Tale of Two Cities

Puno, Peru (map)
Copacabana, Bolivia (map

After visiting Machu Picchu and being completely amazed we were having a hard time deciding where to head next. Originally we never planned to visit Bolivia mostly because of the visa cost for Americans. However, one of the goals for this RTW adventure was to keep our options open and try not to plan too much. Our hope was to keep things flexible in case we heard about places other travelers told us were “must-do’s”. Well, after traveling throughout Central and some of South America one thing has been consistent from people we have met. They all have said that Bolivia is not to be missed! Therefore, we made our decision to head to a small little town called Copacabana located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. If you haven’t heard of this incredible lake, it is located on the borders of both Peru and Bolivia and  it is often referred to as the highest navigable lake in the world with a surface elevation around 12,500 ft.

Even with the best intentions, not everything always goes as planned. We boarded our night bus in Cusco with the agenda to pass through the Peruvian town of Puno and cross the border into Bolivia the next morning. However, local protesters had other ideas for us. As we neared the town of Puno, which also borders Lake Titicaca, our bus came to a halt along with every other vehicle that was headed in that direction. The protesters had literally blocked the only road into Puno with large rocks. We learned later that the protesters were from a nearby town and that these protests were regarding water rights. I guess with a lake like Titicaca nearby, it makes sense there might be disputes. After everyone on our bus gave up on waiting for the road to be cleared they all decided to walk to Puno. Dustin and I thought that didn’t sound like much fun, especially with our backpacks so we waited it out an hour or so. We were glad we did as the road was finally passable and we made it to Puno. Once we arrived we were bummed to find out we were not going to make it to Bolivia that day and would have to stay the night. Knowing that Puno was right on Lake Titicaca just like Copacabana we thought we would make the best of it.

Our bus unable to move
We had the whole bus to ourselves!
The road had been blocked by large rocks
View from Puno Mirador

Lake Titicaca in Puno
Community Park along Lake Titicaca
Lake Transportation
Crowded shore
Puno Boardwalk
Highest Navigable Lake in the World!

To be honest we were not so impressed with Puno. Thankfully, the next day we made it to Copacabana and I must say we were blown away by the difference between these two Lake Titicaca towns! An added bonus was also how much further our money went in Bolivia versus Peru.

For the same price we have paid for hostels, we scored a room with a view!
Our lake view from the balcony

A very happy hour

Incredible sunset on the lake

Hiking up to Mirador Sagrado
Still posing...
View of Copacabana from Cerro Calvario at 13,034 ft
Lake Titicaca Panoramic

Religious rituals that are common at the Mirador

Looking back up toward the Mirador
Copacabana Iglesia
Streets of Copa
Our Copacabana Hotel

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3 thoughts on “Tale of Two Cities

  1. Did you secure visas for Boliva in Cusco? I am not certain I want to go, but now based upon your recommendation I see myself making a last minute choice.

    1. Yep, we got the Visa in Cusco. The Consultant was easy to find but has funny hours on when he wants to work. I absolutely loved Bolivia as we felt very safe there and your money probably goes the furthest out of any South America countries. I think we paid $10 a night for the actual Hotel (not hostel) right on Lake Titicaca.

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