Crossing of tourists and pilgrims
Located 110km North-West of La Paz (3 hours by bus on asphalted road), on the Titicaca lakeside, Copacabana is at the same time a holiday resort, a place of pilgrimage, and a transit town for tourists visiting Peru or the Island of the Sun.
Buses to Peru (Puno, Cuzco) depart daily at 13h30 from Plaza de Armas.
Boats to the Island of the Sun leave Copacabana harbor at 8:30/09:00. The trip lasts about 1h30. Boats depart at 14h00 from the Island. One can also find private boats (trip to be organized the previous day), but it is more expensive.
There is the possibility of renting bikes in Copacabana (for a tour to the Baño del Inca for example) and pedal boats on the beach.
Religion is ever-present in the city with a splendid cathedral (XVIIth century) of Moresque style, immaculate white, covered with earthenware blue, which contains the statue of the Virgen del Candelario (XVIth century), the Black Virgin of the lake whose sacred character protects the city from flooding. Each year, on August 5th, Copacabana hosts a great pilgrimage in the honor of the Virgin. During weekends, the central square is filled by vehicles decorated with garlands of flowers waiting to receive a blessing from the cathedral priest.
The calvary , which dominates the city, is a very popular place for Bolivian people. The Pagan and Christian cults are mixed, and one can see ceremonies of challa on a small terrace half way to the top. But the Calvary is also a picturesque and healthy walk (allow around 1/2 hour at an altitude of 3900m) offering a magnificent view over a large part of lake Titicaca (with the Peruvian shoreline and Island of the Sun).
Sacred place for the Incas
On another hill overlooking Copacabana, one can can visit the Horca del Inca . It is a place covered by enormous blocks of stone that may have been used as an astronomical observatory during the Inca period. The walk is pleasant, and the sight on the city, the lake and the Calvary are worth the effort.