Peru Hop – An honest review of Peru’s hop on/off bus service

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Peru is the ideal South American country for backpackers of all ages to travel around. The varying landscape from mountains to jungle, to sea, and sand (dunes!) ensures that there is something of interest for everyone. However, the public transport system is notoriously not excellent, and like many developing (and developed) countries, tourists are often the target of crime. The solution? Peru hop – the safe hop on/off bus for travellers in Peru. Here’s our (Gemma and Craig) Peru Hop review taking your from Lima to Cusco with scenic stops along the way.

Peru Hop Lima | PeruPeru Hop – safe and fun travel in Peru

Why choose Peru Hop?

Craig and I (Gemma) can’t believe how quickly we have progressed through Peru without feeling rushed. After our fast-paced five-week trip through South East Asia in 2013 (SingaporeVietnamCambodia, and Thailand) we were adamant we would take our time. We do have 18 months worth of career break after all (annoying, I know!) The reason? Peru Hop’s well-organised itinerary which offers enough flexibility to avoid the feeling confined. Maybe the coca tea is partly to blame too.

Peru Hop is a hop on/off bus company (similar to those in Australia and New Zealand) which travels to/from ten stops along the Western coast of Peru from the capital, Lima then inland towards Cusco, where you acclimatise before your trek to Machu Picchu. Going to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World? Check out our guide to the Lares Trek, a less over-saturated alternative to the Inca Trail.

Peru Hop guides

Peru Hop is more than transportation. Each bus ride has a guide (a local who can speak Spanish and English) and depending on where you are going, the guide may be getting off with you (the bus that is). Big shout out to Carlos who we partied with in Huacachina! Is Peru Hop worth it? We think so for the local knowledge. 

Peru Hop Pisco Tour | PeruSalud from me (Gemma) & Craig – try the Peruvian pisco!

Peru Hop + hostels

Peru Hop is a hostel booking service. Not booked your hostel? No bother. Most guides (although confusingly, one went against the grain here, maybe because it was the Easter week or because Cusco is busier?) will call ahead and book you into their partner hostels at a discounted price.

For example, Kokopelli Backpackers in Paracas is 35 Peruvian soles 8-bed dorm normally but 30 Peruvian soles exclusively for Peru Hop customers. The company offers 20% off all dorms and 10% of private rooms.

Peru Hop attempts to suit everyone’s needs too by offering a ‘party’ hostel option for the Pisco loving Hopsters and a ‘quiet’ option for… us (although we loved Kokopelli in Cusco). Have your hostel booked already? No problem! We wanted to stay at Bananas in Huacachina but still met up with everyone that night and you can use the facilities at the Peru Hop partner hostels anyway.

Peru Hop tours

Peru Hop organises tours. We weren’t going to bother going to Paracas but Will (co-founder of Peru Hop) suggested we researched it online. I’m glad we did because we would have missed out on the cute penguins on Islas Ballestas! These tours are discounted, for example, this trip with Paracas Explorers is not even available on their website but $15 USD with Peru Hop. The tours are not mandatory; the company has attempted to make your life easier on the road but they are not forceful. We skipped the sand boarding tour and opted for a professional experience with Sandboarding Peru because we wanted to sand-ski too. Some stops have free Peru tours to break up the journey. We enjoyed the Pisco vineyard tour on the way to Arequipa.

Isla Ballestas and Paracas I Three Weeks in Peru Itinerary
Isla Ballestas, can’t believe we nearly missed this!

Peru tour routes

Peru Hop has developed a variety of tours to suit all time frames and budgets starting from $30 USD (Copacabana to Cusco, minimum 13 hours) to $199 USD ‘The Full South’ Lima to Cusco which includes Paracas, Huacachina, Nazca, Arequipa and Puno (minimum 6 days). The backpacker’s bus can start at Lima, La Paz in Bolivia or Copacabana on the border. Here’s an example of three Peru Hop itineraries.

Peru Hop itineraries

 

Peru Hop bus facilities

Peru Hop is equipped for long distance journeys. The bus has a toilet which is only for ‘number ones’ though (the guides are very clear about this). The guide will democratically let Hopsters choose a film from their collection (Meet The Millers is genuinely funny, who would have thought it?) The overnight bus from Huacachina to Arequipa was as comfortable as sleeping on a bus gets. The guide gives you a blanket and the seats are semi-reclining. For long distance journeys, such as Arequipa to Cusco) the guide takes your food order and calls ahead to the stop point (such as a truck stop or restaurant) and puts in your order. This meal was around ten Peruvian soles each (food options – chicken, rice and veg, chifa, vegetarian omelette etc).

Friends for life

The bus is safe but most importantly you make friends! Hello to Jess, Liam and Ryan who we met on our first Peru Hop journey and partied with on our last (in Cusco!) Hester, gutted we missed you! I bought your sweatshirt by the way… Hola to B, Ben and Simon who we trailed from Huacachina to Arequipa then on to Cusco with. Us Two Scots (Gemma & Craig) are social creatures; we need a break from each other for our own sanity!

Can Peru Hop save you money?

Peru Hop is actually cost-effective. I was pricing the individual journeys we wanted to go with Cruz del Sur (the bus company mostly used by tourists and travellers in Peru) and Peru Hop popped up in the search engine. I was surprised to see the cost was similar for the full trip – The ‘Full South’ to Cusco from Lima ticket is $199 USD. I would have assumed that organised busses were expensive. You can do it for cheaper, Lima to Cusco without the lake is $179 USD and for those in a hurry (minimum 3 days), $159 USD. There are a variety of Peru tours packages. We went all the way then popped over to La Paz to kick off our Bolivia adventure.

We measure how cost-effective something is by not just taking money into account and also the time saved. Peru Hop has saved a massive amount of time (and arguments, the main reason we fought in Asia was through planning) in front of the screen working out journeys. Check out this post on South America bus travel for a comparison.

A soft warning- an honest Peru Hop review

The only warning – Peru Hop does not leave from every destination every day so you need to do a bit of forward thinking to ensure your itinerary is met but this is probably the case with other forms of transport too and they have factored in how long they would recommend spending in each place if you are taking a fast route through Peru without missing the hot spots. Oh and don’t forget to check out our Peru guide which details what not to miss, and all the other vital information required for your trip to Peru. If you fancy heading to Chile from Arequipa it can be done independently, check out this article on how to take the bus from Arequipa to San Pedro Atacama.

Peru Hop testimony

Don’t believe our glorious review (they are partnering with Peru Hop so obviously they are raving about it…)? Here is a testimony from Simon, our Hopster amigo, explaining why this service is one of the best Peru tours –

The pickup service makes travelling in Peru very easy. The guides made bus rides interesting with their explanations about local culture and Peruvian history. Every effort was made to ensure that arriving at your hostel was simple, no more stressing about finding a taxi and attempting to communicate an obscure address.

Included tours removed the hassle of trying to plan events ahead while remaining competitive in price.

Peru Hop On Hop Off Bus | PeruHopsters at the Red Beach

Final Thoughts

A serious round of applause to Will and Connor (travellers themselves) aka Peru Hop. The company is less than five years old, working effectively in a ‘foreign’ country (the boys are Irish) they’re doing a great job keeping the rest of us safe and connected. This is an honest review (as always) in exchange for two Hop passes. Well done lads and thanks for all of the advice. We look forward to our next trip with… Bolivia Hop!

Peru Hop Lima office address: Centro Comercial “Torre Larco” Office 206, Avenida Jose Larco 812, Miraflores, Peru
Contact:  [email protected]

Going to Peru? Pin to your Peru board

Peru Hop On Hop Off Bus

Are you going to hop on/off in Peru? Do let us know in the comments below.  Gracias!

Gemma and Craig full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

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  1. Nice review. I whizzed through South America on more of a party and world cup break last year but I am going back to do Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela (the ones I missed) and found your review extremely helpful.

    PS: I am a fellow Scot

    Enjoy your travels

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      Always lovely to hear from a fellow Scot! Did you do Colombia on your initial trip I assume? If not, you can’t miss it out. We will definitely be back to do Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Maybe when we retire so we can afford it! Just touched down in Canada. Very excited.

  2. My wife and I are planning to do Peru Hop Full South (seems like the best way). Did you the Colca Canyon TOUR or TREK? Based on the bus schedule difficult to do TREK unless we stay there 3 days (too much in our tight schedule). What was your experience doing the TOUR, if you did or know what the differences are in terms of experience.

    Great blog!

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  3. Hi,
    We’re 2 Danish girls looking at doing the Peru hop as well, but it seems much cheaper to just book Cruz del Sur buses. Do you really save money doing this option? Or is it even competitive with the prices?
    Thanks!

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      It depends what you are looking for out of your trip. Peru Hop drops you off at your chosen hostel door (if an affiliate of theirs, which many are) so no taxi or walking from stations, you have the safety that no one is going to steal your stuff (our Aussie friends had their laptop taken on the Cruz del Sur bus from Huacachina), there are ‘free’ trips thrown in, they help you organise accommodation if you want help. I’ve just updated my Paracas post (definitely go see the penguins!) and Lima – Paracas with Cruz del Sur is $25, that’s only one part of the journey from Lima to Cusco. We travelled Lima to Paracas with an additional stop at a national heritage house which used to keep slaves and Paracas National Reserve (you’d have to organise these stops by yourself with Cruz del Sur) then to Huacachina for sandboarding/skiing this included a Pisco vineyard tour, then on to Arequipa. From there we ended the Peru Hop trip in Cusco. Any long journeys where we stopped for food they called ahead and ordered for us. Hope this helps! Have a blast, Peru is an awesome country to backpack around (check out my full guide here).

      PS Nazca Lines was also a stop, I didn’t stay there though, just climbed the viewing platform.

  4. I have the same doubt as Nanna. I’m traveling solo within two weeks and haven’t decided if I am going with Peru hop or Cruz del Sur. I want to make my trip safely and comfortably but without sacrificing the freedom to do what I want when I want.

    Peru hop service is quite nice but more expensive and with less options in terms of service frequencies, i.e. , we only have one departure each day while Cruz del Sur may have several. Offcourse, we can stay longer and take the next day bus (if there’s one).

    By the way, Cruz del Sur website provides little information for those who want to do a trip similar to Peru hop full south to Cusco. I simply can’t find information for each leg of trip.

    Anyway….I think I will only decide in the last minute lol 🙂

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          1. hahaha 🙂

            good point!

            well…it is just to let you know that I booked yesterday with Peru Hop!

            starting the Full South to Cusco tour next Monday! 🙂

            any last minute priceless tips? 😀

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  5. Hola Gemma and Craig , just come around your blog abour Peru and is really helpful to me as I am planning to travel there. Can I ask you some little tips , do you think that it is worth to do Huacachina for two days and then drop off to machu picchu and stay there for three days ? As my main thing to do in Peru is Machu Picchu and I just come across and see that Huacachina seems to be really great 🙂 …thanks for your advise and I just want to know if Peru Hop is really really reliable and not a scam ? cause it seems to good to be real :-S

    Thanking you guys.

    Dae Stafford

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      I wouldn’t advertise any scams! We honestly travelled with them for our full trip and recommend them.

      I really loved Huacachina because the sandboarding/skiing was fun and the partying was a good laugh. It depends what you want out of your trip but if you like the idea of those two things go for it!

    2. I agree with you! it seems too good to be true!! 😀

      but I am sure it’s not a scam. lots of people talk about them on the web.

      I was feeling undecided too but booked through them yesterday and will go south to cusco next Monday!

      😀

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  6. Hello!

    Your review on Peru Hop sounds quite reassuring.

    By what I’ve read and if you dont mind confirming this, there are multiple tours and accomodations included in the price, such as stops at heritage sites and other thibgs along the way? Or am I wrong in assuming the prices are included?

    Peru Hop seems to be quite a bit more expensive then if we were to use individual bus companies but if the accomodations exceed the services and experience than I think we may take the bite.

    Cheers!

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  7. Hi Gemma, really appreciate all the information in this post and your others on your Peru travels! My boyfriend and I are planning a trip through Peru in late August/ early September and Peru Hop seems like such an easy way to get to everything we want to do. How far in advance did you book your tickets with Peru Hop?
    I’m also trying to decide if we should stay overnight in Nazca in order to do a flight over the Nazca lines… I think it might be more worth it to have an extra day in Cusco though.

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      Perfect Katie, Peru is such a great country to travel around with the other half! I think we were three weeks in advance, you might want to send them an email to see how much availability they have beforehand. Mention you read our guide please, appreciate it!

      It’s tough making these choices eh?!

      Check out our full Peru itinerary for even more (sorry!)

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  8. Horribly disappointing experience!

    My experience with Peru Hop was absolutely awful. I took the “Lima WIthout the Canyon” trip from Cusco to Puno. On the first leg of the trip to Puno, 2 people had their bags taken at the designated stop in Puno. The Peru Hop guide had no idea what to do. On the second leg of the trip from Puno to Arequipa, the heater wasn’t working and the bus was absolutely frigid for the entire bus ride. We were not given a wristband until half way through the trip and the guides checked who we were, anyone can get on the buses.

    While in Nazca, I waited outside of the bus to ensure that my bag made it on. There is video footage from the Peru Hop pick up stop in Nazca showing that my bag was on the bus. When we arrived to Huacachina, my bag was already gone before getting off the bus to collect it. The drivers were throwing the bags off of the bus directly onto the sidewalk, unattended, at night, in a touristy town that is notorious for theft and robberies. Many of the passengers on the bus saw the drivers doing this. The next day, the cargo area of the bus was left unattended again in Huacachina after the bags were loaded on. Another bag could have easily been stolen at the time and the passengers complained.

    I spoke to the co-founder of Peru Hop, Peter Coates. After admitting negligence, he refused to pay me any type of reimbursement for the cost of my bag and it’s contents. I lost $2400 worth of gear due to their error, as each piece adds up ($200 backpack, $150 hiking shoes, and so on) when you are an international traveler going for a long period of time… far moreso than a typical Peruvian jumping on a bus for a weekend trip with a day pack. Peter Coates said he has been advised not to make any exceptions to help, as Peru Hop would therefore have to do that for everyone. Yet he has claimed several times that this is the first time this incident has happened… after 2 other bags had been taken just on my Peru Hop trip alone.

    Others who have previously taken Peru Hop said their drivers were throwing bags on the sidewalk during their trip as well. This is the first bus company I’ve seen that doesn’t have any sort of ticket system to ensure that the bags are safely given to their owners.

    Peru Hop is dishonest, extremely unprofessional, and have no care for any of their customers. The Peru Hop website boasts guarantees of the safety and security of their passengers and their belongings while on the bus… yet have no desire to stand behind their services and guarantees to help their customers in situations that occur on their negligence. I highly recommend seeking other tour, trains, and bus companies for traveling around Southern Peru.

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  9. Hi my sister and I are planning a trip to Peru with her 22 year old daughter and our 14 and 16 year old niece and nephew. We are in good shape, in our 60’s. We are considering the the hop on hop off bus to a travel agent and she said that it was geared to young people who like to party and the roads are rough. Most of the pictures I have seen are of young people. Any advice for us?

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      We had a young couple with a 6-month-old baby on the bus! It really wasn’t a party bus, you can party at the stops if you want but everyone goes to different accommodation types when they arrive at the destinations. I wouldn’t be sure about the 14 and 16-year-olds though, best ask Peru Hope themselves for advice. Peru is great by the way, you are all going to have a ball! Be sure to check out our itinerary and come back with any questions.

  10. Great advice and useful information! One thing I am concerned about is not knowing (tried the site but could not see a list of pick up points) at Huacachina, Nazca, and Paracas? Any idea?

    I guess I kinda want to be at a good hostel, near good food, attractions and the Peru bus on my journey back to Lima where I have to catch a plan back to Bogota.

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      Huacachina is really small, only one street that buses can use really – that was the pickup. Paracas pick up was the main street where all the hostels are. We didn’t stopover at Nazca, people who did just got off at the public viewpoint. Hope this helps. Have fun!

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