Bolivia Hop was started as a spin off from Peru Hop in July 2014 by the same 2 Irish guys who setup Peru Hop, Will and Conor, and our English partner Pete, another foreigner who got stuck in Peru due to falling in love with a local girl!
Pete had been a guide in this region for over 4 years for a large tour company based in the UK, and on his tours he had always had problems crossing the border between Bolivia and Peru. Bolivian immigration police love to make problems for foreigners, and often they have tricks and scams that means they can fine foreigners at the border, and he was very frustrated about this as it put off a lot of tourists from visiting Bolivia.
After meeting Will and Conor at an expat night out (called “how did we end up here”!) he convinced us that we should try to somehow help people get across the border and not get ourselves arrested or maybe even worse! But being Irish, and having no fear of the Bolivians, we sent our English friend Pete to La Paz to get Bolivia Hop setup!
We were not ready, we were incredibly unprepared, but we ran a couple of promo buses and somehow survived. We were despised by local bus companies who had a monopoly on the market, we faced huge challengers from the border police in Bolivia who did not like us assisting tourists get across the border safely, and we faced huge problems with locals in Copacabana who did not like us trying to improve the standards of service there.
However, despite all of this, and Pete hiding out in La Paz, we survived, and everyday we faced a challenge it gave us more motivation to keep on going. We never had these issues in Peru, we could not believe that local people were so opposed to us and made it so difficult for us (despite us bringing more tourists to their country) but we were determined that we would not let anyone stop us. We must say a big Thank You to our passengers in the first 3 months of 2014, because they were incredibly patient with us and saw all the challenges we faced and never complained to us, and for that we will be always incredibly grateful.
Today we are going form strength to strength. The border police make Bolivia Hop passengers fill out more forms and change the rules every week, but we are on top of it. They hope we show up without the correct forms or paperwork so they can fine all of our passengers, but we simply won ́t let that happen. We are determined to get our passengers safely to and from Bolivia and not get tricked like other tourists always do (see tripadvisor for info about public buses).
We are also extremely proud of the local Peruvians and Bolivians who work with us. These people are the good guys, the ones who love tourists and want tourists to help promote their country, and so will do anything to keep our passengers happy. They work hard, always smile, and always assist at the border despite the police putting them under a lot of pressure. We are trying to show Peru and Bolivia that by treating tourists well, and keeping them safe, their whole country can benefit, and luckily for us our team buys into that vision.
So thats a little about us, the Bolivia Hop founders. If you ever need anything from us, always send an email and we will get back to you ASAP…our office staff are LOVED by our passengers based on the speed of their email replies and the level of knowledge they have, so any question or assitance you need, simply drop us a line. We are not perfect, far from it, but you will struggle to find a team of people who will help you or assist you more than we do…we really are like your local friend here in Bolivia and Peru!