Visit Copacabana, Bolivia: south America’s most enchanting town

Picture of Copacabana, Bolivia at sunset. There is a sky that is multi-colored full of blue, purple, pink and yellow. There is a lake and a mountain as well as a few boats near the lake.

Copacabana, Bolivia is an adorable little town located on Lake Titicaca—the largest lake in South America.  Only 6,000 inhabitants live in the small town, which shares Lake Titicaca with its bordering country, Peru. Copacabana is usually either the first or last stop by visitors traveling to/from Peru when on a road trip through South America’s west coast. There’s a lot to see and do in Copacabana — from relaxing on the lake, taking in the sunset, visiting Isla del Sol, Island de La Luna, and more.  

This guide will inform you of everything you need to know to make the most of your trip to Copacabana, Bolivia — including how to get there, where to stay, and what to do there. 

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    How to Get to Copacabana, Bolivia

    Picture of a black and white alpaca standing on top of a mountain in Isla Del Sol which is located in Copacabana, Bolivia
    The best way to get to Copacabana, Bolivia is via ground transportation—usually by bus. There’s no international airport in Copacabana. International travelers usually fly to El Alto International Airport in La Paz, Bolivia, as it’s the closest international airport to Copacabana. The trip from La Paz to Copacabana is approximately 3.5 hours.
     
    Travelers also may opt to visit Peru first and then take a bus from Peru to Bolivia. The closest city in Peru is Puno, Peru—which is located on Lake Titicaca (a lake that’s shared with Copacabana).
     
    Public buses are available to take visitors to/from Copacabana. Public buses are the most budget-friendly way to visit Copacabana. Public buses in Bolivia are generally safe, though they aren’t the most organized as schedules change without being communicated to travelers in advance, so be flexible with your plans if taking a public bus to Copacabana. 
     
    The best way to get to Copacabana from both La Paz, Bolivia and Puno, Peru is via a service called Bolivia Hop (also called Peru Hop if departing from Peru). The company transits guests to/from most major tourist destinations in both Peru & Bolivia. Bolivia Hop is slightly more expensive than public transportation but is highly recommended. The company has reliable service, easy to locate pick-up locations, and comfortable seats. Bolivia Hop also provides accommodation & activity suggestions in each city.

    Accommodation in Copacabana, Bolivia

    Two alpacas on grass, standing in front of Lake Titicaca in Copacabana

    The best accommodation in Copacabana, Bolivia is Hotel la Culpa. Hotel la Culpa has adorable rooms, great views of Lake Titicaca, an excellent on-property restaurant, a shared kitchen, and most importantly three alpacas on the ground that guests can play with. Our stay at Hotel la Culpa made our trip incredible. We spent a lot of time relaxing on the hotel grounds. The prices of the hotel are also super affordable considering all that it offers. Check out the website for current costs. 

    Other accommodations that travelers love in Copacabana include:

    • Hotel Las Olas: Great views of Lake Titicaca and adorable rooms.
    • Hotel Utama: Great choice for backpackers & budget travelers. 

    No matter where you decide to stay in Copacabana, keep these things in mind:

    • Wi-Fi is not strong anywhere in the city and likely won’t be the best in your accommodation.
    • Hot water is rare in Copacabana so don’t sweat it if you have to take a cold shower. 
    • Bugs happen — be prepared for some intruders in your hotel room. 
    • Beds in Copacabana are always very firm and not the most comfortable. 

    The Best Way to Get Around

    View of Lake Titicaca in Copacabana from above. includes the lake and a mountain in the distance. Yellow flowers in front of picture.

    You can walk everywhere in Copacabana because it’s such a small city. There are a lot of hills in Copacabana and the altitude of the city is quite high (3,841 m) — because of this, walking uphill might take considerable effort (I had to catch my breath often while walking around). 

    If you are going to visit the two nearby Islands—Isla Del Sol and Isla de La Luna, then you’ll have to take a boat. 

    There’s a place called The White Anchor, located near Lake Titicaca, which is referenced often in regards to navigating around Copacabana. The White Anchor is where the buses drop-off/pick-up and where the boats to the Islands take off from. 

    Here is a map of the center of Copacabana for reference:

    The Weather in Copacabana, Bolivia

    The best time of year to visit Copacabana is during its dry season — from May to August. The months of December – February are also a good time to visit, but there’s a higher chance of precipitation in the area during this time. The temperature in Copacabana is usually around 15°C – 17°C (or 60°F – 70°F)

    Things to Do in Copacabana, Bolivia

    Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana. White church with cement in front.

    Copacabana is a great city for travelers who are looking to relax but there’s also stuff to do for the more adventurous traveler. Here’s are  some of the best things to do in Copacabana, Bolivia:

    1. Enjoy the views of Lake Titicaca: The lake is the highest navigable lake in the world and the largest in South America. It’s gigantic and incredible to see in person. Many of the accommodations in Copacabana provide views of the lake. You can also sit on a bench next to the lake and enjoy.

    2. Watch the Sunset: Copacabana’s sunset is one of the best in the world. During my time there, I saw the sky turn purple, pink, blue, and yellow. The sunset illuminates the area and is something that all tourists should check out during their trip. Visitors can either view the sunset from Lake Titicaca or from the top of Cerro Calvario — which is the top of a hill in the city that can be hiked to. 

    3. Visit Isla Del Sol and Isla de La Luna: Both islands are located a short boat-ride away from Copacabana’s city center. Boats to the Islands depart from a central icon called the White Anchor. Tourists can opt to either take a day trip to each Island or spend the night. Once on both Islands, guests can take a hike around the Island and take in views from above. I suggest taking a day trip to each as you can cover all of the activities and see much of each island in one day. 

    4. Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana: The Basilica has existed since the 16th century and was resurrected during Spanish rule. The exterior of the Basilica is white and colonial. Inside the shrine is a statue of the Virgen de Copacabana.

    5. Shop at the Street Markets: There are a lot of cute local markets all over Copacabana. They sell things such as goods made out of alpaca, crystals, and hand made wooden items. 

    Before You Go...

    Copacabana, Bolivia is one of the most adorable towns in South America. It’s a great city to go to for a quick retreat during your travels throughout South America’s west coast. Before you go on your trip, check out these additional resources for inspiration:

    1. Check out this video of Lake Titicaca in 4K
    2. Watch tourists walk the streets of Copacabana

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