Disclosure: We traveled with Peru Hop for free on the condition that we create an honest post about our journey. Our Peru Hop review is based on just over two weeks of travel from Lima to Cusco on the Peru Hop “Full South to Cusco” itinerary.
Most Peru tourists come to the country for a few reasons. Perhaps it’s to visit Machu Picchu, the iconic “lost” Inca citadel. They might love ceviche and want to get it right from the most authentic source. It may be that they want to visit the town of Nasca and fly over the mysterious Nasca Lines in a Cessna (totally worth it, by the way!).
Or they just want to see it all but have no idea how to get around. That’s where Peru Hop can make a trip to Peru easy.
That’s what we wanted – all of that and more. And we didn’t want to have to plan all of our transportation in Peru with various companies in advance. Dealing with transportation arrangements is one of the things I dislike most when I’m in a country where they speak a language I don’t know that well.
Peru Hop makes your travel to Peru simple. And in this Peru Hop review, we’re going to tell you why we honestly think you should choose Peru Hop for your trip.
What is Peru Hop?
If you’ve ever visited a major city and seen the large tour buses where you pay a set fee to hop on and hop off the bus at any time, then this is similar. Except it’s over much longer distances and there’s a roof on this bus.
With Peru Hop, you select your route, pay the fare, and hop on or off at any of the stops along their route. You can stay at each destination as long as you wish, provided you use the ticket inside Peru Hop’s one-year time frame.
Peru Hop Itineraries
For our Peru vacation, we selected the most popular itinerary – Full South to Cusco. That itinerary costs $199 U.S. per person. It starts in Lima and has 5 stops in various cities and towns on the way to Cusco.
You can also do the trip in reverse if you so choose.
Peru Hop’s Most Popular Itineraries
- Full South to Cusco: Lima – Paracas – Huacachina – Nazca – Arequipa – Puno – Cusco
- Lima to Cusco without Lake Titicaca: Lima – Paracas – Huacachina – Nazca – Arequipa – Cusco
- Get to Cusco Quick: Lima – Paracas – Huacachina – Nazca – Cusco
- Lima – Cusco – La Paz: Lima – Paracas – Huacachina – Nazca – Arequipa – Cusco – Puno – Copacabana – La Paz – Cusco
Peru Hop has other itineraries as well – about 35 of them. Some of these depart from Cusco; others depart from La Paz, Bolivia. Many are day trips that are all-inclusive of everything except food.
Generally, Peru Hop has something for anyone who wants to explore the most popular things (and some not-so-popular things) in Peru.
What about Peru Hop buses?
Two words: Super comfortable. Peru Hop works with a company called Inka Express, which provides modern, safe Volvo or Scania buses for your trip. They are some of the most comfortable buses we’ve ever been on.
On longer trips, they’ll even play a movie in English. Though, I will note that on one of our trips, the movie was in Spanish with Spanish subtitles.
Seats on Peru Hop Buses
It’s very difficult to find something to complain about with the seats on Peru Hop buses! They do not include massage machines.
There. A complaint about Peru Hop seats!
I’m 6’1″ (185cm) and I was completely surprised to find that I had plenty of legroom – much more than I needed. Taller people likely will feel more comfortable than they’ve felt on other buses. Short people will feel like they’re in first class!
Each Peru Hop seat has a dedicated USB port, either above you or in the armrest, where you can keep your phone or other electronics charged.
Sleeping on the bus
The chairs on each of the Peru Hop buses recline in a big way. Far more than on other buses I’ve been on. In addition, there was a leg and footrest on the buses we took, providing an even more comfortable experience for longer trips.
You’ll also get a warm Peru Hop blanket. One thing I noticed about the buses is that they are always kept at a comfortable temperature. Not too cool; not too warm. I only needed the blanket on the overnight trip from Nazca to Arequipa.
Toilets on Peru Hop Buses
Toilets are kept very clean throughout the trip. Keep in mind, they are for “#1 only!” If you have to do anything else, tell the guide. They assured us that they would discreetly stop anywhere along the way if anyone felt sick or needed to do a “number larger than #1.”
All Peru Hop buses are monitored for location and speed. On longer and overnight trips, the bus will carry two drivers, who’ll take turns driving to avoid a driver falling asleep or being otherwise distracted by tiredness.
Strange, but true: Peru Hop’s standby driver bunks in the storage compartment below the bus in an area they’ve custom-designed for that purpose. Clever!
Pick-ups and Drop-offs
For us, one of the best things about traveling with Peru Hop was that we really didn’t have to think too much about getting to and from the bus.
In Lima and Cusco, we stayed at Airbnbs. Peru Hop doesn’t do pick-ups from Airbnbs, but don’t worry – all you need to do is find the nearest hotel or hostel and they’ll pick you up from there. For us, the nearest hotel in Lima was a 10-minute walk away. In Cusco, they sent us in a taxi to Plaza Des Armas – close to our Airbnb.
It’s the same everywhere. The Peru Hop bus either drops you off or picks you up from your hotel or hostel. If the bus can’t get to your street because it is too big, they send a shuttle or a taxi.
It’s practically worry-free and seems completely designed so that transportation to and from the next destination is the last thing a passenger could legitimately complain about.
And they’ve pretty much nailed it if you ask me.
Meeting people on Peru Hop
One of the best things about Peru Hop was the whole social aspect of the trip. And it’s a complete surprise because you don’t even know about it until you do it, really.
In just over two weeks, we’ve met people from around the world who we won’t soon forget. Charlie and Woody, Chris, Zelda, Jeff, Jorge, and so many other people who made the trip unique.
And you don’t just see them on the bus. You also meet those same passengers wandering around in the various destinations sporting their red Peru Hop wrist bands. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at a market in Arequipa and a grocery store in Cusco to look across the aisle and see someone from the Peru Hop bus waving to us.
With Peru Hop, you have a group of ready-made friends for the entire trip.
What are the guides like?
Every Peru Hop bus we were on had at least one guide – and sometimes a guide-in-training. All of them are either from Peru or have lived in the country long enough to consider themselves locals.
From answering questions about our destinations to booking hotels and hostels in Peru, they seem to never get stumped by passenger questions. We booked our accommodations in Arequipa separately. When we had a slight change in itinerary, our Peru Hop guide happily called the hostel for us to speak with the Spanish-speaking front desk rep and make sure there wasn’t any confusion on our arrival time.
Not only are they knowledgeable, but they are also enthusiastic about it all. Joking, smiling, and being positive in every respect. If you weren’t awake or having fun before you got on a Peru Hop bus, you would be within minutes!
Most of our guides sat at the front of the buses and gave information about where we were and what the significance was. There was only one occasion on our trip where we thought the guides under-performed. They sat in the back of the bus and barely said a word on the entire trip to Puno.
But they were the exception to the rule. Generally, we loved our Peru Hop guides.
Can older travelers use Peru Hop?
I’m almost 50. Halef is over 40. When we first considered a journey with Peru Hop, this was something we worried about. Initially, we were nervous that we would be on a Peru Hop tour surrounded by people we couldn’t relate to. We just made the assumption that services like this were built for younger travelers in their 20s and early 30s.
We were wrong.
Yes, the majority of people who use Peru Hop – at least the ones we saw during our trip in September – were under 30. But there were a significant number of people in their 40s, 50s and even a few much older than that.
If you’re a middle-aged or older traveler worrying about Peru Hop being right for you, don’t. We think you’ll feel completely comfortable on the trip.
Peru Hop’s recommended itinerary
As I mentioned earlier, we chose the Full South to Cusco route. We did that route over a period of just over two weeks and we did not follow the Peru Hop guidelines on how long to stay in each place. Peru Hop recommends 5 nights to complete this route – which many travelers do follow.
It seems that the goal is to get people to Cusco quickly, which, to be fair, is the destination for most visitors to Peru anyway. But we think it doesn’t give the other cities along the route the attention they deserve.
Peru Hop recommends spending the following amount of time in each destination:
- Paracas – 1 night
- Huacachina – 1 night
- Nazca – 0 nights
- Arequipa – 2 nights
- Puno – 1 night
Our recommendation – travel slower in Peru
Because we were not on a set schedule (i.e., we didn’t need to be back at an office on a set date), we decided to do the itinerary at a slower pace.
- Paracas – 2 nights
- Huacachina – 2 nights
- Nazca – 1 nights
- Arequipa – 7 nights
- Puno – 3 nights
This would ensure that we didn’t feel rushed along the way. Not only that, but it would give us time to relax in each destination in Peru and potentially do things that might not even be on the Peru Hop recommended agenda.
And, now that we’ve finished our journey to Cusco, we feel like we mostly did the right thing.
The only thing we wish we’d done differently was to spend a couple more nights in Nazca. This is a beautiful city with nice restaurants and more to do than just see the Nazca Lines.
Peru Hop doesn’t even recommend you stay here unless you are taking a Nazca Lines flight. We think that’s a miss. Stay in Nazca for a couple of nights.
From Chauchilla Cemetery, where you can see mummies of ancient settlers, to Los Paredones, the Aqueducts, people-watching on the Plaza de Armas in Nazca, and yes, the flights over the Nazca Lines, this city deserves at least a couple of days.
Benefits of using Peru Hop
There are a couple of benefits of using Peru Hop that we can’t overstate. These benefits can save you a good deal of money and time:
Booking hotels and hostels
The benefit that can save you the most money with Peru Hop is booking your hotels through them. A couple of examples:
- In Paracas, we booked a double room at the Los Frayles hotel. The normal price for this room is 260 Soles ($75) per night. The Peru Hop price is 100 ($29).
- In Puno, our room was only 65 Soles ($19) per night. The regular price is 90 ($26).
Everywhere we went, we met people traveling with Peru Hop. So we sort of assume that Peru Hop has a lot of sway here and that’s why they get prices like these.
Unbeatable hotel prices are a great benefit to traveling with Peru Hop.
Peru Hop activities and excursions
Peru Hop also gets you decent prices with their partners at each destination for the most popular activities. But, for us, the prices weren’t the biggest benefit. For us, it was about the ease of booking everything on one site.
From dune buggies and sandboarding in Huacachina to a flight over the Nazca Lines, it was easy to book these activities with Peru Hop.
Peru Hop even offers a few free excursions, like the Slave Tunnels at Hacienda San Jose, the Paracas National Reserve, a tour of El Catador vineyard (with, er, lots of free samples), and the Nazca Lines tower.
Zero Pressure to book
Whether you want to book your hotel or excursion with Peru Hop or not, there is no pressure to do so. They always told us what was available, but never made anyone feel any type of pressure to buy through them.
We thought that was quite professional of them
Would we use Peru Hop again?
In this Peru Hop review, we’ve tried to give you as much honest information as possible. We think the Peru Hop mostly gets it right.
- Their buses are top-notch
- Their guides are knowledgeable
- The Peruvian destinations along the road from Lima to Cusco are the right places to hop on and hop off
- Their recommended tours are good quality – even the free ones.
- Peru Hop never pressures you to buy anything through them.
We think choosing Peru Hop is the right way to go if you want to see western Peru. We’d love to see Peru Hop expand into the east and offer Peruvian Amazon trips. That’s an itinerary we’d hop on immediately!
So the answer is, “Yes. We’d use Peru Hop again.”
With Peru Hop, we never encountered anything but positivity. Not once did a Peru Hop guide fail to address an issue or answer a question. Everything was very organized and seamless on their part.
The Peru Hop Web site was extremely easy to use to plan your itinerary. In fact, just for the planning aspect alone, we would use Peru Hop again. We now know a lot more about Peru than we did before we came here. And even though we would probably be comfortable planning individual trips with other private bus companies, taxis, and colectivos, we think Peru Hop’s buses are so comfortable and hassle-free that we wouldn’t want to take a chance on something else.
Finally, the price is definitely right. $200 to get from Lima to Cusco with stops and free tours in between? I don’t think you can really beat that kind of convenience.
Planning on spending time in Cusco?
We’ve written a guide to the Cusco transit system. It’s a great way to save money – especially if you’re staying for a week or more in the city! We also suggest making the most of your time in Cusco by taking a few day trips outside the city while you’re there.
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Michael is originally from Canada but now resides in Atlanta, GA with his husband, Halef, who also writes here. He is a Couchsurfing expert. Michael has traveled to over 50 countries learning how to experience more for less as he travels.