Travel Notes
A typical Bolivian boat on a lake

Top things to do in Copacabana (Bolivia)

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Even though we only spent one night in Copacabana, straight after crossing into Bolivia from Peru, we absolutely fell in love with this little town.

On the shore of the famous Lake Titicaca, this village has become increasingly popular among backpackers who stop here to visit Isla del Sol, one of the main floating islands on the highest navigable lake in the world.

If you plan to visit Lake Titicaca, but are not sure whether to choose Puno, on the Peruvian side, or Copacabana, make sure you check the blog post in the link below.

If you have already made your mind up and chose Copacabana (my preferred choice too!), here is a list of things to see and do here.

There are some reasons why we decided not visit the floating islands (check out the post above to find out), but there other things you can do. People usually only stop here for one or two nights, so you might not have time to do everything, but below are some thing you can do if you are here only for one night only like us.

Things to see and do in Copacabana:

  • Spend some time by lake Titicaca
  • Visit the town’s markets
  • Have a sunset drink from a rooftop
  • Visit the Catedral
  • Enjoy the view from Cerro Calvario
  • Visit Horca del Inca
  • If you have time, hike to Yampupata
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Just because you are not taking a boat tour across the lake it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy its beautiful shore. Just walk around and witness some scenes of the everyday life here in Copacabana, but also take a few moments to sit down and relax…maybe enjoy a sunset here?

As a lot of places in South America, visiting the town markets is one the best experiences ever. You get to see how local people live, try new typical food and take a look at all the beautiful artisanal products. And Bolivia is particularly amazing when it comes to markets. Although Copacabana isn’t too big, there are plenty of markets, artisanal shops and stall where you could end up spending hours even if you are planning to just look at them or talk to people living here.

One of my favourite memories of Bolivia, however, is having a sunset drink during the happy hour on the rooftop of a bar called Totora, just by the lake Titicaca, after spending a few hours by the lake.

Pic from TomFlies.com.

Despite the very simple setting, this place was super nice, with very nice staff, and actually very popular as it is apparently one of the best places to watch the sunset from here in Copacabana. They also have some snacks during happy hour. Really an experience not to be missed if you are trying to relax a little bit, before exploring other parts of the country or crossing into Peru.

Copacabana is a very small town, but it has so many beautiful buildings. The most famous one would be La Catedral. The Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana is a 16th-century Spanish colonial shrine, where you would be able to see the image of the Virgen de Copacabana carved by Inca Tito Yupanqui. The golden part of the Virgen were actually robbed in April 2013. The statue, however is never moved from there, as there is a superstition that suggests that moving it would cause a flood of the lake.

If you only have one day in Copacabana, the above will be enough to fill it. However, if you have more time to spend here, there are a couple more things you can actually do.

For example, you could walk uphill for approximately half km from the town centre to enjoy the view from Cerro Calvario to enjoy a view of the town from some height. In order to get to the top, you can take a small trek through the 14 stations of the cross along the way. For an even nicer experience, you can go in the afternoon and enjoy a sunset over the lake.

Also walking for half km uphill, there is Horca del Inca, a stone structure that is thought to have been used by Inca astronomers and priests to observe the sun on the morning of June 21st, day of summer solstice and Aymara New Year.

If you are still looking for something to do after all these things, don’t worry! There is plenty more. Why not walk to the Yampupata Peninsula? After a 4 hour walk (17km), you’ll be able to enjoy a great view of the Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna.

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