Copacabana, Bolivia is a cute little beach town on the border of Peru in the middle of Lake Titcaca. It’s a very relaxed vacation spot, for locals and foreigners alike. The town sits on the edge of the harbor filled with hostals/hotels, restaurants and shops.
TO/FROM LA PAZ
From the La Paz Airport: Getting there was a little complicated because my friend and I were flying in from Sucre to La Paz and then taking a bus to Copacabana the same day. Instead of the main La Paz bus station we went to a different bus station which was closer to the airport. The internet keeps calling it the Cemetery bus station but it’s just the El Alto Bus Station. We took a taxi about 20 minutes (with some traffic) to the bus station for 60 bolivianos (+ 10 bolivianos tip).
When you are getting a cab from the airport you can ask the driver “Por favor neccessitamos ir a la terminale de buses en la ciudad de El Alto para un bus a Copacabana.” and he will bring you to the El Alto bus station.
From Laz Paz City: If you are already in La Paz, just head to the main bus station and there are lots of tourist buses heading there daily.
I would recommend staying in La Paz first a few days and then taking the tourist bus to Copacabana. We ended up on more of a locals bus (25 bolivianos). It had no bathroom, and was a bit of a rough ride. We left El Alto at 6pm and arrived at the ferry around 8pm. Buses are supposedly at 1:30p and 6pm everyday but the last passenger ferry stops at 5:30pm so it’s safer to take the daytime bus.
By Taxi: You can also pay a taxi to take you to Copacabana (I can’t remember but I think it was something around $70USD). It is definitely not the most economical but best if you are wanting to leave at an odd time.
The Ferry: No matter how you get there, by bus or taxi you will have to cross by ferry to Copacabana. Since we were on the locals bus we had no idea what was going on and when the bus came to the ferry stop we stupidly stayed on the bus while it crossed (1 boliviano per person). We noticed some people got off the bus but thought they were staying in town but realized they were riding the barge outside the bus which I would do next time if I took the same bus.
During the day a passenger ferry runs (2 bolivianos) and the passengers get off the buses and take that across while the buses take the barge across. Because it was so late when we arrived, the ferry wasn’t running. It doesn’t run at night or sometimes when it’s very windy in August.
After crossing we then took a very windy road arriving in Copacabana’s main square at 9:35pm. We took a taxi to our hotel (definitely unnecessary distance wise but it was dark and we were tired) for 10 bolivianos.
Bus back to La Paz: On the way back we found a tour agency and we took the Titicaca Bus (30 bolivianos) leaving during the day at 1:30pm. The price varies, some other buses/vans quoted us 20-25 bolivianos but they all seem pretty comparable. The buses leave everyday at 1:30pm. Since it was the tourist bus, it was much nicer and even had wifi for parts of the ride. At the ferry, we got off bus this time and took passenger ferry across (2 bolivianos). This is also a public bathroom on the La Paz side of the water here if you need it. The bus brings you to La Paz Terminal around 5:30-6pm and taxis are out front easily to take you where you need to go.
If you’re going to Peru by bus it’s easier to spend time in La Paz first, then go to Copacabana and then to Peru (and vice versa from Peru) as the buses from La Paz will route you that way anyway.
Copacabana’s main streets are filled with lots of restaurants and places to eat. Honestly, they seem all about the same. We didn’t have any exceptional meals while we were here. The restaurants closer to the water were a little more expensive than the ones more in town but they have some good rooftop views. Trout is very popular to eat here but don’t eat the beach huts on the shore unless you’re willing to risk your stomach.
There are tons of hotels/hostals in all price ranges all over the island. Book one ahead of time or find one when you arrive. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel La Cupula.
Cerro El Calvario: Climb to the top for the sunset views.
Swan paddle boat/Kayak: You can rent boats down by the water and paddle around the lake.
Wander the Main Square, the street market and vendors.
Visit the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Copacabana.
Isla del Sol: Take a ferry on a day trip or spend the night and hike the island. More to come on Isla del Sol!