When I was backpacking through South America I had the chance to spend a relaxing five days in La Paz—my final stop in Bolivia before beginning my journey to Machu Picchu. Of course, like most who travel to Machu Picchu, I had to first make my way to the beautiful Peruvian city of Cusco.
Because I was traveling on a budget, I didn’t want to pay for the pricey flight between the two countries. I knew that to keep travel costs down, I’d be traveling from La Paz to Cusco by bus, although I also wasn’t too happy about what seemed to be a grueling journey over land.
Thankfully that’s when I discovered Bolivia Hop and Peru Hop, a bus company that offers a hop-on, hop-off transportation service between the the countries.
How To Travel From La Paz To Cusco By Bus
The fascinating thing about Bolivia Hop and Peru Hop is that travelers are able to create their own itineraries while traveling between Bolivia and Peru: There are several routes to choose from, which allow travelers to cut the long bus ride into smaller trips by stopping at different cities along the way.
Let’s say you start in La Paz but want to spend a night in Bolivia’s famed Lake Titicaca to break up the journey in two pieces. The Bolivia Hop bus allows you to do so!
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 an online portal and edit it to your preference.
I was intrigued by this concept so I decided to try it out. I ended up choosing a route that would go from La Paz to Copacabana to Puno to Cusco.
First Stop With The Bolivia Hop Bus: Copacabana
I left La Paz, Bolivia early Friday morning and began the 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 once we were onboard. He then asked us if anyone wanted to purchase a tour of the Isla del Sol in Copacabana, one of the more popular tourist attractions there. The tour cost $10 tour, and I signed up right on the bus. It was really efficient!
The Bolivia Hop bus made two stops along the way since there were no restrooms onboard. The second stop surprised me: It was a lake-crossing. I didn’t know a free, scenic boat trip was part of the package!
Our Bolivia Hop bus crossed the lake on a giant makeshift “ferry,” while we floated across on a separate boat.
Once we arrived at Copacabana, I had time to grab lunch before boarding a boat to Isla del Sol, a nearby island with significant Inca history.
The tour was organized in a way that I’d return to Copacabana in time to catch a bus to the Peruvian city of Puno, where I’d be spending the night.
Second Stop On My Overland Journey From La Paz to Cusco: Puno, Peru
Soon after leaving Copacabana I literally walked across the Bolivian-Peruvian border. Yes, walked! The border-crossing was seamless, and soon everyone was back on the bus and off to Puno, Peru.
Another benefit of traveling with Bolivia Hop is that the company offers a list of recommended hotels for each destination you’re stopping at, and the rooms are offered at a discounted rate for bus riders.
Later that evening I checked into a Puno hotel I pulled off that list. I was truly impressed by how comfortable the room was, especially since it only cost me $18 for a private room and bathroom.
The following day I went on another tour offered by the bus company, this time to the Uros Floating Islands, where I was able to witness how the unique Uru community lives.
The floating islands are manmade and their inhabitants are an autonomous society. The islands themselves 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 day I hopped back on the bus for one last time: This time I was headed to Cusco, my final destination.
Arriving in Cusco, Peru
The overnight bus ride from Puno to Cusco lasted about 8 hours. Luckily I were able to secure a cama (bed) 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 on the overnight Peru Hop bus. Honestly, I’d be a little annoyed if I didn’t get a full bed on the first level of the bus, since everyone paid the same price. Spending the night on a bed rather than a semi-bed makes a big difference when traveling overnight.
The bus arrived in Cusco at about 5 a.m. Despite the early hour, getting to my hostel wasn’t an issue. The Bolivia Hop and Peru Hop teams quickly organized a taxi for each passenger. They covered the cost too!
Plus, the tour guide on our bus gave us each a “Free Drink” ticket to enjoy at one of their partner hostels as a parting gift. Talk about great customer service!
Overall, traveling from La Paz to Cusco by bus with Bolivia Hop and Peru Hop was a safe, unique and comfortable way to cross the border. I couldn’t be happier with my experience—and the lasting memories I made along the way.
If you found this post helpful, you may also enjoy:
- How To Visit Machu Picchu On A Budget
- Why You Should Visit Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni
- True Cost Of Backpacking Around The World
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