Copacabana, Bolivia: The town on the banks of Lake Titicaca
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Our stay in Copacabana, Bolivia, was short and not so sweet. Not only did we only plan for a 2 night stay, it was also pissing it down and we were tightly in the grip of a terrible illness contracted in La Paz so weren’t really in the mood for much moving. The town itself is pretty beautiful, surrounded by rolling green hills and the calm blue of Lake Titikaka. We’d definitely love to go back and see it properly!
What to do in Copacabana, Bolivia
Bolivia’s Copacabana is a countryside walker’s dream. In any direction (ok, apart from the one that leads you over the Peruvian border…) you can find gorgeous hilly walks that you’re free to roam. If you would prefer a guide, you can pick one up from the centre of town; just make sure to shop around to verify a good price.
An easy-enough fave is Cerro Calvario, which gives you views of the entire bay of Copacabana. Start this trail on Calle Destacamento next to the church; it will take 30-45 minutes depending on your fitness.
Most people go to Copacabana to visit Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna. There are both private tours and cheap shuttle boats to these islands, be careful of the times though because unless you wake up super early you only end up with a few hours there – boats typically leave mainland Copacabana at 8:30am and 1:30pm for around 35 Bolivianos return (£3.50). Once on the islands, there are beautiful walks and stunning views to soak up. The islands have several Incan sites that you can visit; to learn about these properly you may prefer to hire a guide.
In all your countryside exploring, don’t forget to see the town of Copacabana! The town itself is a little touristy without being at all polished. You still get some local vibes coming through though 🙂 It’s hard to miss the grandeur of the church in the centre, just look at this beautaay:
Where to stay in Copacabana
We stayed in a lovely little hostel called Casa del Sol, which was peaceful, with only a few bed rooms and an excellent breakfast. It was a little out of the town centre, which wouldn’t have been bad was the centre not built on a giant hill (I mean, really, we should be used to this by now). If you want to be more in the action, check out hostels around Avenida 6 de Agosto. It’s down here that you’ll also find shops, cafés and restaurants to fulfil all of your greatest touristy desires. Vegan food, vegan food everywhere!
If you’re looking for a reeeeally unique place to stay in Copacabana, check out Hostal Las Olas, which is designed like shells and has views of the whole bay.
Getting from Copacabana to La Paz or Peru
Copacabana to La Paz
There are direct buses to Copacabana to La Paz, which take around 4 hours and cost 35 Bolivianos (£3.50) with bus companies such as Vacuna or Trans Titicaca. Our favourite part of this route was the lake crossing. Don’t panic when the bus driver orders you off the bus and onto a small boat to cross separately! It will cost you just a few Bolivianos for the boat, so bring coins.
Border crossing into Peru from Copacabana
Gonna be honest; dead easy. Just hop on one of the buses from the main road, Avenida 6 de Agosto (opposite Plaza Sucre), jump out the bus holding your passport when the driver tells you to, tell the immigration officer you’ll be in the country the max of 90 days just in case you end up loving Peru and change your plans, then get back to your bus seat and enjoy the scenery around Lake Titikaka. Unfortunately, buses do not go directly from Copacabana to Arequipa, but this gives you an opportunity to check out Puno for a day or so on the way (you don’t need any more than 2 nights to soak it all up). Buses to Cusco do, however, go direct.