Everything you need to know for your trip to Copacabana and Isla del Sol

This guide will give you all the information you need in order to plan your visit to Copacabana and Isla del Sol in Bolivia. You will find here bus and boat schedules and suggestions on what to do and where to go.

Bus from La Paz to Copacabana

La Paz to Copacabana by bus takes about 4 hours. Buses leave throughout the day but the last bus to leave from the main terminal leaves at 13:30. There are no night buses to Copacabana because buses need to cross by ferry the strait of Tiquina which closes at night.

Schedule and prices  for La Paz to Copacabana buses:

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price Additional Information
Vicuna Travel Normal 07:30 11:30 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Turisbus Tourist 07:30 11:30 Includes the crossing of Tiquina. Programmed stops to take pictures and pick-up service.
Trans Titicaca Normal 08:00 12:00 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Diana Tour Normal 08:00 12:00 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 17:30 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)

Please note that this is the schedule for formal buses leaving from the main terminal in La Paz. The route between La Paz to Copacabana is also operated by informal transport companies (buses and minibuses) leaving from the General Cemetery in La Paz. These leave every day between 6:00 and 18:00 (depending on the time of year). There is no schedule as they leave whenever they are almost full and stop regularly along the way to drop or pick-up passengers. Because of the irregularity and lack of any guarantees regarding safety, we recommend traveling with an established company to avoid any problems. But they do provide the advantage of being more frequent and flexible. The price is about the same than buses leaving from the main terminal: 20/30 Bs.

View of Copacabana, Bolivia
View of Copacabana from the Calvario – Photo: sunny-upadhyay via Unsplash

Bus from Puno to Copacabana

The Puno to Copacabana bus takes about 4 hours by bus. The journey involves crossing the border at the Kasani office. Depending on the time of day this process can take longer. since the border is closed at night, this trip can only be done during the day.

These two cities, each on the shore of Lake Titicaca but in different countries, offer a very different experience of the lake. Both touristic destinations Puno is a larger city with a more developed tourism industry while Copacabana is smaller and more relaxed. From Copacabana you can visit the Isla de Sol which is perfect for travelers who want to enjoy a more quiet, independent experience.

Schedule and prices for buses from Puno to Copacabana:

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price Additional Details
Trans Titicaca Normal 06:00 11:00 US$ 10.22 Migration in Kasani
Tour Peru Normal 07:00 12:00 US$ 9 Migration in Kasani
Huayruro Tours Semi lie-flat 07:00 12:00 US$ 5.84 Migration in Kasani
Huayruro Tours Lie-flat 07:00 12:00 US$ 7.30 Migration in Kasani
Transzela Inca suite 07:00 10:30 US$ 15.00 Migration in Kasani
Trans Titicaca Normal 07:30 12:30 US$ 10.22 Migration in Kasani
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 18:30 US$ 13.14 Migration in Kasani

A guide to visiting Copacabana

Most people go to Copacabana to visit Isla del Sol, therefore it has the feel of a transit town, but if you take the time there are some interesting sights and things to do around depending on how much time you have.

If you only have a couple of hours in Copacabana, you can walk up the Cerro Calvario for amazing views of the lake (this is especially popular at sunset). The walk up can take 30 minutes to an hour and the hill is easily accessible from Copacabana. Look for the steps to the north of the city. You can also visit the Cathedral of Copacabana and enjoy some trout from the lake.

If you have at least a whole day in Copacabana, you can do a day-hike to Yampupata. This path is not a touristy one, very few people head that way but it provides a nice walk in the countryside with amazing views of the lake on a mostly flat-surface. This is perfect if you want to try high-altitude trekking and do something a bit different. The hike to Yampupata takes about 5 hours and from there you can hire a boat to Isla del Sol or a taxi back to Copacabana.

However, the absolute must-see for people is Isla del Sol. It is possible to go there for the day or even a few hours but ideally one should stay one night on the island to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the scenery. There are also pre-Columbian ruins on the island that are worth visiting.

Where to eat

There is an abundance of places where one can grab a bite in Copacabana, and like in any other touristy, transit town, it is difficult to pick the good places from the less reputable ones. Here are some options we recommend for those who want a quick lunch or a snack to take on their next bus. There are also plenty of more fancy sit-down restaurants where you can try the local trout, local or international dishes.

El Condor & The Eagle Cafe: For a good breakfast. It’s located inside Residencial Paris
They serve hearty homemade Irish bread, beans, porridge and organic coffee.

The Pit Stop: Located across from the main plaza where buses drop and pick passengers, it’s ideal for those who just want something small, tasty and convenient to go. They have empanadas, cake and other quick bites to go.

Pan America: For those who crave pizza. They have a simple menu and a rotating selection of fresh ingredients for toppings.

Where to sleep

Backpackers on a small budget will find very affordable accommodation for 20-30 Bs. These hostels will provide very basic rooms and it is recommended to have a sleeping bag as it gets very cold at night. You can find some of these hostels online but the majority doesn’t have an online presence.

As with food, the range of choice for accommodation is wide and with some research you can find what suits your needs best, there are hotels on the shore of the lake, others near the center, eco-lodges and more luxurious options. Prices range between 4 USD to about 150 USD per person per night.

How to get to Isla del Sol

The only way to get to Isla del Sol is by boat from Copacabana (or from Yampupata if you are hiking there). You can hire a private boat from Copacabana which could cost about 40-100 USD depending on your itinerary or you can take a public shared boat for 5-7 USD.

Please note: When arriving to Isla del Sol you will be charged an an admission fee of 10 bolivianos.

Shared boats leave twice a day at 8:30 and 13:30. The journey takes about 1:30 hours to the south part of the island and 2 hours to the north side. Boats stop on both sides so make sure to specify where you want to be dropped off and, if you are doing the trip in one day, where you want to be picked up.

For the last two years the island was experiencing a conflict between the north and south sides with the northern part being closed off to tourists. It has now been solved and tourists can access both sides again. However, there may be small changes of schedule so please take into account that the times given here might be subject to change.

Isla del Sol, Bolivia
Isla del Sol – Photo: Christopher Crouzet via Unsplash

What to do on Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol is often an underestimated destination where travelers wish they had staid longer. The views, tranquility and absence of motorized vehicles make it the perfect spot to relax between two tours/treks or long bus journeys. We would recommend spending one night there to have time to really appreciate how special this place is.

The north side of the island is where most of the touristic attractions are with pre-Columbian ruins such as: The Rock of the Puma, or Titi Kharka; the Inca Table, supposedly used for human sacrifices; and the Footsteps of the Sun. You first arrive at Cha’llapampa, the town on the northern end of the island. From there you can also visit the Gold Museum which displays Inca treasures discovered underwater off the island. 

In the south side is the Yumani community from where you can take the Inca steps down to the port and stop at the Fountain of Youth. Further down south from Yumani is the temple of Pilcocaina. There are not as many sights in the south side but there are plenty of accommodation choices ranging from backpacker hostels to luxurious eco-lodges. There are also more options for food and drinks there.

Explore: You can follow dirt paths and walk around the island to enjoy the views. Please note that the Cha’llapampa community charges about 15 bolivianos to access its archaeological zone but it is where the best beaches are. Walking around the island is generally safe but be careful of stray dogs.

A popular itinerary for a one-day trip to the island is to get dropped off on the north of the island and walk to the south side. The walk takes about 3 hours so you can take the first boat which arrives at about 10:00-10:30 and catch the afternoon boat leaving the south side at about 15:30.

Relax: Find a quiet spot or pick a room with a view, watch the sunset and enjoy the stars at night. To the west, you can see the Peruvian side where Puno is or you can look to the east and admire the Cordillera Real in the distance.

Isla de la Luna: While on Isla del Sol you can visit the smaller island Isla de la Luna next to it. You can take a boat from Yumani or arrange it from Copacabana. This island is home to the Temple of the Virgins and can be explored in an hour by foot. There is a small village to the south. The island doesn’t have any electricity.

To return to Copacabana you can take the boat back in the morning at around 10:00 or in the afternoon at 15:30. Normally, the buses leaving and arriving Copacabana take the boats schedule into account so you have time to visit the islands and take a bus to your next destination.

From Puno to La Paz by bus

Updated 10 July 2019

Puno to La Paz by bus takes about 8 hours depending on how long it takes to cross the border. There are different options to do this route, directly or via Copacabana. Read on to make the most of this route, and to find the best option for you.

Isla del Sol
Island of the Sun, Lake Titicaca

Puno is one of the highest city in Peru, at around 4,000 meters above sea level. It is on the shore of lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world on the skirts of the Andes mountain range. In Puno you can take a boat trip to the Uru’s floating islands, visit the Cathedral of Puno and visit other archaeological sites.

1. Puno to La Paz by bus

The bus terminal in Puno is located here (see map below). Before boarding the bus every passenger has to pay a terminal tax that has a cost of around 0.4 $us and is not included in the bus ticket. From this bus terminal you can travel to La Paz and other destinations in Bolivia and Peru.

terminal de puno

Direct buses from Puno to La Paz go via the migration center near Desaguadero. Buses won’t stop in the town and the border crossing takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how many buses are ahead of you. The process is fairly straight forward. Get your passport stamped leaving Peru and stamp in again to enter Bolivia. US citizens and other nationalities requiring a visa should make sure to have all the necessary paperwork and documents available before traveling.

Schedule and prices for buses from Puno to La Paz

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price  Additional Information
Tour Peru Semi lie-flat 6:45 15:00 US$ 15 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero.
Trans Titicaca Normal 7:00 15:00 US$ 17.52 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero.
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 22:30 US$ 20.44 Via Kasani. Change of bus iun Copacabana.

2. Puno to Copacabana by bus

The bus from Puno to Copacabana takes about 4 hours by bus. You will have to cross the border a the Kasani migration office.

Copacabana is a smaller and more relaxed town with many cultural and natural tourist attractions. Copacabana offers boat trips, hikes and the best trout in the region, as well as tours to the Islands of the Sun and Moon, where legend says the Inca Empire was founded. If you want to stop there on the way to La Paz, you can easily do so by taking one of the buses below:

Schedule and price for buses from Puno to Copacabana

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price  Additional Information
Trans Titicaca Normal 06:00 11:00 US$ 10.22 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Tour Peru Normal 07:00 12:00 US$ 9.00 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Huayruro Tours Semi lie-flat 07:00 12:00 US$ 5.84 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Huayruro Tours Lie-flat 07:00 12:00 US$ 7.30 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Transzela Inca suite 07:00 10:00 US$ 15.00 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Trans Titicaca Normal 07:30 12:30 US$ 10.22 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 18:30 US$ 13.14 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.

You will notice there are no night trips available. This is because the border closes at 20:00. Also please take into account that there is an hour time difference between Peru and Bolivia.

copa
Copacabana, Bolivia foto: worldynomads.com

Please take into consideration that some buses make several short stops along the way, picking up passengers from local communities who make a living by selling food and beverages on the buses. Since these stops are not in the official itinerary, they may be upsetting for tourists.

There is no proper bus terminal in Copacabana, as it is a very small town, but buses stop at the main square near the bus companies’ offices. Here is the map:

terminal terrestre de copacabana

If you are interested in spending a day or two in Copacabana before continuing your trip, one of the most popular things to do is visit the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol). The boats leave from the dock at 8:30 and 13:30 most days. It takes about an hour and a half to reach Isla del Sol. On the island you will be able to see pre-Columbian ruins and experience the peace and energy of one of the most sacred places of the Inca empire. The boats back to Copacabana leave at 10:30 and 16:00, reaching Copacabana before 18:00.

3. Copacabana to La Paz

Copacabana to La Paz takes about 4 hours. The journey involves crossing the Tiquina strait which costs 2 bolivianos and is not usually included in your ticket. The buses will stop on the shore, passengers will have to cross the strait on boat while the boat crosses on a ferry. Passengers must then wait on the other side for their bus to finish crossing. They will then resume their journey. This takes about 30 minutes. Because it is not possible to cross the strait at night, the last bus to La Paz leaves at 18:30.

Schedule and price for buses from Copacabana to La Paz

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price Additional information
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 17:30 US$ 5.84 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Vicuna Travel Normal 13:30 17:30 US$ 4.38 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Diana Tours Normal 13:30 17:30 US$ 4.38 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Turisbus Tourist 13:30 18:00 US$ 19.00 Includes the crossing of Tiquina. Programmed stops to take pictures and pick-up service.
Trans Titicaca Normal 18:30 22:30 US$ 6.57 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)

If you want to plan ahead, remember to book your tickets through www.ticketsbolivia.com

Have a nice trip!

How to get from Cusco to Puno

Updated: 30 May 2019

Here you will find all the information you need to know about the Route of the Sun between Cusco and Puno and how to get from Cusco to Puno by bus or train.

Discover the Route of the Sun

One of the most overlooked routes for tourists that travel in bus around Latin America is the trip from Cusco to Puno by bus, also known as Ruta del Sol, or Route of the Sun. This trip by land takes you across 386 km of scenic view and ancient Inca sites, connecting two of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru: Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.

There are different options to do this route. You can either take a direct bus which will take about 7 hours, or you can opt for a more touristic option that will let you enjoy the different archaeological and cultural sites along the way but takes about 10 hours and has a higher cost. There is also a luxury train going from Cusco to Puno. Here we will explain in detail these options in order to help decide which one is the best for you.

puno
Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru

 

1. Direct buses from Cusco to Puno

Due to high demand from tourists from all around the world, there are many bus companies that offer this route, especially during the high season (December-January and June-August). The table below shows the times of departure, the different bus companies and prices available for this trip. If your schedule is tight and/or you would rather save money for other sites later on during your trip, this is the best option for you.

Direct options from Cusco to Puno

Bus company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival (estimated) Price in US$ Extra info
Tour Peru Semi lie- flat/lie-flat 22:00 5:00 (+1 day) $13.14/$18.25 Direct service
Transzela Inca suite 8:30 15:30 $15 Direct service
Transzela Inca suite 22:15 5:15 (+1 day) $15 Direct service
Huayruro Tours Semi lie-flat/lie-flat 22:30 5:00 (+1 day) $11.68/$16.08 Direct service
Trans Titicaca Semi lie-flat 22:30 5:30 (+1 day) $14.60 Direct service

The “lie flat” seats recline to 170 degrees, while “semi lie-flat” seats recline to 140 degrees. All buses have air conditioning and bathroom. The buses traveling to Puno depart from Cusco at the main bus terminal, located on Via de Evitamento. See map below:

terminal terrestre de cusco

Puno, on the other hand, is a city with an important cultural and natural heritage, such as the floating islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca, one of the most important tourist attractions in Peru and Bolivia. The city of Puno is also an important passage point between Bolivia and Peru, and tourists traveling between the two countries are bound to pass through on the way to or from Copacabana or La Paz. Buses arrive in Puno at the bus terminal, located on Primero de Mayo.  (See map below).

terminal de puno

2. What to see along the Route of the Sun

The route from Cusco to Puno goes through scenic landscapes, Inca ruins and archaeological sites worth visiting. Most direct buses leave at night which won’t let you appreciate the scenery around you. If you just visited Machu Picchu it is a logical continuation of you trip and you can do so with a tourist bus service which includes stops in each of the major location, an English-speaking guide, and lunch. 

Bus-trip-from-Puno-to-Cusco_map

Andahuaylillas (3,122 masl): Sometimes referred as the Sistine Chapel of America, the church of San Pedro Apostol de Andahuaylillas was built by the Jesuits in the 16th century. It was built on top of an Inca sacred site.

Raqchi (3,175 masl):  Here you can visit the Wiracocha temple built by the Inca in honor tof their god Wiracocha. The temple is a great construction .

La Raya (4,338 masl): La Raya Pass offers stunning scenery as the highest point in the trip. The buses will stop here to allow passengers to enjoy the view and take photos.

Pukara (3,575 masl): Pukara is an ancient cultural center, dated as early as 1,800 BC. This was the first large urban center in the region. The archaeological site also gave its name to what some archaeologists refer to as Pukara culture.

Touristic options from Cusco to Puno

Company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival (estimated) Price in US$ Extra info
Inka Express Bus 7:00 17:30 $65 Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
Wonder Peru Expedition Bus 7:00 17:30 $55 Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
PeruRail Titicaca Train 7:10 17:30 $265  Lunch

Inka Express stops in the following sites: Andahuaylillas, Raqchi, Marangani (for the buffet lunch), La Raya and the Museum of Pukara. Buses leave Cusco from their private terminal located Avenida Alameda Pachacuteq 499.

Pukara, Peru
Pukara, Peru –  By David Stanley from Nanaimo, Canada via Wikimedia Commons

Wonder Peru Expedition offers the following itinerary:

Departure from Cusco 7:00
1st visit 8:10 Andahuaylillas 35 min
2nd visit 10:20
Raqchi
45 min
Buffet lunch 11:20 Lunch 50 min
Photos
13:00
El Paso La Raya 10 min
3rd visit 14:30 Pucara 35 min.
Photos 14:55 Kalassaya 10 min
Arrival in Puno 17:30 End of trip

Wonder Peru Expedition buses leave from their private bus terminal located Avenida 28 de Julio R-2-1.

3. The luxury experience: PeruRail Titicaca

Peru Rail Titicaca offers a luxury experience in their train from Puno to Cusco, travelers can enjoy unrivaled service aboard a beautiful train, dining in 1920s-style Pullman carriages and absorbing breathtaking landscapes. The train has open-air observation cars ideal for capturing unique panoramas.

The journey in train lasts approximately 10 hours 30 minutes. At the start of the journey, passengers are welcomed at the Wanchaq Station in Cusco where local musicians will provide background music as you board the train. There are two dining cars with the finest gourmet food and afternoon tea.

Departures:  Sunday, Wednesday and Friday

Cost: Starting at 245 USD

Tickets Bolivia offers the sale of tickets online for traveling between Cusco and Puno. The online tickets at the best prices, and with the most reliable companies offering the service. Have a great trip!

Travel by land from Cusco to La Paz

Cusco to La Paz or Cusco to Copacabana to La Paz or Cusco to Puno to La Paz?

Here you will find all the information you need to know to go from Cusco to Puno-Copacabana-La Paz. We will also help you choose between Puno or Copacabana and provide you with all the bus and train information to plan your journey.

If you are traveling from Peru to Bolivia, you probably are going from Cusco to La Paz. The easiest and cheapest way to do this journey is by bus. But there is another reason to choose bus travel over plane for this itinerary. The journey from  Cusco to La Paz by bus goes via the Lake Titicaca where you can decide to break your trip and visit Puno or Copacabana. After Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca is one of the most famous and popular holiday destination in South America. It’s the highest navigable lake in the world and provided some of the most beautiful sunsets and views you can imagine.

Here we will help you decide what is the best itinerary for your trip and how to get there.

1. How to get directly from Cusco to La Paz by bus

Direct buses from Cusco to La Paz leave in the evening, after 22:00 hours, in order to reach the Desaguadero border in the morning when it opens thus avoiding lines.

Buses leave from the main terminal in Cusco located here. The journey takes about 14 to 16 hours depending how long it takes to cross the border. The bus goes via Puno where it stops briefly.

Direct bus schedule from Cusco to La Paz

Bus companySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Trans SalvadorLie-flat 3 rows22:0013:00 (+1 day)$24.09 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Tour PeruSemi-lie flat22:0015:00 (+1 day)$29.00 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Nuevo Continente InternacionalLie flat22:3014:00 (+1 day)$26.28 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
640px-024_People_Uros_Islands_of_Reeds_Lake_Titicaca_Peru_3075_(14995322808)
Uros Floating Islands – Photo: bobistraveling via Wikemedia Commons

2. Puno or Copacabana, which one is better?

A common decision that travelers who want to see Lake Titicaca have to make is to choose between Puno, on the Peruvian side of the lake, or Copacabana, on the Bolivian side. Both options are worth exploring but sometimes due to time constraints, it’s one or the other.

Why Puno?

Puno is a good sized town on the shore of the lake with archaeological sites nearby and where you can learn about colonial history and stay in the homes of the people native to the area:

  • Visit the Catedral de Puno, an 18th-century Baroque cathedral that towers over the city center.
  • Museo Municipal Carlos Dryer: The museum holds a solid selection of regional artifacts and textiles, including a collection of mummies with deformed skulls.
  • Uros Floating Islands: Founded by the Uros people, the islands have been artificially made from the native totora reed. The Uros meticulously maintain their traditional homes and welcome visitors.
  • Amantani Island: Further away than the Uros Islands, Amantani Island provides a fascinating and authentic insight into local indigenous culture. Tourists can choose to spend a night there thanks to community-run initiatives which will allow you stay in a family home.
  • Another island worthy of a visit is Taquile. Smaller yet more developed, the island is famous throughout Peru for its textiles. You can also visit archaeological sites and enjoy breathtaking views of the lake.
  • Back on the mainland, Sillustani is an intriguing pre-Inca burial ground. The tombs, which are built above ground in funeral towers called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Qulla people, who were conquered by the Inca Empire in the 15th century.

Why Copacabana? 

Copacabana is known for its mystique and beauty, and for the best trout you’ll ever eat. It’s smaller and more quiet than Puno but has a unique charm and allows for some small hikes around the lake.

If you don’t have much time and want to make the most of your visit, you can choose one or several of these options:

  • Climb Cerro El Calvario: A 30 minutes-walk up the hill to panoramic views of the lake. It is a popular spot to watch the sunset.
  • Spend a night on Isla del Sol: One of the most popular things to do when you are in Copacabana is visit the Sun Island. The boats leave from the dock at 8:00 and 13:30 every day. It takes about an hour and a half to get to the island. On the island you will be able to see Incan ruins and experience the peace and energy of one of the most sacred places of the Incan empire. It is a very picturesque place where one can enjoy panoramic views of the lake, sights of the Cordillera Real, and hikes trough ancestral terracing and Pre-Columbian ruins.
  • Moon Island: Legend has it that this is where Viracocha (the Inca Creator deity) commanded the rising of the moon. It is a tiny island located near the Sun Island on Lake Titicaca, it is home to the ruins of the Temple of the Virgins. Hiking the entire island takes about an hour.
  • Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana: A 16th-century Spanish colonial church that houses the image of the Virgen de Copacabana.

The verdict

Both cities are transit places to go visit more picturesque sites on or near the lake. Copacabana is more relaxed than Puno but has less to offer in terms of cultural and touristic activities, and is smaller in size. Isla del Sol is less developed but, being free of cars, and protected by the local communities, it is a peaceful place to enjoy nature and amazing views of the lake. On the other hand, the Urus Floating Islands, near Puno will offer a different experience where tourists can stay in traditional houses and learn about the culture of the area. The choice will depend on each one’s personal preference, Puno and Copacabana could either be skipped but generally it is worth spending at least one night on an island on the lake.

640px-Copacabana_-_panoramio_(10)
View of Copacabana

3. Getting to Puno

To do the route from Cusco to Puno, also known as Ruta del Sol (Sun Route), there are two main options. The first one is to take a direct bus that takes about 7 hours. The second option is to take a tourist bus or train that will make stops along the way and provide guided explanations on the different sites.

Direct options from Cusco to Puno

Bus companySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Tour PeruSemi-lie flat/lie flat22:005:00 (+1 day)$13.14/$18.25Direct service
TranszelaInca suite8:3015:30$15Direct service
TranszelaInca suite22:155:15 (+1 day)$15Direct service
Huayruro ToursSemi-lie flat/lie flat22:305:00 (+1 day)$11.68/$16.08Direct service
Trans TiticacaSemi-lie flat22:305:30 (+1 day)$14.60Direct service

Touristic options from Cusco to Puno

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Inka ExpressBus7:0017:30$65Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
Wonder Peru ExpeditionBus7:0017:30$55Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
PeruRail TiticacaTrain7:1017:30$265 Lunch

From Puno, there are direct buses to La Paz and Copacabana (see below).

4. Getting to Copacabana

Buses from Cusco to Copacabana usually involve a stop or a change of bus in Puno. Buses from Puno to Copacabana are then direct. The border crossing point is Yunguyo-Kasani. Stories of tourists being scammed have been reported at this border point, you can read our blog on how to avoid and deal with scams when traveling by bus in South America.

Isla de la Luna, Bolivia
Isla de la Luna – Photo: Chtiwiki via Wikimedia Commons

Direct options from Puno to Copacabana by bus

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Trans TiticacaNormal bus6:0011:00$8.76Migration in Kasani
Trans TiticacaNormal bus7:3012:30$8.76Migration in Kasani
Trans TiticacaNormal bus13:3018:30$11.68Migration in Kasani
TranszelaInca suite7:0010:00$11Migration in Kasani
Huayruro ToursSemi-lie flat/lie flat7:0012:00$7.30Migration in Kasani
Tour PeruNormal bus7:0012:00$9Migration in Kasani

5. Getting to La Paz via Puno or Copacabana

Whether you are leaving from Cusco, Puno or Copacabana, there are direct buses for each route. Copacabana to La Paz takes about 4 hours. The journey involves crossing the Tiquina straight, which costs 2 bolivianos, a cost which is not usually included in the bus ticket. Buses can’t cross at night so buses don’t leave after 18:30.

If taking a direct bus from Cusco or Puno, migration takes place at Desaguadero.

Most buses to La Paz arrive at the main bus terminal on Uruguay Avenue. Tourist buses sometimes drop passengers at their hotels. This is the case for companies such as Turisbus and Bolivia Hop.

Direct buses from Puno to La Paz

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Tour PeruSemi-lie flat6:4515:00$15Migration in Desaguadero
Trans TiticacaNormal bus7:0015:00$14.60Migration in Desaguadero

Direct buses from Copacabana to La Paz

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Diana TourNormal bus13:3017:30$4.30Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)
Trans TiticacaNormal bus13:3017:30$5.11Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)
Vicuna TravelNormal bus13:3017:30$4.38Does not include the boat cost in Tiquina (2Bs)
TurisbusTourist bus13:3018:00$19.00Pick-up from hotel.

Includes crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)

Trans TiticacaNormal bus18:3022:30$5.84Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)

Please take into consideration that some buses make several short stops along the way, picking up passengers and sometimes women from local communities who make a living by selling food and beverages on the buses. Since these stops are not in the official itinerary, they may be upsetting for tourists.

Another option to travel from Cusco to La Paz and take the time to explore Puno and/or Copacabana would be to travel with Bolivia Hop which offers passes to hop-on and hop-off in both cities and comes with some optional tours. You can book online any of the buses presented above as well as the Bolivia Hop Cusco to La Paz pass.

Please also note that the bus schedules are subject to change by the bus companies and that these are not an exhaustive list, we’ve selected the most reliable an safest bus companies for your convenience. More options exist at the bus terminals with more informal bus companies that cannot be booked online.

Book your bus and train tickets online at www.ticketsbolivia.com.

Take the train to Tiwanaku and Guaqui on Lake Titicaca

The central train station in La Paz has become a monument to the distant memory of train travel. This experience today feels lost for the people who live in the city. However, few people know that the Andean Railway Company (FCA) offers a tourist trip by train to the towns of Tiwanaku and Guaqui on the second Sunday of each month. Transportation is roundtrip starting in the morning from the city of El Alto and returning the same date at night. This service allows you to visit two distinctive tourist attractions of La Paz: Tiwanaku and Lake Titicaca.

To get to the starting point of the tourist train from the city of La Paz, we recommend taking a cable car to El Alto, from there you can take a radio taxi to the stop point of the train known as the Ingavi Regiment; This particular service has a cost of around 15 Bs. You can also get to the departure point of the train by taking a public transport service from the 2nd street of La Ceja in El Alto, any minibus that goes to Santiago II and the road to Oruro takes you to the Ingavi Regiment. You will notice that you are in the right place the moment you see the train parked at the center of a paved avenue. There you will see FCA service personnel who help people board the right car with your purchased tickets.

The train has three different types of wagons: Popular at 20 Bs., Saloon at 40 Bs. And Executive at 80 Bs. The main difference between the wagons are the seats; The executive car has reclining seats. All prices only include transportation service. On the same train, passengers can board the dining car for a breakfast while they arrive at their first stop.

Train to Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku is a pre-Inca archaeological city located near Lake Titicaca. This tourist center attracts a lot of attention due to the technological level reached by the ancient Tiwanacotas considering that they lived there since 1500 a.C. coming to be formed in the spiritual and political center of the Tiwanacota empire around the year 200 AD. The maximum expression of their culture is shown in their ceramic work of precise cuts and characteristics, the various ceremonies they performed in the stone pyramids they built and the characteristic large monoliths carved from huge rocks.

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You arrive in Tiwanaku about two hours after the departure of the train. There you must buy an entrance that allows you to visit two museums and two archaeological sites of this pre-Inca empire. The train stops around an hour so everyone has time to visit these places. The price for this entry is 15 Bs. for people of Bolivian nationality and 100 Bs. for foreigners.

Tiwanaku, Bolivia
Map of Tiwanaku, Bolivia

We recommend you visit two of these four places due to the reduced time you have and taking into account the best that Tiwanaku has to offer. First, we recommend you visit the Tiwanakota museum behind the ceramic museum. There you can find the Benet monolith, named after its discoverer, as well as learn its history. You can also see other smaller monoliths. After that, we recommend a visit to the archaeological site across the street where you can see the great pyramid of Akapana, the Semi-subterranean Templete and the Temple of Kalasasaya with the famous Puerta del Sol, as well as other ceremonial spaces.

Train to Guaqui

Guaqui, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
Lake Titicaca

The trip to Guaqui lasts an hour departing from Tiwanaku. Guaqui is a port town from where the multipurpose catamaran ship of the Bolivian Naval Force departs. This vessel has a capacity for 120 people and takes a walk on Lake Titicaca. The ride costs 40 Bs. Extra.

This municipality is becoming increasingly tourist thanks to this route by train. In Guaqui you can visit museums that show the history of Lake Titicaca and the customs of the Chiripa culture. You can also visit the main square and its church which are at 15 minute walk from the port.

Travel Bolivia by train

The return takes about three and a half hours. Once in El Alto you can take the purple cable car back to La Paz.

Visit Tickets Bolivia to buy your tickets online today.