We transferred from Peru Hop to Bolivia Hop after clearing the border on the way to the first of our Bolivia tourist attractions ... the lakeside town of Copacabana.
Like Puno in Peru Copacabana is situated on the banks of Lake Titicaca.
Our casa was a short distance from the bus stop. But up a steep hill, up stairs, over cobbled streets with cobbles more like mini mountains and potholed and dusty roads.
So we opted for a taxi!
From our room we had a beautiful view over the Copacabana harbour and bay. It was cold but the room included a very welcome fireplace and a pile of logs. During the day the bay was very busy with boats coming and going and at night the boats disappeared – we never found out where – to return again in the morning!
As we’d been forced to stay an extra night in Puno we reduced our stay in Copacabana to one night.
From here we did the enjoyable day trip to Isla de Sol.
Copacabana is another town where we could have spent more time. There are many hikes and despite being very touristy soon becomes local as you move away from the harbour area.
La Paz - Bolivia
We left Copacabana in the late afternoon on the final leg of our trip scheduled to arrive in La Paz at 9:30 pm.
Even at that time La Paz was buzzing. Thousands of mini bus taxis heading in all directions.
This was the only part of our PeruHop and Bolivia Hop experience that wasn’t clear. At the start in Lima it is clearly communicated at which hostels and hotels there would be pickups. In La Paz this was not specified.
Some of us who had accommodation out of the drop off zone were offloaded at a busy street corner. Fortunately with the help and negotiating skills of the guides we were transferred to taxis … at a reasonable agreed cost.
Our accommodation in La Paz was at Luxstone Executive and Suites. We had booked this through Booking.com at the last minute after the previous place we’d booked had cancelled. As usual we booked a double room with bathroom … on arriving we were more than pleasantly surprised to be shown to a suite.
The suite had a separate lounge/dining/kitchen area which made the stay extremely comfortable especially as we spent some time indoors as the weather was cold and rainy. The rate included a standard continental breakfast – with delicious crispy bread rolls!
The accommodation and the service from the manager, Fernando, is highly recommended if you are planning to visit La Paz.
From La Paz we took an overnight bus to Uyuni with Todo Turismo. The bus left at 9pm and arrived the following morning at 7:30am .
We had gone to the bus company office to book the tickets as booking online on sites that have been translated from Spanish to English doesn’t always work.
A word of warning - Working Hours in South America are not like the rest of the world … offices and shops will often close from about about 1 pm to 5 pm and then reopen until 8 pm!
Our Uber ride from the apartment to the bus station was nerve wracking as I’d cut the time a bit fine and the traffic was dense and slow.
Another Warning: In many countries the travel distance does not correlate to the time required. Allow extra time and eliminate the stress.
Arriving at the bus station with our larger than normal back packer rucksack luggage we checked them in before joining the mob of youngsters upstairs who were checking in for the trip.
The bus departed on schedule at 9 pm. We were served a meal of chicken and vegetables which compared favourably with anything we’d been served on any previous economy class flight! The bus was comfortable and warm and apart from disturbances from the odd snorers the night passed uneventfully.
Accepted it’s not a perfect night’s sleep … but it gets you through the next day!
Before arriving at Uyuni we were served with a breakfast snack – a roll and juice … which again compared favourably with many flights.
We arrived at Uyuni to a welcome cup of coffee before consulting Maps.me for the quickest route to our hostel. It was close.
But like many distances in South America they don’t quite correlate to your normal concept of time! The pavements were sandy, potholed and rutted so we dragged our bags along the road ... which wasn’t much better. Fortunately we only had a few hundred metres to footslog through the icy winds and chilling temperature!
We arrived at the hostel very early for check in but fortunately our room was available. We gratefully moved in.
Later we went exploring the dusty, desolate town and discovered that the prices were “tourist” – "now you’re here, nowhere else to go, now we can rip you off!" Standard high prices for standard low quality!
Thankfully we were only here for one night before setting off to one of the outstanding Bolivia tourist attractions … the 3 day 2 night trip into Salar de Uyuni and on to southern Bolivia with Perla de Bolivia. A local company that did itself proud with our trip.
Bolivia is blessed with nature. Natural resources and breathtaking landscapes .. but ...
It's another failing or failed socialist / communist state. Often spoken about in the same breath as Cuba and Venezuela. It’s failing both the people that it claims to support and the progress of the country.
There's corruption and there are strikes with neither assisting progress.
We only saw a limited part of the Bolivia tourist attractions but the country is graced with many outstanding natural features. High mountains and deserts, salt flats and geysers ... but run by politicians who are either incompetent or very short sighted.
Bolivia could do a lot more to promote tourism – by improving facilities and taking advantage of its unique geography.
On a mission to help others expand their horizons. Who knows where they can end? Passionate about learning and embracing the changing world. Adventurous and skeptical but optimistic!