Copacabana

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Travel Guide South America Bolivia Copacabana

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Introduction

copacabana pavement pattern

copacabana pavement pattern

© All Rights Reserved rea-neill

Copacabana is a town on the southern shore of the tranquil sapphire-blue Lake Titicaca straddling the Peru-Bolivia border. At an altitude of 3,810 metres above sea level, it is regarded as the highest navigable body of water in the World. Copacabana is also the home of the white Moorish cathedral that houses the Virgen de Candelaria (ie. Dark Virgen of the Lake) originally a black statue carved by the grandson of Inca emperor Tupac Yupanqui that is claimed to be responsible for innumerable miracles and whose image was eventually canonised by the Vatican.

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Sights and Activities

  • For views of Copacabana beach, walk up to the summit of Cerro Calvario.
  • The white Moorish cathedral that houses the Virgen de Candelaria.
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Isla del Sol
  • Isla de la Luna

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Events and Festivals

  • Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria
  • Good Friday Peregrinos
  • Bolivan Independence Day

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Getting There

Local buses leave from La Paz cemetery terminal, while tourist buses leave from the main terminal; the fare is around Bs25 and travel time is 3.5 hours. At the Tiquina Strait, you get off the bus and take a quick ferry ride (Bs2) to pick up the bus (which is ferried across by barge) on the other side. Buses arrive in Copacabana at Plaza 2 de Febrero and leave from Plaza Sucre.

Buses also leave from Puno in Peru, and take roughly the same 3.5 hours to arrive in Copacabana; half an hour is typically spent at the border, just 8 kilometrs outh of Copacabana. Be aware of the money change scam: Buses from Puno will stop just before the border and passengers are urged to change money there. The rates are abyssal.

If you take a bus from Cusco to Puno, be aware that the saleswomen on the counters will be dishonest and tell you anything just to sell you a ticket! If you want to travel during the day from Cusco to Copacabana, you will need to spend the night in Puno, no matter what the bus companies tell you! The bus from Cusco to Puno arrives in Puno between 3:00-4:00pm. The buses from Puno to Copacabana leave ONLY at 7:30am and 2:30pm. There are three companies leaving Cusco at 10.00 pm. In all three options you have to change bus in Puno! All of them arrive around 6.00 am in Puno, the bus on to Copacabana leaves at 7.30am. Vans and/or shared cabs leave for the Peruvian border from Plaza Sucre as soon as they fill up. 3 Bs, 30 minutes. From the border to the Peruvian town of Yungani its about 2 km, 1 Sol by van. From Yungani to Puno buses and vans leave several times every hour, 5 Soles. This way is somewhat slower and less comfortable, but cheaper, than direct buses.

It is possible to get to/from Sorata without going back to La Paz. Get on a La Paz bound bus/minibus/micro from either town, tell the driver you wish to go to Sorata/Copacabana and you will be dropped off at the small lakeside town of Huarina (2 hours from La Paz). Cross the road and wait for a Sorata/Copacabana bound bus/minibus with space to pass. They should honk their horn if they have space and see people waiting, but it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye out and flag one down if you see it first. Best to get started early as you may have a bit of a wait at Huarina - it should still be quicker than going all the way to La Paz then 2 hours back in the same direction though.

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Getting Around

The town is quite small, so taxis are hardly needed. From 2 de Febrero, you can hire pedicabs to carry luggage to your hotel.

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Eat

The one and only culinary specialty is trucha, or salmon trout, fished from the lake. Practically every single restaurant serves it, and there's a long row of identical stalls on the beach. Many places also serve pizza and pasta, presumably for those who've had enough (or don't like) fish.

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Sleep

  • Hospedaje Aroma, Jáuregui & Destacamento. Basic but seriously cheap. Try to get a room on the top floor, the views there are great.
  • Hospedaje Las Playas, Near the dock on 6 Agosto, next to KM Zero Restaurant & Bar. Twin room 15B per person with hot shower and Wi-Fi (limited time, expect no more than 2 hours a day, and you have to tell them to switch on the Router whenever you want it). Lumpy beds and the shared bathroom smells sometimes. Good for the extreme backpacker with a low budget.
  • Hostal Sonia, a 5-10-minute walk from the main tourist drag. Cheap, but some showers are bad and lack hot water. Trucks and buses cruise by at all hours, always honking to make the turn around the hostel. Bs.50 for a room with double bed and private bathroom. Wi-Fi available in the rooms. You can negotiate the rates very easily.
  • Hostal Central, new hotel on plaza Sucre. Comfortable and clean.
  • Hostal Elida, at the corner of Junin and Vallivan. Great alternative in quiet area. One block off from the Cathedral (away from the lake). Large and bright rooms. Run by friendly and helpful family with cat and dog. From Bs. 30 with private bathroom. There's no heating and no insulation.
  • Hostel Arco Iris, Half way between Plaza Sucre and Plaza 2 de Febrero on Avenida 6 de Agosto, Restaurant with good food. One night cost between 20 Bs. (shared bathroom) and 30 Bs. (private bath). Internet connection by Wi-Fi in the restaurant and at 1st floor. On a trip to Isla del Sol, you can leave your heavy luggage for free at the hostel. However this hostel doesn't get only good reviews: there have been reports of disagreements and spats with the owner. Reports include owner blaming tourists for breaking already broken stuff in the hostel and charging them extra.
  • "Residencial Paris", on the main tourist drag, a few meters up from the lake front. Clean, comfortable. Wi Fi from 2:00pm to 10:00pm. 30 bs. per person shared toilet and 40 bs. private. No breakfast included.
  • Hotel Chasqui d'Oro, Av. Costanera 55 (on the lakeside, 2 blocks south of Av. 6 de Agosto), ☎ +591 2-862-2343. A grand-looking terraced hotel with a wonderful view of the lake.
  • The Mirador, Av. Busch esq. Costanera, Copacabana (on the lakeside). Check-out: 10:30. Every room has a beautiful view on the lake, but the matrimonial beds are a bit too small. Rooms are very big and clean, so is the bathroom. 1 min away from the main avenue. Wi-Fi si provided via 3G. The breakfast is continental with fruits, but may not be ready if you try to catch 8:30 boat. The staff could be more attentive. But with the price it is unbeatable." 120 bs for matrimonial/twin with bathroom.
  • Hotel Wendy Mar, Av 16 de Julio at corner of Calle Potosi #22 (big pink building across the street from Hotel Gloria), ☎ +591 2-862-2124. Super friendly and helpful staff. Nice views directly west for sunset. Clean and modern rooms with cable TV. 50 Bs (not including breakfast).
  • La Leyenda, On the beachfront. Beautifully decorated hostel, inside and out. The rooms are charming in a rustic sort of way, but some may consider overpriced for their condition. Try to get a room on the second or third floors, as the views (especially sunsets) are great. Comes with a simple continental style breakfast. Bs. 100 for a large room with double bed and private bathroom.
  • Hotel La Cupula, ☎ +591 2 862-2029, e-mail: bolivia@hotelcupula.com. La Cúpula is nestled on the hillside of lake Titicaca, a location, which overlooks both the lake and the Village of Copacabana. Calle Michel Perz 1-3. Singles from 75 Bs, heating, breakfast extra. Real hot showers.
  • Hotel Rosario del Lago. Considered the best hotel in town and it's only US$35 a night (single, US$45 double, larger/suite US$45-95). The modern hotel is designed in the local contemporary style and decorated in traditional Bolivian textiles. Every room has a view of the Lake and the hotel includes a small museum and the top restaurant, Kota Kauhaña.

View our map of accommodation in Copacabana or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are internet cafés practically everywhere, they typically cost about 3Bs/hour, or about $0.50 per hour. Wifi is not as common as in many other Latin American countries, but more and more places offer it now, either free (sometimes for a limited amount of time) or at a cost. Avoid using your cellphone (with your home SIM card) when there is no wifi, as that's extremely expensive.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Bolivia is: 591. To make an international call from Bolivia, the code is: 0010. Emergency numbers include 110 (police), 118 (ambulance) and 119 (fire). Note that 911 forwards to the police (110).

Bolivia has three cellphone companies, Entel, Tigo, and Viva. If you are staying for a while, consider buying SIM cards for your cellphone. They are quite cheap and you get good network coverage in all main cities and towns. Entel sells good-priced international call possibilities for their SIMs. For example, you can buy 10 minutes for Bs20 (to be used in one day, disconnects automatically after expiration). You will need to register the SIM card at a local office of the telecom. You will need a photocopy of your passport and the mobile phone that you will use.

Practically every single town in Bolivia has an Entel office (almost always located in the main plaza). From here, you can make local, long-distance, and international calls. It's actually much more economical to make your international calls from an Entel office than to use an international calling card. To make local calls from a public phone, you need a phone card. You can buy them at any Entel office or any kiosk on the street. The average local call costs about Bs2 for 3 minutes.

Post

Correos Bolivia is the national postal service of the country. It offers a wide range of services at very reasonable prices. Services, speed and reliability are not up to the level it should be though and it can take several weeks for a simple card to arrive in Europe or North America. Most post offices in Bolivia are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 8:00pm, Saturday from 8:30am to 6:00pm, and Sunday from 9:00am to noon. It costs Bs5 to mail a letter to the United States, Bs7 to Australia, and Bs6 to Europe. From time to time, you can buy stamps at kiosks and newspaper stands. There are no public mailboxes, so you'll have to mail your letter from the post office. If you want to send packages overseas it's best to use an international courier company like DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS, as they offer fast and reliable services at competitive prices.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -16.169901
  • Longitude: -69.079193

Accommodation in Copacabana

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Copacabana searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Copacabana and areas nearby.

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This is version 23. Last edited at 10:06 on Mar 8, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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