Guil and I spent a relaxing five days in La Paz, Bolivia, before setting our sights on the next destination: Cusco, Peru.
But we were not excited to face that hours-long bus ride.
Thankfully we stumbled upon Bolivia Hop and Peru Hop, which offer a hop-on, hop-off transportation service between the two countries. What? You thought hop-on, hop-off buses only existed to drive tourists around a city? Us too.
Luckily we’re both wrong.
The fascinating thing about Bolivia Hop/Peru Hop is the ability to create your own itinerary while traveling between cities in Bolivia and Peru. There are several routes to choose from that allow you to cut a long bus ride into smaller trips by stopping at unique destinations along the way.
Once you choose a starting point and final destination, you’re given an optional itinerary to follow. All you have to do is log onto your online portal and edit it to your preference.
Guil and I were intrigued with this concept so we tried it out. We chose the La Paz-Copacabana-Puno-Cusco route.
First Stop: Copacabana
We left La Paz early Friday morning and began a four-hour trip to Copacabana, a small town that sits on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.
An English-speaking guide confirmed each passenger’s itinerary and offered a tour of the Isla del Sol in Copacabana during the ride. Guil and I signed up for the $10 tour. (It was too easy!)
The bus made two stops along the way since there were no restrooms onboard. The second stop surprised us: It was a lake-crossing. We didn’t know a free, scenic boat trip was part of the package!
Our bus crossed the lake on a giant makeshift “ferry” while we floated across on a separate boat.
Once we arrived at Copacabana we had time to grab lunch before boarding a boat to the Isla del Sol, a nearby island with significant Inca history.
The tour was organized in a way that we’d return to Copacabana in time to catch a bus to Puno, where we’d spend the night.
Second Stop: Puno
Soon after leaving Copacabana we walked across the Bolivian-Peruvian border. (Yes, walked!) The border-crossing process was seamless, and we were soon off to Puno.
Another plus: Bolivia Hop/Peru Hop have a list of recommended hotels for each destination, which passengers can book at a discounted rate. Later that evening we checked into a hotel on that list, and we were impressed by how comfortable our room was. (We paid $18 for a private room with a private bathroom.)
The following day Guil and I went on a unique tour (also offered by the companies) to the Uros Floating Islands, where we witnessed how the Uru people live. The manmade islands literally float, and their inhabitants are an autonomous society.
The landscapes are created from native plants found in the shallows of the lake, the same material the Uru people use to make their homes and boats. This bit of the trip was truly fascinating!
Later that evening we hopped back on the bus. This time we were headed to Cusco, our final destination.
Third Stop: Cusco
The overnight bus ride from Puno to Cusco lasted about 8 hours. Luckily Guil and I were able to secure a cama on the bottom floor of the bus, while most passengers had to spend the night on a semi-cama up top.
The beds seemed to be first-come, first-serve. We’d be a little annoyed if we didn’t get a bed on the first level of the bus if everyone paid the same price! Spending the night on a bed rather than a semi-bed makes a big difference comfort-wise.
We arrived in Cusco REALLY early at 5 a.m., but getting to our hostel wasn’t a problem. Bolivia Hop/Peru Hop quickly organized a taxi for each passenger. They paid for it too!
Before we said goodbye, the tour guide on our bus even gave us a “Free Drink” ticket to enjoy in one of their partner hostels.
Overall, traveling with Bolivia Hop/Peru Hop was a safe, fun and comfortable way to cross from Bolivia to Peru.
Have you used Bolivia Hop/Peru Hop before? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
Are you planning a trip to Bolivia or Peru any time soon? We’d love to hear about your plans and lend you some recommendations!