The other Copacabana

Copacabana Travel Blog

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Changing money at the Peruvian/Bolivian border!

We booked ourselves on the Litoral overnight bus (S.70/£16/$23) which we had been promised was a luxury full cama service.  We got to the bus station in plenty of time for the 10pm departure.  There was some bizarre changing of tickets by some drunk guy at the Litoral counter and by the time we'd passed through the departure gate it was clear that we had been stitched up.  Rather than being on some luxury double-decker cama service, Katie and I were local-yokel basic service bus....oh christ!  I was so pissed off when we left, but eventually we just had to laaugh about it.  It did leave a bitter taste in my mouth in regards to Peru - there are lots of dishonest people here who constantly want to rip tourists off - unfortunately its a typical short term view here.

View from the Inca Stairway on Isla del Sol
  So I lef Peru with it way down my list of favourite South American destinations.  I was looking forward to getting across the border and seeing what Bolivia had to offer. 

Our 'direct' service turned out not to be quite so direct - oh, what a surprise!  Note to others going this way from Cuzco to Copacabana - if you are told you will get a direct bus, you won't, its actually impossible as no vehicles can cross the border at Copacabana.  We got as far at Yungay and at about 6am in the morning were prompty escorted off our bus (which carried onto La Paz) onto a tinpot Toyota van crammed with locals.  Our fixer, 'Jesus' ensured that we did actually get the border, which was small relief.

Stan admiring the Eco-pizza!
  We got ourselves stamped out at Yungay and after getting some money changed, walked the half kilometre up the hill to the Bolivian border post.   No problems and we were stamped in pretty easily.  Another tinpot van took us the 8km to Copacabana, which certainly isn't anything like its namesake in Brazil...a slightly ugly town was waiting for us, but it was sat on the beautiful Lake Titicaca, which had us even more out of breath being at 4,016m...unreal!

We decided to go an meet Abby & Stan who'd got here the day before, and we assembled as a group - me, Katie, Abby, Stan, Angus, Peter, Becs and Leo.  We decided to head straight over to Isla del Sol that day (boat Bs10/£1/$1.60) on the 1.30pm crossing.  The greeting at Isla del Sol was one of demands for money - welcome to our island!!  We had barely got off the boat when some woman was demanding an 'entry fee' to get on the island - it was only Bs5 (50p), but it still narked us all in the way they went about it.

Beautiful sunset on Isla del Sol
..and the fact you don't get anything for it!  We walked up the Inca Stairway, which is bloody hard work, so if you are going, don't take a full backpack!!  We found a nice little place to stay (the name escapes me, but it was in the Lonely Planet!) and then went for a wander and found an ace little place for a pizza and beer - Eco-pizza!  The sunset was absolutely amazing, the island certainly lived up to its name!

The following day we embarked on the hike through Isla del Sol.  after the travails of the Inca Trail, it was a nice relaxing walk, although climbing any kind of incline at 4000m+ literally takes your breath away!  It took about 3 hours or so to get the north end (passing through another 'checkpoint' with locals actually running to collect money of us.

...thieves!!) where we saw the Sacrifical Table and some ruins...nice, but not Machu Pichu.  the boat from the north left at 1.30pm (the b*astards want Bs20 for the return journey to Copacabana...double!) and after hanging around back at the south for an hour or so, we left for Copacabana at about 3.30pm.  They took us to some very poor imitation floating islands on the way, which annoyingly added about 45 minutes to the journey.  Cold and hungry, we checked into our hostel and then had some very bizarre food at the Copacabana Cafe - Pizza Hawaiiana (which had glace cherries on) and Spaghetti Carbonara (which had scrambled eggs in it!)...a strange way to end our time on Lake Titicaca.   La Paz tomorrow, bring it on!!

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Changing money at the Peruvian/Bol…
Changing money at the Peruvian/Bo…
View from the Inca Stairway on Isl…
View from the Inca Stairway on Is…
Stan admiring the Eco-pizza!
Stan admiring the Eco-pizza!
Beautiful sunset on Isla del Sol
Beautiful sunset on Isla del Sol
The Sacrificial longer …
The Sacrificial longer…
photo by: aliciaaa