If you want to really explore Peru, you pretty much have no choice but to take buses. A lot of buses. There are a few different travel companies you can choose from and it can be hard to choose which one to go with – a bus is a bus, right? Wrong! My travel companion/friend Arina and I debated the pros and cons of different companies for days before finally deciding to go with Peru Hop.
What makes Peru Hop different
It’s convenient and reliable
Peru Hop makes your life easy and stress-free. You buy one ticket on their website, choose on which days you want to take the bus, put in what hotel you’re staying in and just show up at your hotel lobby at the time stated on your timetable. You are then dropped off at your next destination in front of your chosen hotel. Easy! You don’t have to deal with the hassle of buying a ticket for each journey or having to make your way to a bus station at the other side of town. We actually met a lovely Canadian guy who started off his trip by travelling by public bus but gave up and bought a Peru Hop ticket so that he wouldn’t have to speak in broken Spanish to local taxi drivers and get told to pay gringo (tourist) fares.
If you don’t enjoy organising every detail of your trip, you can even let your Peru Hop guide do that for you. Before you arrive at each destination, your guide will ask if you need them to book a hotel or a tour for you. Although we booked most of our hotels in advance, lots of people just relied on Peru Hop to get them a room at the last minute.
Because everyone is doing roughly the same itinerary, you can easily make friends with other travellers on Peru Hop. You often end up staying in the same hostels or going on the same tours as other passengers which is really nice!
Peru Hop gives you the flexibility to change your bus times whenever you like, and your ticket is valid for a whole year. So if you’re travelling in South America for six months and you fall in love with Arequipa, you can stay there for a month before getting back on the bus if you feel like it.
It’s a great itinerary
The Full South to Cusco itinerary takes you to all the most important sights in Southern Peru. While a normal bus company could take you from A to B, it wouldn’t do all the extra stops that Peru Hop does. We got to visit places like Cristo Pacifico in Lima, the Paracas National Reserve and the Nazca Lines, all without having to buy multiple tickets or change buses.
It gives you discounts
Peru Hop gives you access to discounts for hotels, hostels and tours. As an example, I tried to find an alternative company for the Lake Titicaca one day/one night tour and checked all the best ones on TripAdvisor but none could match the price we got through Peru Hop.
My only (slight) complaint…
I have to be completely honest here and say that if you want to be very comfortable, maybe Peru Hop isn’t the best option. The buses were fine for the shorter journeys but the overnight trips were a bit rough. We had a good (Bolivia Hop) night bus for the Puno to Cusco part of the trip but for Nazca to Arequipa we were in a normal bus which wasn’t great to sleep in. It was just one night so it was fine but it’s something to be aware of! Other bus companies have more luxurious night bus options but they don’t offer the convenience or level of service that Peru Hop does.
The Full South to Cusco itinerary
Peru Hop offer other itineraries, including one that can link to Bolivia Hop, but we only had a limited amount of time. I don’t think I could have planned a better itinerary for 2 weeks myself! It was quite full-on but we made the most of the time we had and saw a lot of the country.
You start off in Lima, the underrated food capital of South America…
… before going to Paracas to see amazing wildlife in the Ballestas Islands.
Huacachina is probably the place we had the most fun in, with its sandboarding and dune buggies.
After a night in the desert, you head to Arequipa which is a charming city I would have liked to spend more time in. Most people will do a tour or a hike to Colca Canyon from there.
The next stop is Puno, an unimpressive city on Lake Titicaca. I recommend doing a tour to see how locals live on the islands on the lake!
Finally, the last stop is beautiful Cusco. It used to be the capital of the Inca Empire and it is surrounded by historic sites. It’s a great place to stay if you want to explore the Sacred Valley and you can easily make your way to Machu Picchu from there.
Basically, Peru Hop made our trip sooo much more relaxed, and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s a fun experience, you get to visit some amazing places you wouldn’t go to otherwise, and you get dropped off right in front of your hotel!
Update: I have written a (very) detailed 2 week Peru itinerary – check it out for accommodation, restaurant and activity recommendations.
My bus trip was courtesy of Peru Hop but all views are my own!