Our first stop in Bolivia, after crossing the Peruvian border, was Copacabana. This small town is situated on the banks of lake Titicaca and is considered a local summer resort area. As such, we were expecting a pretty little place to relax in for a day or 2 before moving onwards.
We arrived by bus from Puno, Peru which took us about 3 hours in total, including the border crossing. As we came into Copacabana we were given a leaflet by the bus company for the Hotel Mirador and were told we were entitled to a discount, as they had some sort of partnership going. We decided to take a look and as they offered us a large room with direct lake views and breakfast for 80 bolivianos per night, we decided the price was ok and took it for the night.
The town, unfortunately, is quite littered and was a bit of a disappointment, especially the lake area where the “beaches” are little more than just dirty gravel.
However, if you happen to arrive on a Sunday like we did, its worth taking a stroll around the colourful market and visiting the fairly impressive, white-walled basilica with colourfully tiled domes.
What makes this place especially interesting is the dark chamber-like side chapel of the Virgen Morena, where people come to light candles and use the wax to leave messages and prayers on the walls. It makes for a strange and slightly surreal setting.
If you happen to be here at the weekend you can also see the locals kitting out their cars with flowers and ribbons and leaving them outside the basilica to be blessed. Something that makes more sense once you have experienced Bolivian driving first-hand!
The other nice place we found was at the top of the Cerro Calvario, next to the lake. It offers panoramic views across lake Titicaca and is a good place to watch the sunset. However, it is a steep climb made even worse by the high altitude, but if you can do it then its definitely worth it. Just ensure you leave enough time to get to the top for the sunset. As a note it’s also worth taking a jacket as it gets pretty cold once the sun sets.
In the end we only stayed the 1 night in Copacabana as we felt there wasn’t much there for us. We bought bus tickets for the next morning heading to La Paz, with the aim of going straight to Coroico.