La Paz Via Copacabana


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South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz
October 30th 2015
Published: November 7th 2015
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Copacabana "port"
I finally left Peru to enter Bolivia via the Border Copacabana.



From Puno to the Border: Back on the Bolivia hop bus I was picked up at my hostel at 8.15 & taken to the port in a mini-bus. Once everyone was back on the bus (a double decker '15 plate from Inka express) we headed for the Peru - Bolivia border at Yunguyo near Copacabana.

*There are 2 border crossings into Bolivia the other is at Desaguadero but it is considered to be more dangerous for robbery & scams*

At the border we got off the bus & removed all our belongings before heading to the Peru immigration office. Here I showed my passport & white immigration card it was checked I hadn't overstayed my welcome & I got my exit stamp.

After changing money at the stand outside the office we walked up the road & into Bolivia. Bolivian immigration is just down to your left after you pass the "Welcome to Bolivia" signs.

At Bolivian immigration the form says to fill in, in Spanish but we all did it in English & no one bothered with the questions on the back
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View from Isla del Sol
but they don't care. In fact they barely glanced at the form to check the info was correct just tearing off the bottom to hand back to you (this is your immigration card keep it safe!) before entering your passport information into their computers.



*I'm not sure how but I did meet someone who managed to skip Bolivian immigration & then had to find the office in La Paz to get a stamp & pay the fine! (which was then wrong as it was dated 2014 - probably the last time someone managed to enter the country illegally - so she returned for a re-stamp & wasted most of a day) so make sure you have both exit & entry stamps from the relevant countries of the border you're crossing!*



So we were in Bolivia & on our way to Copacabana after switching onto a less classy standard Bolivian bus to continue a short way to Copacabana.



COPACABANA:

A small very catholic town situated on the shore of lake Titicaca it is often the 1st stop in Peru & is becoming more visited than Puno to see the lake as people head to Isla del sol to soak up the local culture & sun!

Having not planned on entering Bolivia I was a bit short on time & decided to stay on the bus to La Paz which included a short stop in Copacabana. After lunch there was just enough time to squeeze in an ice cream whilst heading to the harbour before getting a quick boat ride out to the Isla del Sol. Once on Isla del Sol it was a quick 40min walk to the next port past the "Temple of the sun" (the darkest Inca sun temple ever made if that's what it was!) & getting some good views across the lake, then back on the boat to head back to the port.

This was a nice walk & I would have liked to do a full day & stay a night in Copacabana but unfortunately time would not allow but I would recommend it to anyone who was coming into Bolivia.



LA PAZ:

So back on our bus we started out on our 4 hour journey (approx.) to La Paz. Climbing out of Copacabana we saw the storm clouds brewing
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View over La Paz
at lightning flashes around us, after a while it started to absolutely pour it down & it became apparent that the bus had no heating especially with night drawing in.. we learned not long after that the bus also was not waterproof with it leaking through the 1 window & the ceiling above me!

Welcome to Bolivia!

Luckily as there were only 10 of us on the bus the couple it was leaking on & I could move back a few seats. A saving grace came as we made it to the lake crossing where we are supposed to dis-embark & wait in the rain for a normal boat as the bus makes it's way over on a barge. With so few of us on however the driver agreed to switch off the lights & pretend he was an empty bus so we could stay on to cross the lake.

Entering La Paz it was dark & still pouring which probably didn't help with my 1st impression of the dingy looking streets we were passing through.

I stayed at the Wild Rover hostel as I knew that some of the guys I'd met in Cuzco would be there & although my dorm was directly under the temporary bar (they finished re-furbishing the normal 1 the last day I was there) the bed was comfy & I managed to get some good sleep. In fact I stayed an extra night to the one I booked as I decided I needed another night of decent sleep before heading to Uyuni.



After a late night meeting up with guys in the bar I slept in making it to breakfast at about 10am & then headed into the city to find the Kanoo tour agency I had been recommended in Lima by Will from Peru Hop. Unfortunately this walk did nothing to increase my liking for La Paz as although I passed some a couple of nice looking buildings for the most part it was pretty dingy & smelly.

Finding the tour agency was relatively easy & I managed to book my Uyuni tour starting on Saturday along with my bus ticket for the Friday night.

My 3-day tour + San Pedro transfer with Quechua connection cost: $200 - incl. meals, hostels, guide + sleeping bag if needed.

The night bus at 21:00 taking 10hrs with Todo Turismo cost BOB 270 - incl. blanket, pillow, dinner & breakfast/snack (although I didn't realise about the food)



I caught up with the guys (looking a bit worse for wear after a heavy night!) at the hostel in the afternoon & we went for a ride on the cable cars up to the flea market where all the locals sell random items (mainly junk). There were some good views showing the bowl which La Paz sits in & of the snowy mountains surrounding it & it was good to spend some time with the guys before they headed on to Sucre that evening.



Taking another day to relax before catching the night bus I went to pick up some supplies for my tour, such as loo roll & water & decided to check out the Witches market which as far as I could see the same stuff I could have got in Peru but more expensive & some odd looking dried out alpaca/llama foetuses.

I headed back to the hostel to upload some photos / update my blog as I wanted to relax before the night bus.



I admit to only eating in the hostel when in La Paz, after hearing so many stories of people getting food poisoning I decided to play safe with my time schedule being so tight, although I did buy a cake & some biscuits from a café & a market stall.

The state of La Paz didn't exactly enamour me to it & I still thinks it's a hole. It was the only city so far I've got the feeling that I really wouldn't want to be out at night in without knowing that it was 1 you shouldn't be & I couldn't wait to leave it.



Where next?: Uyuni for salt flats tour!

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