Ultimate Guide to Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

Like most people who visit Bolivia, the number one reason I wanted to go was to see the Uyuni Salt Flats. But then what? What else is there to do in Bolivia once you’ve traveled all the way there?

After the salt flats, another popular destination in Bolivia is Lake Titicaca. At 12,500 feet above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the highest body of water in the world. It’s said to be the birthplace of the Incas.

At first I considered skipping Lake Titicaca to save time (we were going to Peru next), but I’m so glad we didn’t. It ended up being one of my favorite places in Bolivia and I wish we’d had one more day there!

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

Sunset view over Lake Titicaca

Where to Stay

The best place to see Lake Titicaca is Copacabana. We stayed at the Hotel Rosario Lago Titicaca and I highly recommend it. The room was gorgeous! The bed was sooo comfortable, and we had a giant balcony with a fabulous view of the lake. The Wi-Fi is good and there was a wide variety at breakfast which is included.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

What to do

There are two things you must absolutely do in Copacabana and Lake Titicaca!

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

Climb Cerro Calvario

The top of Cerro Calvario offers an incredible view over Copacabana and Lake Titicaca. This is the best spot to watch the sunset. A steep trail with a stone staircase climbs past the 14 Stations of the Cross to the top. It’s steep, but it’s only about 30 minutes to the top.

Sunset view over Copacabana and Lake Titicaca from the top of Cerro Calvario

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

Visit the Isla del Sol

Plan at least one full day in Copacabana to take a day trip to the Isla del Sol. The Isla del Sol is a small island on Lake Titicaca.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

Boats to the Isla del Sol leave every morning from the beach near the giant anchor statue {GPS Location} at 8 AM. You can buy your ticket the morning of departure, just get there about 15 minutes early. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to the island. The boat to go back to Copacabana leaves the Isla del Sol at 3 PM, so you have around 4.5 hours to explore the island.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

When I was researching our trip, all the guides I read recommended getting dropped off at the north side of the island and hiking across the island to the south side. So I decided that’s what I wanted to do too. But when we were there (April 2018), the north side of the island was closed to tourists, so we could only go to the south side. At first I was disappointed. I’d heard so many great things about the hike, and I wasn’t sure if there would be anything to do on the south side. But I had no reason to worry — the south side of the island is amazing!! It was so gorgeous, I was actually wishing we’d booked a night on the island itself.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

Yes, you can stay on the island! After only 4 short hours on the island I wasn’t ready to leave. I definitely wished we’d had more time! It would’ve been such a nice, quiet, relaxing place to spend a night. If you have room in your itinerary, definitely consider spending a night on the island. My advice would be to leave most of your luggage at your hotel in Copacabana and only take a small backpack with what you’ll need for the night. The boat to the island isn’t the best place to bring a suitcase, and you’ll most likely have to do a bit of hiking to reach your hotel.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

Once you arrive at the south port of the Isla del Sol, take the stairs up and the trail to the left. Follow the path to some small ruins, the Templo del Sol. After exploring the ruins, turn around and try to hike back on the other side of the island to the Restaurant Pachamama for lunch. This is a street with several restaurants and they all have AMAZING outdoor terraces with incredible views over the lake. Pick one and have lunch here. After lunch continue up the Camino Norte-Sur until about the Palla Khasa Ecological Hotel. To the right you’ll see some structures and a sort of observation deck you can go up for an overlook. After that it will probably be about time to head back to the port to catch the boat back to Copacabana.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

I always use Google Maps to get around when I’m traveling, but to navigate the Isla del Sol I used the Maps.me app. Google Maps did not have the all trails on the island marked, but Maps.me shows all the trails on the island so we knew where to go. Also you can use Maps.me offline — no internet connection needed.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

One last thing to note: The boats also offer combination tickets to visit Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna, but we only bought the ticket for Isla del Sol. I think trying to do both in one day would be too much and you wouldn’t get to see much of either island. If you’re only going for the day, I recommend just going to Isla del Sol. Maybe if you spend the night on the island you can stop by Isla de la Luna on the way back to Copacabana the next day.

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

What to Bring

  • Cash — After getting off the boat and before exiting the pier you’ll need to purchase a ticket to access the island for a small fee. I think it’s around 10-15 Bolivianos per person (around $2 USD). Also have enough cash for lunch.
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet Paper
  • Dress in Layers — it’s a bit chilly on the boat in the morning, but hiking on the island was very warm. I changed into a tank top!
How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

View of Lake Titicaca flying from Peru to Bolivia

Where to Eat in Copacabana

You’re at the lake, so order the trout! It’s local and it’s delicious! We got the “menu of the day” at Alax Pacha. It included a soup, which was sort of a chicken noodle soup — so good, the trout, which was amazing, and crepes with ice cream for dessert. I’d go there again in a heartbeat!


How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia

How to visit Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, & the Isla del Sol in Bolivia