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La Paz and Copacabana
By Laura - Bolivia - 10 Dec/02 - Viewed 2282 times.

We spent a day and a bit resting in Uyuni before we went to get the train at 1am on Friday morning. The Lonely Planet says that the train can be chronically late so I was ready for a bit of a delay. At first it looked as though we would leave on time but at around the time we were due to leave there was announcement that it would be impossible to make the journey to Oruro. We could not get our money back either because they said that the train might leave at 8 in the morning. So we spent a very uncomfortable night trying to sleep on the train. They obviously didn't think that they had annoyed us enough because we were woken with really loud music at 6. At this point we were told the train would not be leaving at 8 but it might leave at 4 in the afternoon. We decided to cut our losses and get a bus. Fortunately when we arrived at the bus station there was a bus leaving that minute with just 2 seats left. It cost B$25.00 each and we arrived in Oruro just after 2. The road between Uyuni and Oruro is very bumpy and occasionally I got thrown out of my seat. We were sat right at the back and it was quite funny watching everyone get out of their seats at regular intervals to push their vibrating bags back in the overhead storage. Sometimes they were too late and the bags would fall on them.

Once we arrived in Oruro we were able to get on a bus leaving straight away for La Paz for B$10.00 each. This time the road was paved and we arrived in La Paz by 7 that evening. First we went through El Alto, a suburb of La Paz which is 500m above it. The first view you get of La Paz below is stunning. They have made use of every available bit of land and some of the houses have been built on a really steep incline. After driving round the bus station for 20 minutes we finally got off and walked towards the centre of town. We struggled up Calle Sagarnaga and stopped at Hostal Happy Days. It was a bit expensive at B$80.00 for a double room with shared bath but we were so worn out we couldn't really be bothered to search around for somewhere cheaper. We went straight out to eat at El Lobo, which serves a really good variety of meals at reasonable prices. I was not convinced that the falafel were completely vegetarian though. Afterwards we went back and slept for over 12 hours as we only managed about 2 the night before.

At about 11:30 the next day we walked just up the road to the 100% Natural Cafe. They have got a really good breakfast including fruit juice, muesli with yoghurt and fruit salad, eggs and hot drink for B$15.00. Unfortunately they stopped serving that at 11 so I made do with a huge bowl of fruit salad for B$12.00. They also have a really good selection of mixed fruit juices and filling baguettes. We then went on a bit of a walking tour of the city taking in the witches market, the normal market and a few churches. All the museums were shut because it was the weekend and we hadn't got up early enough. We also bought a few souvenirs including a llama finger puppet and a hat with a llama pattern on it (can you spot a theme?). Sending postcards is a bit cheaper than in Argentina at B$6.00 per card. We went looking for a Mexican restaurant on Calle Linares for dinner. It wasn't there but nearby there was a great restaurant that did a 3 course dinner for B$15.00.

The next morning we went back to the 100% Natural Cafe in time for breakfast but this time it was shut so we ate in a cafe a couple of doors down. We then tried walking uphill to the cemetary area to catch our bus to Copacabana. This was very tiring with our large bags due to the altitude so half way up we caught one of the collectivos for B$1.00 each. We got on a minivan leaving for Copacabana straight away for B$15.00. After a couple of hours we had to get out and take a boat across the lake while the minibus went across on a rather dodgy looking ferry that looked more like a raft. We all made it across though and an hour later we arrived in the main plaza in Copacabana. We walked down Avenida Jauregui towards the lake and found Hostal Arcangeles. This is quite a new hostal since it is still being built. When it is finished it will cost B$25.00 per person but at the moment it is a bargain at B$10.00 per person. They have good hot showers too although you have to ask them to turn on a switch for the hot water first (I didn't know this the first time I had a shower). That evening we walked up Cerro Cavario, a hill that overlooks the town. It was quite tough but worth it for the view over the town as the sun set. We were very hungry by the time we had walked down and went to La Orilla for a tasty coconut fish curry.

Early the next morning we headed down to the lake to catch the boat to Isla del Sol. We took the boat to the north of the island, which cost B$15.00 each and took about 2 hours. We planned to stay the night on the island but managed to tag along with a day tour initially. We walked for about an hour around the north of the island and visited the ruins of Pilcocaina. At about 12 we started our walk to the south of the island. The trails that run over the island are clearly marked and the scenery is beautiful. It took about 3 hours to get to the south where there are a few restaurants and hostals. Our hostal cost us B$20.00 each and there was a balcony just outside our room with an amazing view. We had a set dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was B$12.00 for soup and trout with chips and rice. We then went back to the balcony to watch the sunset.

The following morning we walked down the Escalera del Inca to catch a boat back to Copacabana. From this side of the island you can see the smaller Isla de la Luna. After a paddle in the cold lake we got on a boat at 10:30. On the way the boat stopped to drop someone off at Yampupata. You can walk here from Copacabana and take a row boat over to the Isla del Sol. Copacabana only comes into view as you are almost there and it took nearly 2 hours to get back. After lunch we went to the cathedral to see the blessing of the cars. I assume that they do this for good luck before a long journey. We then went down to the lake and hired a pedlo out for half an hour. In the evening we went to watch the football at the Sol y Luna bar. The reception was very poor but they have a very good guide book selection that you can read while you're there. For dinner we went to La Leyenda and had a very good set meal for B$10.00, although we felt sorry for the owner as we were the only customers there. It was our last night in Bolivia and I was sad to be leaving.

Related Links

Map of the area

Map and photos of the area surrounding Lake Titicaca

Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking

We really wanted to cycle down the world's most dangerous road (it's the safest way to go down it) but they don't do it in the rainy season.

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet Bolivia

LAB Airline

Main Bolivian airline

Bolivia.com

Bolivia portal in Spanish only

Andean Images Bolivia

Photos of Bolivia

CIA Bolivia Facts

Lots of facts about Bolivia
Wool stall, La Paz

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 09 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Laura
Viewed: 1528 times
Rated: 8.6/10 by 9 people
Sunset, Copacabana

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 10 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 1500 times
Rated: 9.6/10 by 10 people
Sunset, Copacabana

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 10 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 1042 times
First view of La Paz

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 09 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 1026 times
Rated: 7.3/10 by 3 people
Crosses at Copacabana

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 10 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 1178 times
Rated: 8.1/10 by 7 people
Isla de la Luna

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 09 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 1008 times
Beach on the Isla Del Sol

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 09 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 864 times
Street in La Paz

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 09 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 835 times
Sunset on the Isla Del Sol

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 09 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 1048 times
Rated: 10.0/10 by 2 people
Pig on the Isla Del Sol

Trip: B.A. to L.A.
Entry: La Paz and Copacabana
Date Taken: 09 Dec/02
Country: Bolivia
Taken By: Mark
Viewed: 712 times