Copacabana, Bolivia – Two months living on Lake Titicaca

Copacabana, Bolivia is like my home away from home. Having lived here for an entire summer two years ago, it felt great to come back for another summer. After a bit of effort at the border to get Kirsten’s visa, we made it to Copacabana around lunchtime and dropped all our stuff off at our home for the summer before wandering around town for a bit. We arrived about a week before our professor, so we had plenty of time to rest and see the sites around town before things got busy. Since we’ve now been here about two months, I’ll list the highlights of our stay here and the general things to do in Copacabana when visiting.

  • First and foremost, El Condor and the Eagle Cafe and La Orilla are two must-try restaurants in town. The former for breakfast and the latter for dinner (especially the pepper steak). We ended up having dinner with a writer for Lonely Planet there a week ago which was pretty awesome.
  • The Basilica of Copacabana is a huge pilgrimage site for Peruvians and Bolivians, and you can watch cars get blessed and purchase holy water if you do so desire  
    Basilica of Copacabana
  • Intinkala is an Inca site of unknown purpose located near the center of town. There’s not much information known about it but entry is free so it’s worth checking out for a few minutes. 
    Carved rocks of Intinkala
  • The Calvario is the mountain on the edge of town which has a Catholic shrine on top. The climb up the stairs is brutal but climbing up the dirt trails on the side is really nice.   
    Stations of the Cross on top of the Calvario
    Copacabana from the Calvario
  • Horca del Inca is another Inca site located on the opposite side of town from Calvario. It was an Inca (and probably earlier) astronomical observatory used on the winter solstice (June 21). We met some fellow Americans during our visit here who were great and we ended up hanging out with them in Copa for a few days.   
    Horca del Inca
  • Baño del Inca is located about 2 km away in Kusijata, and was a former Inca bath there pilgrims would have to purify before being allowed to enter Copacabana. There’s also a natural mummy in the small museum here, though it’s degrading due to water damage in the case.  
    Baño del Inca
  • Boca del Sapo is another religious site which is in the shape of a frog. People throw champaign bottles at it for good luck.   
    Boca del Sapo
  • Salteñas are available in the main plaza for 4 Bs and they are amazing. The only downside is the olive hidden somewhere inside.

Copacabana is quite small and everything can be visited in a few days. The charm of the city is its lakeside town atmosphere and laid back vibe. It’s not just a place to spend a day on a trip between Cuzco and La Paz, it’s a destination in its own right. If in the area, try to spend a few days in town to visit the islands and relax in this chill lakeside town. Take a stroll down the beach or climb one of the surrounding hills. There are lots of options for activities, especially on the weekends when tourists from La Paz also come to visit the town.   

The Milky Way over Copacabana

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David Hansen

Bioarchaeologist in training with an incurable travel bug. I write about my travel experiences and archaeological sites/research from around the globe.

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