2008 Roadtrip La Paz to Copacabaña, Bolivia

We left La Paz at 11:40 am, after getting gas (and a little lost). We arrived in Copacabaña 3:10 pm (165km). There was very little traffic and the road was good enough. We paid tolls twice Bs 2+ 8 = Bs 10. The houses along the road didn't appear to have chimneys even though we were above 3000 masl/10000 fasl and it gets very cold. During that day, it didn't get above 15º C/59º F.

The first view of Lake Titicaca was beguiling, with the Cordillera Apolobama flush against the Peruvian border north of Lake Titicaca. Copacabaña is on the lake at 3800 masl/12467 fasl, between two rather high hills.

We stopped at Hotel Gloria and Hotel Rosario del Lago and both were full. We looked a two others and, because they just had square rooms with no sitting areas, we kept looking. I, of course, was in the car, guarding all of our stuff and Dimitri went looking.

La Cúpula had a room (number 11) that was a bedroom and off of it a glass-enclosed sun room with a gorgeous view of the lake and two comfortable chairs, as well as a hammock. (La Cúpula, Micheel Perez 1-3, Copacabaña Bolivia, web: www.hotelcupula.com Room 11 (with sun room) Bs 241/US$34) The bathroom was off of the sun room.

The hotel had a big gate into a grassy parking area. We were assured that we could leave most of our luggage in the car, locked, with the bikes on top without a worry. Getting the 2 suitcases, the computer bag and the food bags to the room was not an easy proposition because the access to the room was a ladder (and steep). We didn't see it but the guys got our stuff up the ladder and into the room. The handle on my Samsonite came off (again) too.

When we got to Copacabaña in the afternoon, we sat in the sun room to have apéritif with our pita bread, hommos and tzatziki and a bottle of wine we bought from the hotel. The warmth of the sun room and the view was delightful. We also had a view of Copacabaña Beach that looked nothing like the beach in Rio which was named after this one. After apéritif, we had a lake trout dinner in the hotel's restaurant and it was good. We brought one of our heaters and it was warm enough in the restaurant (wearing many layers and a jacket),

The hotel gave us two heaters. We put one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom. In the morning it was about 14º C/57º F and way too cold for us. The water in the bathroom was hot, however, and we decided to stay another night.

We went on a walking tour of town in the morning, had a light lunch and then went on an afternoon tour to Isla del Sol. Lake Titicaca is where the early inhabitants thought many dieties were born and Isla del Sol is where the sun itself is thought to have been born. The boat was slow, very uncomfortable and took 1 and 1/2 hours to get to the island. There are Inca ruins on the island and hiking trails. Mostly though, it's a concept kind of place. Many people on the boat were coming to stay overnight to get the full impact of the island's spirituality. We climbed up the hill to see the fountain which was once thought to be The Fountain of Youth.

We got no spiritual vibes and, to pass the time until the boat went back to Copacabaña, walked to a house that called itself a restaurant. There we had muña tea. It had the stems of a plant that was very similar to thyme. It tasted great. The return trip to Copacabaña seemed interminable and was again uncomfortable. Of course, it only cost Bs 15/ US$2.11 per person, round trip.