Visiting Isla del Sol in Bolivia was certainly one of our most unforgettable travel experiences in South America. This place is special for two reasons: First, Isla del Sol is believed to be the birthplace of the Incas so there’s an undescribable mystique in the air. Secondly, from here you can enjoy stunning, serene and less crowded views of Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world.
If you’re backpacking in South America, you’ll probably come across the question “should I visit Lake Titicaca in Peru or Bolivia?”. After having done both (we stayed in the Uros Islands in Peru), I can say that if you’re short on time & budget, exploring Lake Titicaca on a short visit to Copacabana and Isla del Sol can be an absolutely rewarding experience.
Keep on reading to see how to spend two days in Copacabana and Isla del Sol, what not to miss and where to stay.
How to get from La Paz to Copacabana
We visited Copacabana and Isla del Sol following a 4-day stay in La Paz. Buses to Copacabana leave from the main bus terminal from 7:30am to 1:30pm every day. The ride takes 3 hours, including a 3-minute ferry ride across the Straits of San Pedro de Tiquina. Here, you have to disembark from the bus and take a ferry across to the other side. The bus is carried over on a separate boat. That in itself was a very cool experience!
We chose a bus company called Titicaca and paid about 30 Bs each for one-way ticket. Their staff was helpful and spoke English.
Day 1 – Copacabana, Bolivia
Copacabana is a hipster lakeshore town known as the gateway to Lake Titicaca. From here, you can take daily boat tours to Isla del Sol. Make sure you allocate at least one full day to explore Copacabana to enjoy some unique experiences it has to offer.
What to do in Copacabana
Visit the Cathedral of Copacabana
Pilgrims come from all over Bolivia to visit the Cathedral of Copacabana to pay homage to the Virgin of Copacabana, who is believed to have blessed her believers with miracles. She is, without doubt, the most venerated virgin in all of Bolivia.
The cathedral is open daily from 11an to noon and from 2 to 6 pm; admission is free.
Catch the sunset at Cerro Calvario
If there’s one thing you should not miss in Copacabana is the sunset from Cerro Calvario. It is absolutely breathtaking.
It is a short and easy hike that takes around 20 minutes. On the way up, you’ll come across some interesting monuments and burned candles where the locals perform religious rituals.
On the way back down, you can choose to return the way you went up, or you can take the rocky path that will lead you to the shores of the lake.
Sample the local trout
If you’d rather skip all the touristy (and overpriced) restaurants on the main street in Copacabana, I highly recommend you head to the beachfront stalls where you can enjoy a delicious trout with a side of rice, salad and chips for just 25 Bs. You can even choose the seasoning: butter, garlic, lemon or spicy gravy. I can recommend Kiosk #7 “Teresita”.
Day 2 – Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca
Day 2 was dedicated to visiting Isla del Sol, one of the most spectacular places in all of Bolivia.
There are boats leaving to Isla del Sol twice a day: 8:30am and 1:30am. You can choose to buy them the day prior or a few hours before departure. I highly recommend purchasing the tickets at the departure deck – tickets will be cheaper than buying at a tourist agency or souvenir shop.
The boat ride takes you to the main island of Yumani on the south end. Once there, you’ll have one full hour to explore. We took the hilly steps all the way to the Fuente del Inca where we enjoyed panoramic views of the lake.
Time seems to go slowly here and it’s so peaceful and quiet as there’s no motorized traffic. Expect cute llama encounters and friendly interactions with the locals!
Where to Stay in Copacabana
If you don’t mind securing a room on the spot without a reservation (truly backpacking style), we heard it is possible to get a double room as cheap as 60 Bs.
If you prefer to book in advance for peace of mind, we can recommend this hotel we stayed at. Clean & safe, good amenities, breakfast included and located really close to the bus station.
Read Hotel Utama’s reviews and book here.
Hope you enjoyed my travel guide on how to spend two days in Copacabana and Isla del Sol in Bolivia. As always, if you have any questions, leave me a comment or connect with me on Instagram.
Backpacking in South America? Check out these travel guides to help you plan your trip.
BOLIVIA TRAVEL GUIDES
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CHILE TRAVEL GUIDES
ARGENTINA TRAVEL GUIDES
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- A complete guide to Humahuaca – Northwest Argentina
PERU TRAVEL GUIDES
- A Unique Homestay on Peru’s Lake Titicaca
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ECUADOR TRAVEL GUIDES
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