Copacabana, Bolivia Travel Guide
If traveling to visit the islands of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, the small town of Copacabana is where you will most likely start your journey. Just 3 hours from La Paz by bus or private minivan (depart from different locations in the city), it is the jump-off point for trips to Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna.
Note: Trips to the Islas Flotandes (Floating Islands) depart from Puno, Peru. It takes approximately 2 1/2 hours to get to Puno from Copacabana via bus.
Minivans drop-off at the main square – Plaza 2 de Febrero – down the street from the Catedral de la Virgin de Candelaria, a primary tourist attraction. The bus terminal consists of street parking at Plaza Sucre just a few blocks away and closer to the beach. In between both is the market area.
The main market is located at the intersection of Pando and Jauregui streets and is actually three separate markets situated next to each other. Mercado 2 de Febrero in the middle is a cafeteria serving breakfast items such as coffee, tea, fried donuts drizzled with honey and cheese with bread. It is open 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Traditional Breakfast Foods in Bolivia
On one side of Mercado 2 de Febrero is Mercado Modelo with vegetables, fruits, dried and packaged goods (a good option for ‘grocery shopping’ in Copacabana!) plus a few carnicerias (butcher shops with fresh beef and chicken). It is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. On the other side is Comedor Santa Marta selling low-cost meals daily from around 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Videos of Mercado 2 de Febrero & Mercado Modelo
Catedral de la Virgin de Candelaria (The Virgin of Candelaria Cathedral in English) and Museum
You don’t have to be the pious-type to get your fill of religion in Copacabana… every Sunday from 7 a.m. or so mass is broadcasted via loudspeakers and can be heard in many hotel rooms and on streets near the beach.
After services cars parade through the town with wreaths of flowers and streamers attached… is difficult to tell if they are celebrating a wedding, funeral or just happy mass is over. The fresh trout restaurants that line the beachfront become packed and the area around Plaza 2 de Febrero bustles all day long with well-dressed Bolivianos and street vendors stacked side by side.
Note: During the week it is a more casual affair with fewer vendors but the doors of the church are always open to peak inside or enter for a visit.
The adjoining museum – a labyrnith that spans a few blocks – is open on Sundays, but closed most other days. You enter from the left side of the cathedral off the street, through a set of wooden doors with “Pastoral de Acodiga” written above. Inside is the museum – Museo Pinacotea Tito Yupanqui – and a small book store with religious items and books for sale
Travel to Isla del Sol and Isla la Luna from Copacabana
A leisurely stroll from Plaza Sucre on Avenida 6 de Agosto to the waterfront will give you a glimpse of what’s on offer to eat in Copacabana (pizza, Mexican food, pastas, traditional Bolivian fare) as well as a few offers of boat transport to Isla del Sol and Isla la Luna.
Isla del Sol Travel Information Photos of Isla del Sol
Isla del Sol is a large island with tourist ammenities on the south and north sides. It takes an hour (hydrofoil-style boats) or 1 1/2 hours to arrive on the south side, a half hour more to be dropped off on the north side.
Nightlife: Where to Cut a Rug in Copacabana i.e. Go Dancing!
In addition to live music in a few restaurants off of 6 de Agosto street and a couple of places to play pool… there is a dance club open nightly – Wikeys. Open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or later (depending on how rowdy the crowd is or how popular the band….) it starts hopping after 11 p.m. when restaurants and bars on 6 de Agosto close. Located a block from Plaza Sucre at the corner of Jauregui and Busch streets.
Andean History Museum – Pacha Uta Museo
Just off of Plaza Sucre on Calle Jauregui, Pacha Uta Museo features ‘real-life’ exhibits representative of Andean history and living. Walking through is a walk through the early history of Lake Titicaca and its native inhabitants. It is open 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Money Gram, Travelers Checks & ATM in Copacabana
There is an International LINK ATM located on Avendida 6 de Agosto street, a half block up from Plaza Sucre (where all the busses are). There is a Prodem (can get cash from a credit card), money exchanges and Money Gram. You can cash travelers checks at the corner of Avendida 6 de Agosto and Pando streets.
Name: La Aldea Del Inca Book Now
Address: San Antonio #2
Website: www.estelardeltiticaca.com/. Lovely with a laid-back feel, WiFi, common room with T.V. and DVD player, bar and cafeteria with light meals. Nice choice to be close to the lake.
Name: Perla de Lago
Address: 3 de Mayo and Bolivar streets
Website: www.hotelperladelago.com Quiet, off-street location just a block from the market, Internet, panoramic views of the lake from upper level rooms, continental breakfast.
Note: There is a budget hostal – or 3 or 4 – on just about every street in Copacabana. Most are basic, if not outright shoddy. Hostal 6 de Agosto is best of the bunch, one of the only to have WiFi and on the most popular main street near the lake (6 de Agosto).
Name: Hostal 6 de Agosto
Address: Calle 6 de Agosto, 2 blocks up from lake.
Website: None. Rose canopied entrance off main street and garden area. Has restaurant, WiFi, cable T.V. private baths and a few cheaper rooms without private bath or T.V. Restaurant serves a good set menu from 12:00 p.m. – 2 p.m. daily with a large bowl of soup, plate of rice, salad, french fries with choice of chicken, meat or fish plus a dessert for 18 bolivianos ($2.60 USD).
Name: La Posta Restaurant & Bar
Address: Calle 6 de Agosto – 1 1/2 blocks from the beach.
Website: Pastas, pizzas, salads (tuna, mixed veggies) and vegetarian dishes. Delivery to your hotel (75802791). Open from 6:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. Live music on occasion, intimate setting with lovely Argentinian owner who fawns over her clientele!
Name: Mankhu Uta Restaurant & Bar
Address: Calle 6 de Agosto – 1 block up from the beach.
Website: None. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. for breakfast (eggs, bacon, bread), lunch & dinner (pastas, pizzas, Mexican food). Board games, Satellite T.V., WiFi plus live folkloric music every day after 8 p.m. Happy hour 7-9 p.m.
Name: Broasteria Bolivia
Address: On Jauregui street near market.
Website: None. Fried and roasted on a spit chicken with Asian noodles and french fries. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Note: Across the street is the Imperial Palaca Broasteria – both sell “Pollo al Spiedo” (chicken roasted on a spit grill) and fried chicken with accompanying noodles, french fries, etc.
Photograph by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.