This Peru Hop review comes after using this hop-on-hop-off bus for three weeks as I traveled across Peru. Peru Hop gave me a discounted pass to honestly relay my experiences of their service. Further details on travel in the country are be found in my Peru Guide to Come Soon!
Are you trying to decide on an effortless, easy, and safe way to see the major tourist attractions in Peru? Maybe you were like me and it is your first time in South America. Overwhelmed by all the options of routes, timings, bus terminals, scams, safety concerns, and possible destinations that your head is about to explode? Well Peru Hop is the answer.
I wanted a safe, reliable, and affordable means of traveling around Peru, and Peru Hop was the answer for me.
Peru Hop Review: Visiting Peru on a Hop on Hop off Bus
What is Peru Hop
Peru Hop is a hop-on, hop-off bus tour service that takes you from Lima to Cusco (or vice-versa), with stops at various popular tourist destinations in Peru. There is also an option to go to Peru for a trip to Bolivia as well with Bolivia Hop.
How does Peru Hop Work?
Peru Hop offers a flexible option that doesn’t require travelers to commit to a set itinerary in terms of how long you choose to stay in a certain city or what activities you participate in. There are many options and itineraries to get you from one destination to another.
There are a variety of bus passes, that depends on what city you start your adventure, and how much time you have to travel in Peru. The hop on hop off bus service makes it easier to decide the pass that is right for you, by providing the minimum days needed for each pass on their website.
What is the Peru Hop Itinerary/Route?
While most people start their journey with Peru Hop from the capital city of Lima, there are options to begin your journey with Peru Hop from Cusco as well. One of the many perks of Peru Hop is they pick you up directly from your hostel or hotel in Lima.
I took the Full South Itinerary and even added Bolivia Hop after Cusco, Peru. The full south itinerary included Lima, Paracas, Huacachina, Nazca, Arequipa, Cusco and Puno (Lake Titicaca). I added Bolivia Hop which included Copacabana and La Paz, Bolivia. What I loved about the itinerary was how seamlessly the Peru Hop buses worked to schedule buses perfectly to allow you to do the activities in one day if you had to.
Another plus of Peru Hop was the ability to see things for a couple of hours, but not staying overnight. I decided that I wanted to check out the Nazca Lines by climbing the tower and eat dinner in Nazca, but I was able to continue on to Arequipa. The Nazca Lines opened up a brand new viewing tower, where you can see the famed lines that have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. There were also a few stops in between cities that had free tours included with our pass.
The Peru Hop pass included an exclusive tour of underground slave tunnels in Chincha. The tunnels were used to traffic slaves in the 17th century. Then we stopped at a pisco vineyard to tour how Peru’s national liquor was made. If you don’t have the time to stay overnight in Paracas, no problem. Peru Hop has the timing of its bus pick-ups and drop-offs down to a t. Peru Hop also makes it possible to take a boat tour to the Isla Balestes, visit the Paracas National Reserve, and go sandboarding in Huacachina to watch the sunset all in one day.
How are the Peru Hop Buses versus Public Buses in terms of quality?
There is no question that the amenities and service on the Peru Hop buses is by far better than the quality of public buses and other companies, such as Cruz Del Sur.
Peru Hop knows what its guests need on long haul bus rides. And I mean seriously long-haul bus rides lasting depending how you break up the journey. Some make the entire journey from Huacachina to Cusco, departing at 1pm and arriving the next day at 6:30 pm (Three Day Get to Cusco Quick pass).
With that long of a bus ride you better hope for comfort, especially in South America.
Here are just a few amenities Peru Hop offer to make the journey pleasant and fly by:
- 40 semi-bed reclining seats that are very plush and a rest for your legs.
- Modern and clean toilet on the bus, but only for number 1.
- High-tech temperature-controlled air system. Never to hot or cold and trust me this was not the case on other buses. I was either sweating bullets from the heating system or freezing on other buses.
- TVs onboard: Just sit back and relax while watching English-speaking movies on long journeys.
- Safe buses and drivers that are checked on regularly by the tour guide.
- English Speaking tour guide always entertaining and breaking up the journey with interesting spots along the way.
- Blankets for every passenger: Snuggle up and get some sleep on longer trips.
- GPS monitoring system: Safety is everything with Peru Hop and they always keep track of their buses.
- USB ports on every seat: Keep your devices charged the whole trip.
- Seatbelts!!!!! Most buses and some tours I went on in South America had no seat belts. It was important for me to have a seatbelt especially driving on some gnarly roads in Peru on the Andes.
How do accommodations work with Peru Hop?
The flexibility of Peru Hop’s bus service is your best friend. Decide the last minute you want to stay overnight somewhere? Let the tour guide know. Peru Hop has connections with If you love a place like I loved Arequipa and decide to stay for 7 nights than you can extend. Just let Peru Hop know online 12 hours before online with your Peru Hop sign in. Instantly with a click of a button you can update your itinerary. If you’d like to book different accommodation outside of the Peru Hop network, you’re free to do so as well. I’m a fan of both Hostelworld and Booking.com.
They will pick you up from anywhere, so if you find a better deal on your own go for it!
How do I book an additional tour with Peru Hop?
Peru Hop is amazing because they have their bus schedules timed perfectly with tours in mind. If you book tours through them or Find Local Trips a partner company. Find Local Trips is great because they vet the tour operators before they allow them to advertise on their site. I used them for my travels in Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
Is Peru Hop Safe?
One of the top reasons I chose Peru Hop was the safety! From pick-ups and drop-offs to your hostel/hotel, or the fact the driver is always on the bus watching our things on shorter bus stops, there is always a level of security I would not have on a normal bus in South America.
The safety and peace of mind that comes with Peru Hop is something you cannot put a price on. Not having to deal with chaotic bus stations, the language barrier, and having random stops at night making it hard to sleep was the thing I loved most about Peru Hop. It reduces the chances significantly of having a bag stolen.
There is a sense of “we are all in this together” among Peru Hop guests, and it made me feel 100 percent comfortable taking out my drone/camera. While I heard horror stories of pickpockets on buses in Peru, and other parts of South America I felt less worried when I traveled with Peru Hop.
Another safety measure Peru Hop employed was bands for Peru Hop guests and check
Is Peru Hop good for solo travelers?
I have traveled solo to many countries before, but this was my first time coming to South America. There is a lot of fear mongering about solo female travel in South America and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was a little nervous backpacking alone in South America.
When I found Peru Hop, I found an inclusive group of travelers. Originally created for backpackers, by backpackers, I was worried it would be a party bus. However, there was a range of people using Peru Hop from families, to couples, to other solo travelers like myself. They were not all getting bombed, throwing up on the bus, and you get my drift.
I give Peru Hop a big thumbs up for solo travelers looking to make friends on the road. Most people stay at the same Peru Hop partner hostels (since you get a discount at them), and you are bound to have a fun night out or go on tours with your new-found friends.
There were two groups I hung out with at different parts of my journey. One group I went on my first white water rafting trip with, that I would definitely have not done by myself. And the other I went on an overnight hiking trip to Colca Canyon. Traveling lets you meet people that push your expectations of yourself and be open to new experiences. I loved Peru Hop and the people I met along my journey.
Does Peru Hop save you money?
When doing the math, I believe Peru Hop did safe me money and a lot of hassle. By offering pick up and drop off at hostels in multiple locations it saved me money on taxis. Also, the hassle of dealing with taxis in a foreign country (one of my least favorite things).
- The overnight buses saved me money on two nights accommodations.
- Three tours were included in the price: the slave tunnels tour, the pisco vineyard tour, and the Nazca Viewing Tower. There were also stops along the journey where the guide gave quite a lot of commentary.
- When looking at the costs of local buses versus Peru Hop costs it is not that much cheaper. There are more transfers necessary to get to certain locations, such as Nazca Lines or Huacachina. Also, the perks of Peru Hop camaraderie, English speaking guides, and the comfortable buses are definitely worth the extra cash.
Discounts with Partners
Wearing your Peru Hop band gives you discounts at partner hotels, hostels, restaurants, and other things advertised in the guide handed to each passenger at the start of your journey. The perk of staying at a partner hostel that is recommended in the book is the ability to meet other travelers on your Peru Hop route. Great for solo travel!
Also, if you book trips with Find Local Trips you are able to change the date of your tour for free up until the day before your scheduled tour- another advantage of Peru Hop.
What do I love about Peru Hop?
- The Tour Guides – Having a resource like English speaking tour guides on each bus that are experts on certain regions was amazing. They were fun, friendly, and always had the best suggestions. When our group was arriving in Arequipa in the morning and our group wanted to go on a last-minute tour the morning of our arrival our guide hooked us up! We went straight from our bus, to our hostel, and then white-water rafting. Hectic I know, but if it were not for our guide we would probably not have gotten a half-day trip for $20 USD.
- Ease of Booking Tours– Never having to stay an extra night in a city with the sole purpose of doing a tour. Yes, with Peru Hop you can visit the Ballestas Islands (08:00-10:00 am), the Paracas National Reserve (depart 11:00 am), and still leave for Huacachina at 13:00 pm to arrive in time for sandboarding at sunset! Pay on the bus in advance to reserve your spot the day of.
- Free Tours and Seamlessly Timed Schedule- There were a few tours that would have been hard to come by if I was traveling solo on public buses, and to be honest would have probably have skipped if I was unable to get there without a hassle. The Nazca Lines are a bit out of the way if you are taking Public Buses, and unless you are going to do a flight over the Nazca Lines most people skip this city in Peru. My favorite free tour was the visit to the Paracas National Reserve.
- Online Booking with Flexibility- Once you begin your Peru Hop Pass you have an entire year to use it. Allowing travelers to stay as long as they want in a particular destination. The only caveat is that you must give 12 hours’ notice before the bus you wish to take to your next destination.
- Pick-up/Drop-Off at your accommodation. – After a 12 plus hour bus ride the last thing you would want is struggling with a taxi driver to find a good deal to your hostel. The guide will have it sorted and shuttles will take you to hostels or hotels. This was a major plus!
- Comfortable Buses with charging stations and blankets!
- Free Peru Hop T-Shirt! Want one of the cool Peru Hop T-Shirts than when you finish your journey in either Cusco or Lima you can go to the tour office to get some free swag.
What should I see in Peru
There are so many things to see in Peru and while Peru Hop may only cover the “gringo trail” it allows you to cover many of the destinations in a short amount of time with ease. Peru Hop allows you to see the following: Chincha slave tunnels, the Nazca Lines, Paracas National Reserve, the Ballestas Islands aka “the poor man’s Galapagos”, Huacachina, Arequipa “The White City”, Colca Canyon, Rainbow Mountain, Machu Pichu, the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and much more.
But outside of Peru Hop and the south of Peru, you can see Huarez to go hiking, Iquitos to explore the Amazon, take a beach holiday in Mancora, or do one of the many beautiful treks in Peru.
More guides of Peru will be forthcoming. I was lucky to spend almost a month in Peru and see many beautiful locations. However, there are still many places I would love to go back and explore.
Is it safe to travel to Peru?
I never felt unsafe in Peru. Of course, I am careful, and I would never roam outside at night alone. However, for the most part traveling in Peru was safe. I always met people at my hostel that would be down for exploring the cities and towns of Peru. But when I didn’t I felt perfectly fine to get into a collective to get to another town to explore on my own.
I would take my camera out to take photos, my drone, and never felt bothered. I try to stay aware of my surroundings, stay in good neighborhoods, and try and not display my expensive items everywhere I go. But in terms of traveling solo in Peru I felt more than fine.
Tips for Peru Travel
- Be prepared to adjust to the altitude. But that is what is amazing about gradually heading south by bus. By taking your time you can adjust as you gradually make your way to higher altitudes as you head south from Lima to Cusco.
- Drink plenty of water, bring sunscreen, and have comfortable walking/hiking shoes. The sun is stronger at higher altitudes and water helps fight off altitude sickness. There are plenty of cobbled stones, unpaved roads, and long hikes that are made so much more bearable by good shoes.
- Have the lunch menu! For less than $5 USD you can get a three-course meal at many family-run establishments throughout Peru.
- Shop at the artisan markets for one of a kind alpaca handmade crafts, and always negotiate the best price. Never accept the first price they throw out.
- Take the free walking tours in Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco they are definitely worth it! Also, you get some of the best recommendations for each city here from locals.
Peru accommodation: where to stay in Peru
There are all types of accommodations throughout Peru, from party hostels, to chill hostels, to fancy hotels and homestays. If party hostels are not your thing and you are trying to avoid them than don’t stay at Wild Rover Hostels a chain of hostels in Cusco, Arequipa, and Huacachina. However, the below are options for all types of budgets and travelers.
- Backpacking – Kokopelli Hostel Cusco
- Save- Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco
- Luxurious- Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
Puno / Lake Titicaca
Which cities to spend extra time in
I would have stayed longer in Paracas at least 2 nights instead of one. However, I felt my one night in Huacachina was enough. It is mainly a party place and for adventure seekers. So after one night of dancing and seeing the sunset over the dunes after sandboarding I was satisfied.
Another location I was surprised about was Arequipa. So much so that I stayed for a week. I was lucky to have a lot of time to experience Peru. However, I could have sufficed with 4 nights, enough time to do the Colca Canyon, White Water Rafting, explore Arequipa, and go see the mini salt flats outside of Arequipa.
But the highlight of Peru to me was the Sacred Valley, Machu Pichu, and the treks offered in the area and ruins. I could easily have stayed here for two weeks alone. However, if you can stay here for 7 days that would be my recommendation to see as much as you can.
Peru Hop: the best way to travel around Peru
Everything considering I found Peru Hop to be an amazing cultural experience that I met some amazing people and friends along the way. I went into traveling South America a little nervous, but Peru Hop alleviated all of my safety concerns and the hassle that goes into planning a great adventure.
Have you been on Peru Hop, Ecuador Hop, or Bolivia Hop? (Or another hop-on hop-off bus) What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below!