Copacabana, Bolivia: A Complete Guide to Lake Titicaca’s Beach Town

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I know, you are probably singing the song in your head..."Copa, Copacabana, the hottest spot north of Havana". But no, this is not THAT Copacabana. This is Copacabana, Bolivia. Nevertheless, we can tell you for sure that you can easily have some fun here.

Located on the shore of Lake Titicaca, this beach town is little, but it certainly has some great stuff to offer to its travelers. If you enjoy some good food, hand-crafted islands (yes, you read that right) and stunning views, stay with us to learn more about this awesome place.

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Where is Copacabana, Bolivia?

Copacabana is located in central western Bolivia, near the border of Peru. It is situated in Lake Titicaca, which is shared by both countries of Bolivia and Peru. The closest large city is La Paz, which is about a 4 hour bus ride away from Copacabana, Bolivia.

Copacabana Bolivia

Copacabana is located close to the border with Peru.

How to Get to Copacabana, Bolivia

Copacabana is usually the first or last stop on a trip to Bolivia, and is most easily reached by La Paz, or by some of the cities in Peru such as Cusco, Arequipa, or Puno. The best airport to fly into is La Paz, but you can also fly into Cusco or Arequipa.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Everywhere". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination.

Search for a flight near Copacabana Brazil:

Buses to Copacabana, Bolivia

The cheapest option to visit Copacabana is to go by bus from any of these cities. There are various companies that travel to Copacabana, Bolivia, usually going out first thing in the morning.

Here are options for bus tickets to Copacabana, Bolivia.

Rent a Car to Visit Copacabana, Bolivia

If you'd rather opt for a more comfortable ride, and the travel on your own terms, then you can easily rent a car from La Paz Airport. As we were traveling just one way (and not going back to La Paz) this wasn't the right decision for us personally.

However, if you are flying in and out of La Paz and would like to visit Copacabana on your own, then this can definitely be a great choice. Here is a site that we use to book most of our car rentals:

Take a Tour to Copacabana, Bolivia

Another option is to do a day trip as an excursion from La Paz. While this is definitely the pricier option, it is a great way to see the highlights if you are short on time.

Want to book an excursion to Copacabana from La Paz? Here are a few options to choose from:

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Entry Requirements for Bolivia

One of the most important things before planning your trip is to make sure that you cover all requirements to enter. Here are the different entry requirements for visiting Bolivia.

Visa Entry Requirements for Bolivia

There are many countries that do in fact need a visa to visit Bolivia. Those from the US need a visa to enter, and one can be applied for the Bolivian embassy for $160.

The stay can be up to 30 days at a time, and the visa is valid for 10 years. Additionally, it is mandatory to have your yellow fever vaccine. Those from the UK and Australia do not need a visa, and can stay up to 90 days without obtaining one.

Vaccination Requirements for Bolivia

In order to visit Bolivia, you need to have the yellow fever vaccine.

Covid Entry Requirements for Bolivia

In order to enter the country you will need to present one of the following:

  • Proof of vaccination
  • A negative PCR test within 72 hours of flying
  • A negative Antigen test within 48 hours of flying

Note: Requirements are constantly changing, so we suggest you to follow up on the entry requirements closer to your travel date.

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Local Adjustments for Copacabana, Bolivia

Whenever you travel there are things that you may forget about, that may differ from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Bolivia.

What Language Do They Speak in Copacabana?

The official language in Bolivia is Spanish. While there are some people that do speak English, we highly suggest brushing up on your Spanish so that you don't get ripped off or taken advantage of.

Currency Used in Copacabana, Bolivia

The currency used in Bolivia is the Bolivian Boliviano. Currently (April 2024) you get a little under 7 bolivianos for every USD or euro, and 8 for every British pound. It is important to note that credit cards are not accepted much in Bolivia, so make sure to take out plenty of cash.

Plug Types Used in Copacabana, Bolivia

Bolivia uses the same plug types as those in North America, which are types A & C. Bolivia operates on a 230 V supply voltage and 50 Hz.

Is the Water Safe to Drink in Copacabana, Bolivia?

The water is not suitable for drinking in Bolivia. We highly suggest buying plenty of bottled water, and then using a refillable water bottle to fill back up.

Tipping Culture in Bolivia

The tipping culture in Bolivia is not very prevalent. It is really only necessary to leave a bit of a cash tip for those that are going out of their way to help you, in a hotel for example. If you have extremely good service, you can always leave around 5-10% extra for the waiter/waitress.

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Things to Do in Copacabana, Bolivia

Copacabana may be small in size, but there are quite a few activities to keep you busy. Here are some things to add to your list.

Things to Do in Copacabana, Bolivia #1: Rent a Boat

You will find many locals at the shore, renting swan-looking boats for a small price (20 bolivianos per person per hour, or $3 USD). Make sure to give a nice look at all of them, since some of them don't look particularly in great shape.

What's cool though, is that these huge swans will let you pedal around lake Titicaca, allowing you to enjoy the views around the "highest navigable lake in the world", as well as its surroundings.

boats in Copacabana Bolivia

Renting a boat is a great way to enjoy the lake in Copacabana.

Things to Do in Copacabana, Bolivia #2: Visit the Floating Islands

If pedaling isn’t your thing, you can still get to enjoy the lake and many attractions around it. For only 15 pesos bolivianos ($2 USD) per person you can get a shared boat trip for an hour and a half to Islas flotantes (floating islands).

These are literally hand-crafted by the Uros, a tribe that lives here. They create several layers of a popular plant that grows underwater in Bolivia called totora. This plant is also used to create Bolivia's signature boats "caballitos de totora".

You can step firmly on top of these islands, where you will find local kiosks offering food & beverages to its visitors.

floating island in Copacabana Bolivia

The floating islands are handmade islands outside of Copacabana.

The islands are 30 minutes away from Copacabana. Once you arrive to them, your captain will set a time for the group to go back to the boat. They usually give around 45 minutes to walk around, which is more than enough to see it all.

Things to Do in Copacabana, Bolivia #3: Eat Trout

Trying trout is a must in Copacabana, Bolivia. When we say this, we actually refer to a specific location. Right along the water, you will find a lot of kiosks lined up one next to the other, offering you different types of trout (with garlic, with hot sauce, fried, etc).

The funny part is, that even though they all offer the same product fished from the same location, they will all try to sell you that theirs is the absolute best from the area. They all come with fries, rice and salad and they will cost you 25 pesos bolivianos ($3.50 USD).

trout in Copacabana, Bolivia

Trying trout is a must in Copacabana, Bolivia.

This is something every traveler has to go through when visiting Copacabana, Bolivia. But what's also fascinating is that they don't seem to be upset with each other whenever one wins over the other. Instead, it looks like everyone agrees on the game they play so, in a certain level, it's even fun to watch.

For dinner, you can look up on the main street for the best deal. Almost every restaurant will offer you a menu with an appetizer (usually a type of soup), a main course (trout, chicken, pasta or a vegetarian dish) and dessert. Prices will also range from 25 to 35 pesos bolivianos ($3.50 to $5 USD).

Things to Do in Copacabana, Bolivia #4: Hike up Cerro Calvario

As soon as you get to Copacabana you will notice there are at least two hills right next to town. You can go on a hike there to have stunning views of the city and some islands around the lake. The one on the right, when facing the lake, is Cerro Calvario.

Keep in mind that the altitude is high so it may be a little more difficult than you think, so you might want to take some water and chocolate with you.

If you just arrived to the country, or if you have never tested high altitudes before, the best advice we can give you is that you take it easy. Altitude sickness feels horrible, and it can happen to you even if you're not hiking.

Copacabana Bolivia viewpoint

Cerro Calvario has some of the best views of Copacabana, Bolivia

Remember that you're closer to the atmosphere, therefore there is less oxygen in the air, so your body needs to go at a slower pace to distribute blood and oxygen to every area. So take a slower step, a deep breath, and don't rush.

It's always a good idea to get altitude sickness pills. The good thing about them is that you can take them to cure & to prevent as well, They won't hurt your body if you take them while feeling great, and they will definitely save you when you're not.

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Things to Do in Copacabana, Bolivia #5: Take a Trip to Isla del Sol & Isla de la Luna

Each morning at 8:30 am there are boats sailing from Copacabana to Isla del Sol and also to Isla de la Luna. 

The main one, and the one we recommend to do, is isla del Sol. It’s a one hour ferry ride, and you can spend the day there, getting local food, visiting some ruins like The temple of the sun, located in the very south of the island, or just enjoying the views from the top.

Isla del Sol in Copacabana, Bolivia

Isla del Sol has wild alpacas around the island.

Most people take the boat coming back at 3 pm. If you want to take your time and visit other areas of the island (there are three communities living in the island, plus several ruins to be seen), you could even get a room in any of the hostels available there, near the port.

This is what Isla de la Luna looks like from Isla del Sol. It's quite smaller than Isla del Sol, and faster to be traveled around.

Isla del Sol, Copacabana Bolivia

La Isla del Sol is a great day trip from Copacabana.

Getting Around Copacabana, Bolivia

Once you are inside Copacabana, you will find that there isn't any need for any type of public transportation.

The city is so small that the whole thing can be walked in minutes. If you happen to drive here you'll just need to park your car, and leave it there for the remainder of your stay. To see the surrounding islands you'll be taking boats, which are all available right down at the beach.

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Where to Stay in Copacabana, Bolivia

Copacabana isn't a huge place. However, luckily it has a lot to offer for anyone traveling there. The accommodation prices range from $10 USD in a hostel up to $80 USD in a hotel (based on a 1 room- 2 person search).

We don't usually mention the specific location where we stay because we believe it's more important to highlight the price range better than the location. But here we will have to make an exception, and we will explain why.

Where We Stayed in Copacabana, Bolivia

We stayed at Mirador del Lago Hotel, which is a very nice hotel located in the intersection of Av. Costanera and Av. Busch. It has beautiful views of the lake (every room has a window facing it) and it only costed us 140 pesos bolivianos ($20 USD) the night.

If you are spending more than one night, or even if you're just passing by, let us tell you that the feeling that you get when you see the sunrise or the sunset through the window of that room is a moment you want to take with you from the trip.
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Is Copacabana, Bolivia Safe?

Overall, the town of Copacabana is pretty safe. It's super tiny, and very tourist friendly. We had no issue walking around solo or at night.

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Weather & What to Wear in Copacabana, Bolivia

Weather can be tricky in Copacabana. It's no secret that temperatures drop when you are at high altitudes; what's awesome is that during the day you can enjoy hot & sunny days. And when we say hot we mean HOT. Sunscreen is something you need to have on hand.

But at the very moment the sun sets, temperatures will drop very fast. If the sunset catches you while at the lake, you will feel a drastic difference. By the time you reach the shore you will be asking yourself why didn't you take a sweater with you.

So make sure you have your stuff ready for both day & night, especially if you happen to plan on staying overnight in Isla del Sol. 

Copacabana, Bolivia

The temperatures are high during the day, but dip down drastically once the sun sets.

Packing List for Copacabana, Bolivia:

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Copacabana, Bolivia really surpassed our expectations. You wouldn't think that a little beach town could take you to so many cool places, offer you such fresh and tasty food, and give you out-of-a-movie views.

If you're traveling through Bolivia, we think this is a great spot to discover. Also, don't forget to check out our Complete La Paz Travel Guide!

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