We got on our standard bus from Puno (and by standard I mean: no toilet, no service). There was a lady in charge who was going to help us get to Copacabana. She was there to advise us in case we had a problem at the border. Her English was very good and we were given information in both English and Spanish. That was a refreshing change!
Here we are at the border. There were several buses making the same journey. Having an American passport meant that I had to pay a $135 dollar fee for a visa. I ended up with a 5 year visa and a 90 day tourist stamp. I might just have to go back to Bolivia just to get my money’s worth out of that visa!
After the border control, it was only another 8 kilometers to Copacabana. Copacabana. The name sounds really exotic doesn’t it? It conjures up images of white sandy beaches, palm trees and coconuts.
It couldn’t be farther from the truth. Copacabana is more like a sleepy village compared to most of the popular tourist towns we have visited. Considering the amount of people who come here, it really is quite small. There is a beach, but not of white sand. More like brown dirt. And there aren’t many trees at all. The place is in a state of development, as is most of Bolivia. Nothing ever gets finished. If a building is finished, then tax needs to be paid, so it doesn’t happen.
People come to Copacabana to visit Lake Titicaca and visit the Isla del Sol. It is only a few hours away from La Paz, so it is possible to do a day trip from there as one young man we met did. Granted he did get up extremely early in the morning to do it.
From a distance, the town looks lovely and pretty, but in fact it is rather shabby and dirty. There was graffiti on the churches and many buildings. Litter was to be seen everywhere. In spite of all that, it seemed to have a certain charm.
We climbed up to the top of Cerro Calvario and saw Jesus.
The weather was a bit fickle while we were here. Although a couple of days were overcast, it didn’t rain until the evening when we had terrific thunderstorms. The weather was a little on the cool side most of the time we were here. We also had altitude to contend with and at 3,841 meters (higher when you climb to the top of Cerro Calvaro) we had a little bit of trouble breathing.
Our hostel had some interesting electrics in the shower and unusual light fittings.
In fact, the shower never gave us hot water, which is why we wouldn’t recommend this place.
One place we would definitely recommend is the restaurant where we had dinner the three nights we stayed here. We ate at La Orilla on the main drag not far from the lake front. The food is wholesome with a great selection of veggie and standard fare. It was the first time we got veggies with our meal that we didn’t have to ask for. They come as standard and are cooked to al dente perfection! The prices are reasonable too. Oh, and they have blues and jazz music playing in the background. What more could you ask for?
We spent three nights in Copacabana, which is more than enough to see everything in the town and spend a day on the Isla del Sol.