Copacabana, Bolivia

Let’s hop in the time machine and travel back about seven months… After the Machu Picchu trek and a recovery period in Cusco, Murray and I separated from Meghan and Kyle for a bit to check out Bolivia. Our first stop there, (after a brief stay in Puno and a mini-tour of Lake Titicaca on the Peru side,) was a small beach town called Copacabana—or as Murray called it, “Coco Banana.” It’s a quaint place with one main road that leads straight into the water. Because we were still at high elevation, the sun was strong but the air was chilly.

IMG_0682Much like San Pedro in Guatemala, Copacabana has an artistic appeal that attracts an abundance of pierced and poncho-clad youths who express and sustain themselves by selling homemade wire trinkets and hemp bracelets on the street curbs. Murray and I came up with plenty of theories about the differences between lake towns and ocean towns, and the reasons why places like Copacabana become a Never Never Land of sorts for certain types. One surefire answer is the cost of living: Bolivia is so cheap!! Our jaws all but dropped when we learned the price of our hotel room… $4 per night! Granted, it wasn’t the Ritz, but it was clean, quiet, had two beds and a private bathroom, so we were psyched! The exchange rate, while we were there, was 7:1. To give you an idea of what we were spending, typical meals usually cost us somewhere between $2-3.

IMG_0684One morning we hiked up to the highest point in town for a beautiful panoramic view of the area. Copacabana must thrive in the summertime—all along the shore were docked paddleboats and lines of closed restaurants that, from our vantage point, looked more like game stands at a carnival. Lake Titicaca is enormous and a deep, beautiful blue color. Our tour guide in Peru told us a joke that, because the lake spans between both countries, the “titi” side is in Peru and the “caca” side is in Bolivia, haha!

IMG_0661The next day, Murray and I caught the ferry over to Isla del Sol, an island about thirty minutes away. We had lunch up the hill on a restaurant patio with a gorgeous view across the lake of snow-capped mountains in the distance.

We made some friends in town and enjoyed a night out at one of the local bars, but after a few days in Copacabana we started to feel a bit claustrophobic from the small town environment, noticing that the things we initially found charming were starting to feel creepy. That’s when we decided it was time to hightail it out of there!  We packed up our bags, shedding any and all excess weight, stocked up on snacks from the bodega, and boarded the overnight bus to La Paz..

Posted on by Erica Duncan in Bolivia

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