As more and more of us are getting the “travel bug” and the desire to travel the world, companies across the globe have jumped on this growing wanderlust and have invented several ways to make traveling easier. Now I know there are many a traveling purist out there that would sneer at the very notion of an organised tour, I mean that’s not truly traveling right? But riddle me this, who can dictate what traveling is for the individual? For some it’s lying on the beach of an all inclusive hotel, for others it’s roughing it in the wilderness away from all civilization and for some it’s experiencing different places and cultures with the guiding hand of a tour operator. It’s my opinion that traveling is unique to the individual (do what makes you happy people!) and everyone should do it how she or he sees fit. Of course, be inspired and gain knowledge from others but you should not be swayed by how other people before you have trodden the same path, I mean all roads lead to Rome right?
Why We Chose A Tour Company….
As many of you know, I’ve been planning a trip to South America for almost a year now and as I’m writing this we are currently on our last leg of our journey through Peru. Myself and traveling partner Sasha decided to travel with Peru Hop to get around the country. Our decision to use a company rather than going it alone on public transport was made based on a combination of factors
- Now there’s no beating around the bush here, we are two female travelers and unfortunately that does put us at more of a risk. We felt using a company to travel around would give us some peace of mind and minimise the risk of us becoming targets. 65% of travelers using Peru hop are female so we thought they were a safe bet!
- Quite simply for ease! Let’s face it traveling is awesome but it can be stressful and it’s often not without complication. Neither of us wanted the stress and hassle of having to figure out local buses and felt it would eat up into our holiday trying to coordinate our movements and add an extra element of hassle to our trip.
- It’s our first time in South America, as both of us are popping our continental cherry in Peru, we figured it would be nice if at least the first leg of our journey was a little more structured and we had people to ask for advice and recommendations regarding our trip.
Who Are Peru Hop?
Peru Hop is a bus company who provide a hop on hop off service, operating through popular tourist circuits around Peru and into Bolivia. They are an organisation started by travelers, for travelers and in addition to providing the transport to each location, they work with several companies to provide discounts on restaurants, hostels and supply a list of fair priced, reputable tour companies.
There are several tickets to choose from to suit almost every traveler’s needs and budgets and they are completely flexible, meaning you can spend 1 night or 1 month in a particular destination before choosing to move on. They operate through an online system where you have a unique login in order to plan your trip. I don’t want to put numbers to this as they may have changed by the time you read this, so check out their website for the most up to date prices and circuits http://www.peruhop.com/
Why We Chose Peru Hop…
After a heavy amount of research before our trip we found that Peru Hop had great trip adviser reviews and an excellent reputation in the bloggersphere. After checking out their website, we liked that it was easy to use and included a lot of information – we didn’t feel like we were going to get any nasty surprises along the way, or there were any hidden costs. We also noted it was highly rated and used by a lot of female travelers, which was something we considered important.
What’s Great About Peru Hop?
Soooo many things!! I’ll try and break down a few of the main positives we found using Peru Hop, but essentially we found it to be great! Peru Hop continued to prove their worth as we wound our way from Lima to Cusco and really came into it’s own when making comparisons to local public transport (which we found to be pretty complicated).
- It’s safe -We’ve all heard the horror stories of tourists getting robbed (and worse) on public transport in South America. With Peru Hop you never have to worry about your personal or luggage safety. You can even leave all your bags on the bus while you get off to go to the loo or take pictures at view points without having to worry (it’s soooo nice not having to lug everything with you all the time!). Additionally, Peru Hop picks you up from and drops you off at your hostel/hotel and at night extra precautions are taken to ensure everyone gets safely to where they need to be. I’ve never once felt unsafe while using this company which is such a massive plus in my books (and my mum’!
- No Hassle – Now I don’t know about you but I don’t think you can put a price on stress-free travel! I do not find it fun trying to figure out where I need to be, how much I should be paying, if I can get to the bus station from where I am and if what I’m about to do is safe. Add the complications of a foreign language and culture into the mix and it all gets a bit stressful. It’s do-able but I think if people are honest, it’s never a part of traveling that people find fun. With Peru Hop it’s so simple, you can sort your itinerary before you go or while traveling, you know all your pick-ups and drop offs and you know it’s safe! We had a brief experience of Peruvian public transport while in Lima and I can honestly say it wasn’t a pleasant one; hot, cramped sweaty buses, non-legitimate (frankly quite dodgey) public transport to navigate and less than helpful bus drivers sealed it for me that I had definitely made the right choice using Peru Hop.
- Bus Luxury – Compared to said buses described above, on Peru Hop you are guaranteed a seat, there are safe places to store luggage, comfy seats and on the majority of the buses, charging ports. On the night buses there is the additional comfort of fold-out leg rests and blankets. We found while using Peru Hop we could recline, relax and stuff our faces with snacks. There’s also an on-board toilet so no fear of having to knit your legs together until the next rest stop (great if you’ve got the bladder of a mouse like me)!
- Freebies! – Who doesn’t love a freeby? We did the full South to Cusco tour and with that we got a free tour to Casa Hacienda San Jose, a Pisco winery, Paracas National Reserve, the Nazca Lines viewing platform and a couple of other viewpoints along the way. We found these little freebies really worth it as they added an interesting element to our trip, broke up longer journeys and would often be quite difficult places to get to by yourself.
- Discounts – What traveler doesn’t appreciate saving a few pennies here and there? Peru Hop have relationships with restaurants and hostels at the various drop off points. These places are always recommended by Peru Hop so you can guarantee a degree of quality. We saved so much money on hostels during our trip thanks to Peru Hop discounts!
- Decent drivers – Now let’s face it, Peruvian driving can be a little hair-raising and you only have to look at the local traffic to see that bumps and scrapes are a regular occurrence. With Peru Hop drivers, you feel in safe hands, and as an added bonus there’s seat belts that aren’t just there for decoration like in many taxis!
- Help booking tours – Peru Hop work with ‘Find Local Trips’ a great company which compiles a list of reputable tour companies for a fair price. The need to book with a safe and reputable company really hit home for us as unfortunately just before our trip two tourists were killed in a sandbuggy accident with an unlicensed tour company. Now, we all want to get the best price and don’t want to be ripped off, but sometimes those few pennies you save are not worth a poorly organised trip, or even worse, you coming to any harm. Peru Hop recommended tours which can be booked in advance or handily on the bus between destinations will always provide a great experience. During our time we booked tours to the Ballestas Islands, Colca Canyon, sandboarding and Uros Floating Islands, all of which were fantastic.
- It’s a great way to meet people – We connected with so many travelers during our time with Peru Hop. It was a great way to share experiences and let’s face it, meeting new people is one of the greatest part of traveling. We found Peru Hop had such a friendly community, and many passengers found themselves traveling together for multiple journeys, staying in Peru Hop recommended hostels and were booked onto a number of tours together. We made some great friendships and I’m confident anyone who joins this sociable company will too!
- It’s flexible – We found Peru Hop to be a fantastic half-way house between a DIY trip and a complete all-inclusive tour. We felt we had enough structure to keep our Brit OCD in check but equally the freedom to do what we wanted when. If we wanted to extend our time in one place all we had to do was notify them 12 hours in advance, there was no rigidity and we didn’t feel like we were being marched around on a school trip.
There’s Always Room for Improvement…
In the great words of P.T Barnum (who now everyone will know thanks to ‘The Greatest Showman’) ”Comfort is the enemy of progress” so although we rate Peru Hop highly, there’s always room for improvement. What I loved about Peru Hop was they asked me for an honest review, this to me speaks reams about a company and their desire to ensure customer satisfaction. I think it’s also important for you guys to know exactly what you’re getting into so you can make the right choices for you. So here are the things that weren’t so great…..
- They need to expand!!! I would have loved to have headed into the North of Peru, further into Bolivia and across the rest of South America. If they began expanding in these places I would have snapped their hand off at the chance to go to visit these countries with them! I think in particular it’s a shame they don’t head up to the North of Peru as we’ve heard fantastic reports from fellow travelers. Hopefully in the not too distant future this will be reality!
- Shock, horror, No WiFi – I’m not going to lie, in this technological generation wifi on the buses would have been a great addition (not, I should point out that this is a common finding and I’m basically being picky here). Definitely by no means a deal-breaker but would have been an added bonus to fill out the long bus journeys by updating the blog and various social medias.
- It’s not organised by Westerner standards… Now don’t get me wrong, by Peru standards Peru Hop is impeccably organised but for we Brits it left a little to be desired. I would like to point out that we got everywhere fine just sometimes with a little confusion or miscommunication. I mean, I am the first to admit I am a little OCD, so I like to know what I’m doing at all times and I’m not great at having the confidence to assume things will go to plan when the plan has not been properly communicated (Though I did learn to have a lot of faith in Peru Hop). I have to add a little commendation in here though for one particular guide, Aldo, who seemed aware of our Western sensitivities in the planning department. This dude was an organisation wizard and with him as our guide, we were content we knew exactly what was going on.
- Bus variation – Peru Hop have a fleet of their own buses but also hire out from other companies. Most of these buses have the same set-up with charging points, comfy seats and on the night buses entertainment and blankets. However, we did end up on an 8 hour journey without charging points which was a bit of a pain when we’d come to expect them. I guess the moral of that story is, come prepared and anything you get on the bus is an added bonus!
But is it Cheaper to Get Local Transport?
Now, disclaimer here… This is only some Google calculations and seeing prices in a few shop windows, and I have heard that if you rock up at the bus station on the day fairs may be cheaper. However, the fares for the routes we took with Peru Hop are averaging out at between 15 – 50 USD. So averaged out it may be cheaper to bus it yourself but actually not by much and in my personal opinion the extra hassle is so not worth it!
Watching the Sunset on the Sandunes of Huacachina
My honest opinion? I would book again with Peru Hop in a heartbeat, as would my friend and traveling partner Sasha. The safe, no-stress, friendly atmosphere is what this company claims to stand for and after spending just under 2 weeks with them, I can honestly say this company suits it’s ethos down to the ground and I would recommend them to anyone considering traveling Peru.
Ok, You’ve Convinced Me, How Do I Book?
Booking is simple, just follow this link to their website (http://www.peruhop.com/), take a gander at their different tours until you find the one that’s right for you. You’re a few clicks away from your unforgetable Peruvian adventure!
Sporting my Peru Hop T-shirt at the top of Rainbow Mountain
Thank you Peru Hop for an amazing couple of weeks!
Disclaimer: I was provided discounted travel with Peru Hop for this trip, however, this has not influenced my opinion in any way and all opinions are my own.