Copacabana & Ilsa del Sol

Monday May 9, I travelled from Puno in Peru to Copacabana in Bolivia by bus. It’s a three hour trip counting the border crossing. I travelled with a girl I met the same morning at the hostel at breakfast. Her name is Sylvie, she’s 31, from Czech Republic but lives in Canada. As we were both travelling alone, we decided to stay together for a few days.

I’m going to tell you about the border crossing between the two countries. After a two hour drive, the bus stopped in the last Peruvian village of Yunguyo where we were able to change some money. Straight afterwards, we all got back on the bus which drove to the border crossing situated five minutes away. When we got there all the passengers had to get out of the bus to cross. I went to the Peruvian migration office to stamp my passport to say I was leaving the country, then I had to walk 300m to the Bolivian migration office. During the bus trip, I filled out two papers, one for immigration and one for customs. I only got a visa for 30 days in Bolivia which is a bit of a pain because I’m planning to stay six weeks so I need to go back to an immigration office somewhere in the country before my visa expires to get it extended. Customs did not check my bags; in fact, my big backpack stayed in the bus while we were crossing the border and this was very convenient. However, I did check the content the night before to see if anyone put some dodgy stuff in it, like drugs for example. One important thing: it’s illegal to bring coca leaves in either country so get rid of them before you leave. Even though they didn’t check anything, you never know!

When Sylvie and I arrived in Copacabana we went to look for a hostel and the first one we tried had vacancies. It’s the Hostal Sonia, located behind the cathedral. The owner was really sweet to us and directly gave us our room key. We dropped our bags in the room, went for lunch then went for a two-hour walk along the lake.. After that, we enjoyed a beer on a café terrace to celebrate our arrival in Bolivia.

The next day we went to Ilsa del Sol (Island of the Sun) situated tw hours from Copacabana by boat. Our first idea was to sleep on the island but we didn’t in the end. We directly went to the north part of the island and, from there, we did a guided visit of the ruins. The visit was quite interesting but I’ve seen so many ruins in Peru that I’m a bit tired of them now.

Afterwards, it was time to eat so we sat on a rock facing the lake and ate a chicken sandwich. We then decided to cross the island to the south, hiking along a ridge of hills (some of them 4,000m high). It’s a beautiful hike, the landscape is amazing. We also had great weather, warm and sunny ! When we reached the top of the first hill we finally got to see the magnificent Cordilleras de los Andes mountains. The peaks are immaculate with snow and they seem very close.

When we got to the southern part, in Yumani. We had to walk down to the beach. The path winds between houses and it looked similar to Portofino in Italy; the houses are on the cliff and are colourful. We got to the port thirty minutes before the last boat departed to Copacabana so we drank a well-deserved beer on the lawn and enjoyed the view of the Cordilleras.

Sylvie and I

When we got back, we directly went to buy our bus ticket for La Paz the next day. I was sad to leave Lake Titicaca to go to the city. I felt great there, no pollution, no noise at night, so calm and peaceful. My four or five days there have been a blast and I wish I’d stayed a little longer to appreciate the views over and over again.


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