South America is definitely one of my favourite continents for travelling. Such amazing cities, culture, food and nature! It offers something for every taste. However, when it gets to public transport, although there are many choices, not all are equally good. This is why I was so happy when I discovered Bolivia Hop and their offer of bus ride from Cusco to La Paz. Read on to see why they are the best way to travel between these two cities.
What is Bolivia Hop?
It’s hop on hop off bus service connecting Peru’s Cusco and Bolivia’s capital La Paz (or vice versa). They describe themselves as safe, flexible and fun – and they are not lying. The company also has Peru Hop bus service that connects all the best travelling stops in Peru. If my itinerary was different, I would definitely travel around Peru with them.
How does travelling with Bolivia Hop work?
You decide for one of many ticket options; right now they offer 37 different passes on their web page and each pass links different cities in Peru and Bolivia. Once you buy the pass you want, you log in online and choose departure dates and places – oh yes, they do pick ups and drop offs in hostels and hotels – and reserve your seat on the bus. Then you can still change trip details 12 hours before the departure with no problem. I know this because due to me getting sick with salmonella we had to change our departure date. As your Bolivia Hop ticket is valid for a year, you can stay at any stop as long as you want.
Source: Bolivia Hop
How did my trip from Cusco to La Paz looked like?
Cusco to Puno
Bolivia Hop has its own bus terminal in Cusco due to strict city rules big buses cannot enter the city, so this is the only stop where they can’t pick you up or drop off at your accommodation. At the terminal you go through the check-in process and enter the nice double decker bus. Inside there are comfortable chairs with big duvet blankets waiting for you. Ob the bus there is also a Bolivia Hop guide with you at all times, so you can get help with anything you might need. We left Cusco at 10 pm and the semi-bed chairs were perfect for getting some sleep.
Puno and Uros Floating Islands
We arrived to Puno at 6 am. After (optional) breakfast you can choose to spend this two hours long stop exploring the city or go on a tour to the Uros Floating Islands on Lake Tititcaca. We chose the latter and did the tour with Bolivia Hop, so the tour guide was already waiting for us at the bus stop. We walked together to the little port and hopped on a boat. First we visited a small Uros island, where we got to know the island life, how the islands are made from special reed, their history and culture. Then we took a local boat to the main island, where they have a store, restaurant and a hotel. In the store you can buy yourself a stamp for the passport! There are more than 40 Uros islands and they are really something special!
Punto to Copacabana with border crossing
Next up was a few hours long ride from Puno to the border between Peru and Bolivian. While driving you can choose to watch a movie or enjoy the views from the window. You can see more of Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world and the largest lake in South America – and a lot of fields and small farms. Once you get to the Yungo – Kasani border you have to take all your luggage and fill out the immigration papers, which is much easier with the help from the nice Bolivia Hop guide. After customs at the Peruvian site of the border we walked 300 meters to the Bolivian site. Once the official border procedures were over new Bolivia Hop bus was waiting for us. You have to change to a smaller bus due to the weight restrictions involved in crossing the Lake Titicaca. Then it’s just 15 minutes drive to get to Copacabana.
Bolivian Copacabana is mostly known as the departure point for visiting the Sun and the Moon Islands on Bolivian site of the Lake Titicaca. However, we chose to stay on land this time and explored the town. After having lunch in one of the many cute restaurants with terraces overlooking the lake we climbed up on Cerro Calvario. It’s a really steep hike, but the top offers amazing views of the city and the lake. We spend the remains of the 4 hours stop exploring the town centre.
Copacabana to La Paz
After a few hours of bus ride you reach the straight of Tiquina, which we crossed on a small boat, as the bus went on a separate ferry. Then it was time for the last part of the ride and a movie. Bolivia Hop surprised us with complimentary pop corn and water. Really a nice touch! At 22.30 we arrived to La Paz. As our hostel was in the city centre, they dropped us off at one of the main squares and escorted us to our hostel’s door. We safely arrived at our final destinations, full of good impressions of Bolivia Hop services.
What did I like and not like that much about Bolivia Hop?
I absolutely loved:
- their route, as in 24 hours you get from Cusco to La Paz and stop at two important sites or if you have time stay as long as you want at any stop
- how comfortable their first bus was and how both buses had perfect temperature (especially as I had a really cold night bus experience later in Bolivia)
- we got map of Copacabana with the best restaurants in the town
- the complimentary pop corn & water
- their help with the border papers
- that we were dropped off at our hostel doors
- they offer different discounts for the tours and accommodations
If I had to choose some dislikes:
- we had to change busses on the border and walk to Bolivia with all our luggage
- the toilet on the bus in Peru was clean, but you have to bear in mind it’s only for number one need, and the bus in Bolivia didn’t have toilet (but we had toilet stops)
This blog post was written in collaboration with Bolivia Hop, however, all views are always my own and I really recommend this service to everyone travelling around Peru and Bolivia.
© of photos Klemen Krulec, Vanja Vodenik