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A Complete Travel Guide to Copacabana, Bolivia

Isla del Sol

Copacabana, Bolivia is a small town that sits at over 3,800 meters above sea level on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest lake. You might be contemplating whether to visit Copacabana or Puno on the Peruvian side of the lake. They are completely different experiences and honestly, both are quite touristy and ugly towns. The edge Copacabana has is its stunning natural beauty and hiking which make it worth a couple of days on your Bolivia itinerary. 

Related: The Best 1 Month Backpacking Itinerary for Bolivia

How to Get There

Busses leave regularly from La Paz to Copacabana. The journey takes about 4 hours and is very scenic. I recommend sitting on the right hand side for the best views.

What to Do

Spend a night on Isla del Sol – Just a 90-minute ferry ride from town is the beautiful island where the first Inca is said to have emerged. It’s a peaceful, car-free island and its endless hills make for incredible views. The backdrop of snow-capped Andean peaks is the cherry on top. 

The best way to see the island is a 5-hour hike that passes through small communities and Inca ruins. A good route is Yumani-Challa-Challapampa-Chinkana Ruins-Yumani. Mirador Palla Khasa is a great place to watch the sunset on Isla del Sol. 

Copacabana Bolivia
Alpaca on Isla del Sol

Cerro Calvario – An easy 30-minute hike up to a fantastic viewpoint. The landscape of the hills meeting the lake is beautiful and it’s a popular sunset spot. You’ll want sunglasses because the main viewing area looks directly into the sun.  

Read the most important things to know before visiting Bolivia!

Copacabana Bolivia
Cerro Calvario

Hike the Yampupata Peninsula – A 4-hour hike with nice views along the lakeside. This is an alternate way to reach Isla del Sol. At the end of the peninsula, you can take a boat to the island for 25-30 bolivianos (BOB). I had a few boatmen tell me it cost 200 BOB and that the south part of the island was closed. Wait a few minutes and someone will take you for a fair price. 

Basílica de la Virgen de Copacabana – The towering white church and surrounding walls stand out from anywhere in the town. On the inside, it has beautiful artwork and a golden altarpiece. 

Related: 7 Incredible Things to Do in Bolivia!

Where to Eat

Copacabana restaurants consistently serve trout, the local specialty, and pizza, because it’s a tourist town. 

Ali – A great option for a hearty pre-hike breakfast or for a trout dinner. 

Restaurante La Cúpula – A hotel restaurant with maybe the best view in town and reasonably priced food.   

Pit Stop – A cafe with delicious empanadas and desserts. 

Where to Stay

Hostal Piedra Andina – This is more a hotel than a hostel and it’s a 15-minute walk from the plaza, but well worth it. The view is incredible and there is hot water which is a luxury in Copacabana. 

Hotel Utama – A solid budget hotel near the main plaza. 

Accommodation on Isla del Sol is basic, don’t expect hot water or decent wifi. Hostal Palacio Del Inka is a good budget option with a nice view. 

How Long to Stay

2 days is enough time to spend in Copacabana before heading elsewhere in Bolivia or crossing the border to Peru. A day in Copacabana and a day on Isla del Sol is sufficient.

Where to Next

La Paz (4 hours by bus) – This unique and chaotic city has lively markets, cable cars, and adventure activities.

Huayna Potosí (4 hours) – Climb a 6,000m mountain near La Paz that requires no previous climbing experience.

Puno, Peru (5 hours) – Spend a night with an indigenous family on one of Lake Titicaca’s islands.

Cusco, Peru (13 hours) – One of the continent’s gems is a hiker’s paradise full of incredible Inca ruins.

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