed list. This limits the issues that have come from bus hijackings, where usually an unknown accomplice is on board.
While I didn’t meet as many solo travellers as I hoped on the Peru Hop bus (although this often comes down to luck and timing), I did appreciate the ease of being dropped off and picked up at my hostel or one nearby, where a lot of other Peru Hop travellers ended up hanging out. Another bonus is that the bus attracts all kinds of travellers of all ages, so it is not a young, crazy party tour bus. However, it did veer more on the younger, 20’s traveller side, which made it a little harder being in my 30’s!
Peru Hop Door to Door – Hostel Pick Ups and Drops Offs
The hostel and hotel pick-up and drop off service also limits the need for unsafe taxis and having to deal with unfamiliar city locations at night or in the early hours. You also get exclusive discounts at a ton of hostels that have partnered with Peru Hop, or you can book your own. The choice is always yours, although if you source your accommodation, it’s still helpful to choose somewhere close to the one designated for the bus pick up / drop off (as stated in the booklet).
Peru Hop Bonus 1 – Free Extra Stops
While the Peru Hop has its set stops between Lima and Cusco (Paracas, Huacachina, Nazca, Arequipa and Puno), and which you are not obliged to stop and get off at all of them, I was able to stay in each place with ample time in my 15-day timeframe.
You have the flexibility to do as you choose – the direction, the timescale and the destination (you don’t have to get off at each stop if you don’t want to). Peru Hop’s other offering is both in providing extra stops on the way to a destination, not just in the organisation of tours in the ground.
Extra stops include such things as the slave tunnels on the way to Paracas and the viewpoint laden Paracas National Park as it leaves the town towards Huacachina and a Pisco vineyard tour on the way to Nazca.
The Bolivia Hop pass allows you to go from Puno in Peru to Copacabana and La Paz in Bolivia where many continue onwards through Bolivia or have a sneaky peak and loop around and come back into Peru and towards Cusco with the same pass.
Peru Hop Bonus 2 – Discounts and Hostels and Hotels
As the Peru Hop Pass is about reserving your seat on a bus, you are not inclined to stay in any particular accommodation or forced to get off at any specific stopping point. Therefore where you stay and what you do in the destination is entirely up to you.
However, Peru Hop does have affiliations with local hostels and hotels in each place, where Peru Hop passengers get discounts. How it usually works is that you show your Peru Hop wristband at check-in, which also works with some restaurant and store discounts they have set up along the way.
The tour staff on the bus also can book a hostel or hotel for you there and then, as you made your way to the destination.
Peru Hop Bonus 3 – Tour Bookings
I was often on limited time, spending only one night in a couple of destinations. But Peru Hop made that easy for me to sample the highlights since they also organise some on-the-ground activities.
Like next day speedboat tours to the Ballestas Islands on arrival in Paracas and same-day sandboarding was organised upon arrival at Huacachina (great for those like me only staying one night). Even the Nazca lines flight was booked, including transportation to the Nazca airport, which a drop-off at a designated café afterwards where the Peru Hop bus would pick me up in the evening.
In places where Peru Hop couldn’t organise tours, we were recommended ‘Find Local Trips’, one of South America’s largest and most trusted tour booking platforms for day trips and experiences.
Does the Peru Hop Bus Travel in the North of Peru?
Peru Hop currently doesn’t offer any bus service in the north of the country, which is a shame and is a service I hope comes in time. Many travellers I met who were making their way to northern Peru for grand treks such as Laguna 69 used local buses. They booked them via the hostel or online (with many citing enough gringos were riding them not to feel too sketchy and isolated).
Travelling to and From Lima Airport?
The same company also operates the Airport Express Lima Bus that has multiple stops in the city centre. This bus is a cheaper option than the taxi pick-ups organised by many hostels, although I much preferred the pre-organised (via a hostel) taxi option late at night.
Overall Thoughts on Peru Hop
This honest review was in exchange for one Peru Hop pass, and I would absolutely recommend this service and use it again if I return to Peru. More so the Bolivia Hop element as I didn’t have time to make use of the means to hop into a neighbouring country. What stands out in that Peru Hop was set up by foreign travellers looking to overcome the difficulties many people face when travelling in Peru. The hop-on-hop-off service combines flexibility and safety with some extra fun elements thrown in, and that immediately marks it out as a preferred choice to constant local bus travel. It’s no wonder you see everyone from backpackers, older travellers and families using this bus – making travel in Peru and around more open and attractive to visitors than it was before.
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