Don’t Be A Typical Tourist…
There is so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu and the Instagram-made famous Rainbow Mountain. I challenge you to take some time out of your itinerary to explore a little more and find out how diverse and amazing Peru can be. I ended up taking a long weekend trip into Bolivia and then back into Peru, up the coast ending in Lima on Peru Hop, a bus company that specializes in taking tourists on set routes where they are in control of their own schedule. Seeing Peru on wheels, taking more public and sustainable transportation was a great choice for me to be able to see more of the country at my own pace. It also gave me the ability to take a more traveled route and then spend some more time in each place digging a little deeper beyond the typical touristic tours.
One of the things I love about solo travel is that I am in control of my itinerary and I can make changes as I choose. After years of creating my own schedule, I won’t lie that it can sometimes be tiresome always being in charge, what a great little short break when you can buy one bus ticket with a set route and yet still have the freedom to decide how long you want to stay in each stop. It was the best of both worlds, technically not on a tour but the route was already laid out for you taking a lot of the guesswork on how I was going to get from one town to the next.
Peru Hop has their own bus stops in most cities OR they pick you up and drop you off right from your hostel or hotel making coming in and out of cities relatively painless. By the time we got to La Paz it was late in the evening and it was such a relief to not have to find a reputable and safe taxi since the guide for that leg of our trip arranged it all for us.
It takes a lot of the guesswork out of planning by having a set itinerary. Where did I go? Because I have the time, I started after I visited Machu Picchu and departed from Cusco to La Paz, making stops in Puno and Copacabana so I could see Lake Titicaca. From La Paz we came back over the border the same way (through Copacabana and Puno) then onto Arequipa and up the coast stopping in three cities before making it back to Lima and concluding my time in Peru.
I know it doesn’t seem like spending that much time on a bus is enjoyable, but I promise you will have a good time! It felt more like a road trip than a way to get from point A to point B, and even though everyone may not be staying at the same places or traveling the same timeline, you’ll run into other Peru Hop riders and will quickly make new friends.
The average age varies but you’ll find a like minded traveler so it is easy to discover common ground with passengers. There was a mix of other solo travelers, couples and small groups of friends which added a great dynamic to our rides. You’ll have an automatic group of people to meet up and hang out with in each city, we did a lot of dinners or drinks together, even celebrated some birthdays while on my trip.
After some planning and booking several overnight buses or flights I could have taken a very similar route, but stopping along the way and having a designated guide for each leg of the trip was invaluable. They were always available to answer questions and it was an added bonus to have someone there to explain the country and culture from a local perspective. I walked away retaining a lot more than I would just reading a guidebook or taking the route on my own. There are free tours included with your ticket and you also have the option to add on extras throughout the trip depending on how much you want to see and do.
Check out Peru Hop to get the proposed itineraries, pricing and bus time tables. They also have discounts for recommended hostels & hotels only for Peru Hop riders, and there are great resources for the can’t miss attractions and tours to make sure you have the most activity packed adventure while in Peru. I was a guest of Peru Hop but as always, my opinions and suggestions are truly my own. Enjoy the ride!