A Quick Guide to Copacabana, Bolivia

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and spans the border between Peru and Bolivia. After ending our five weeks in Peru at Puno by the lake, it was time to move on to Bolivia. Our first stop was Copacabana, to check out the Bolivian side of the lake.

Because we were traveling with Bolivia Hop, our border crossing went very smoothly (read more about that here) and four hours after leaving Puno, we arrived in Copacabana. 

Sunset by the lake

Copacabana is also located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It’s a small, sleepy town that’s well worth stopping over at for a day or two. We enjoyed this side of the lake much more than the Peruvian side. It was a lot less touristy and, once the day visitors left, the town was ever so quiet in the evenings.

We could easily have spent a few days just chilling and relaxing in Copacabana but sadly, we’d only allocated a night there. However, there isn’t much to do in town and one day is definitely enough to see most of it.

Things to do in Copacabana

The view from the top of El Cerro El Calvario

Hike El Cerro El Calvario

This steep hike starts just off Calle Jauregui and takes about thirty minutes. It starts with a very steep hill, followed by many steps up. It’s a pilgrimage route for the locals and the top also offers the best views of the beach, Lake Titicaca and the town below. Although it’s short, because it’s located at over 3800 metres altitude, the hike is certainly not easy. But the views will be worth your breathless clambering.

The town of Copacabana
The shrines at the top of El Cerro El Calvario

Try to do it just before sunset, to enjoy seeing the sun setting over the lake. 

The waterfront

Take a walk along the waterfront

Enjoy the extensive views of the lake by taking a long walk along the waterfront. There are many benches along the way to take a rest on if the altitude gets to you, or if you simply want to take a minute to enjoy the views.

Copacabana’s waterfront

You will probably make some friends during your walk. That will be the local street dogs. We started our walk alone and finished it with five street dogs who’d decided to join us for a stroll. So cute! 

The view of the lake from Isla del Sol

Take a boat trip to Isla del Sol

You can book a boat trip to Isla del Sol from the many sellers on the waterfront. Or, if like us you’re travelling with Bolivia Hop, they will organise the tour for you for US$10. Isla Del Sol is located just over an hour’s boat ride from Copacabana and, according to legend, was the birthplace of the sun and home to the first Incas.

The temple of the sun in Isla del Sol

Once there, you can explore the ruins of the Temple of the Sun and enjoy the stunning landscape and dramatic views of Lake Titicaca and the mountains far in the distance.

If you have time, you can even stay overnight with a local family.

Relaxing in Copacabana!

Relax! 

Copacabana is a great place to just relax in! If you want to recuperate from your travels, this is the perfect place to do it. There are many hotels and hostels in town and no shortage of small cafes and restaurants to chill out in. 

Eat fresh trout! 

The waterfront is packed with stalls selling fresh trout, a speciality of Lake Titicaca. So you can’t spend time in Copacabana and not try the local trout. If you get sick easily and prefer to avoid the stalls, every restaurant in town has trout on their menu too. 

Lake views from El Cerro El Calvario

How to get to Copacabana?

You will more than likely be traveling from either Puno (like us) or La Paz on your way to Peru. 

Either way, you will take a bus to get there. Tickets are available at many agencies around both La Paz or Puno and are also directly purchasable at the bus station. 

An easier and more comfortable way is to travel with BoliviaHop. They help you cross the border and their buses are very comfortable. It’s a more expensive option for sure but one worth considering.

A typical boat on the lake

Where to stay?

We stayed at Hotel Lago Azul, which was located right on the waterfront and two minutes walk from where boats leave to Isla del Sol. We were lucky to have a room with magnificent views of Lake Titicaca. The staff were all super friendly and the Wifi was the only decent one we found in town! Check out their prices here.

The view from our room at Hotel Lago Azul

Best on booking.com

Best reviewed: Ecolodge Las Olas or Hotel La Cupula 

Good value: Hostal Sonia or Hotel Utama 

If none of those take your fancy, try using HotelsCombined to search across all the main accommodation websites. We use it all the time.

Read More

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A Quick Guide to Copacabana, Bolivia

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