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How to Get the Bus From La Paz to Copacabana

Getting the bus from La Paz to Copacabana is relatively straightforward. 

It’s the only way to get from La Paz to Copacabana as there’s no nearby airport. But there are lots of different options available. 

This can make it pretty confusing trying to choose the right La Paz – Copacabana bus for you.

Your decision will likely come down to three key factors. Cost, how long the journey takes, and comfort. 

view of Copacabana Bolivia through arch

However, another consideration should be where you’re heading to afterwards. If you plan on going across the border into Peru then there’s one option that you should definitely consider.

This post runs through everything you need to know about getting the bus from La Paz to Copacabana. It covers the three main options, and how to choose the best bus company for your needs. 

Plus you’ll get the lowdown on safety, what to expect from the journey, and even where to stay when you get to Copacabana.

Let’s dive in!

Bus From La Paz to Copacabana – Direct By Coach

Departs from: Terminal de Buses La Paz or Hotel / Hostel Pickup

Arrives to: Various Locations

Journey Duration: 4-5 hours

Cost: Between 25 – 130 BOB ($3.65 – 19USD , £3 – 15.25GBP)

There are various coach companies that run a daily bus from La Paz to Copacabana. The majority go from the main bus station in town, the Terminal de Buses at the top of Avenida Peru. The best ones offer pickup from your hotel or hostel in central La Paz.

Departures start at around 7.30 and the last one departs at around 13:30. You should definitely book online to secure tickets in advance.

Coaches vary wildly in standard in Bolivia. We’ve been on some great ones with fully reclining seats and air con. And we’ve been on some abysmal excuses for coaches. 

The worst of these had a window missing as we were waiting to get on. We watched on in horror as one of the drivers sellotaped it back into place. Yes, I said sellotaped.

Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. The very cheapest bus from La Paz to Copacabana is pretty basic and old. The more expensive ones are more modern.

Route from La Paz to Copacabana

The only company we’d recommend using for this is Turisbus who have a fleet of modern, smaller buses that hold between 9-20 passengers. The price also includes the price of the ferry across the Tiquina Strait – more details on this below. 

They have a 3* rating on Tickets Bolivia, most of the other companies are only rated 1*. They also offer convenient pickup from your hotel / hostel so you don’t have to lug your bags to the terminal.

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Bus From La Paz to Copacabana and Into Peru – The Comfortable Way With Bolivia Hop

Departs from: Hotel / Hostel Pickup

Arrives to: Plaza 2 de Febrero

Journey Duration: 4½ -5 hours

Cost: Between 210 – 1375 BOB ($30 – 199USD , £25 – 160GBP) dependent on final destination

One of the most popular tourist routes from La Paz is to cross into Peru at Lake Titicaca. Many people will either head to Puno or to Cusco, making a stop at Copacabana on route. And of course visiting the incredible Isla del Sol along the way.

If you’re planning on doing something similar, then Bolivia Hop is by far the best option. Their unique offering means you can catch a bus from La Paz to Copacabana, take as long as you want to explore the surrounding area, then jump on another bus across the border. 

This is all included in the price of your one ticket, and there are numerous other additional benefits on top.

Bolivia Hop have pride themselves on the safety of their buses. They all have seatbelts and are part of a modern, well maintained fleet.

view of Copacabana bay from Cerro Calvario

Crossing borders to and from Bolivia is notoriously arduous. However, Bolivia Hop make the whole experience a synch.

You have an English speaking assistant on board each bus to talk you through the process. And they will ensure that your border crossing goes as smoothly as possible.

This includes assistance with filling out forms and visa requirements. Plus if you find yourself in any trouble, from overstaying to corrupt officials, they’ll help negotiate your passage. 

This is the perfect option if you are travelling onwards to anywhere in Peru. There are numerous Bolivia Hop pass options to all of the most popular destinations including Puno, Cusco, Arequipa, and Lima.

You can also buy passes that allow you to stop at all of them if you wish.

Bus From La Paz to Copacabana – The Cheapest Way

Departs from: Parada Cementerio General

Arrives to: Plaza 2 de Febrero

Journey Duration: 3 hours

Cost: 20 BOB ($2.90USD, £2.35GBP)

The cheapest way to get the bus from La Paz to Copacabana is in one of the local minibuses. Contrary to what you will read elsewhere online, it’s also the quickest way to get from La Paz to Copacabana. 

Minibus from La Paz To Copacabana

At just 20 BOB the price is around a tenth of the cost of a tourist coach. However, while it’s way cheaper, it’s a small minibus rather than a large coach.

Leg room is at a premium and it can get pretty cramped. But neither of us are particularly tall so we have no problem with fitting into these seats. 

If you’re 6ft plus then it may be a bit of a squeeze and you may prefer to opt for a larger coach for the sake of your knees.

There are two main places where the mini buses depart from, Cementerio General, or La Terminal Nueva de El Alto in the El Alto area. Since most people stay in the centre of La Paz we’re giving details on the closer of the two.

If you are heading on to Peru after Copacabana we would highly recommend getting a Bolivia Hop pass instead. This takes all of the hassle out of the border crossing, see above for more details.

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How to Get to the Parada Cementerio General in La Paz

The easiest way to get to the Parada Cementerio General is to jump on the teleferico. Get on the red line and head to Ajayuni (Cementerio General). It’s just one stop from the main Central station.

Red line teleferico La Paz

Once you get off the teleferico, head down the stairs and walk towards the cemetery. The quickest way to the parada is to take a shortcut through it.

The entrance is just below the station and easy to spot – it has a few food stalls outside it. Go in the entrance and make your way along the passageway directly in front of you.

La Paz Cementary

At the other side of the cemetery you’ll come to the perimeter fence. Take a right here until you arrive at the main entrance on this side. It’s right in front of a chapel and will likely be the only entrance that’s open.

How to Get to the Parada Cementerio General in La Paz
Directions to the Parada Cementerio General in La Paz

From here head directly across the road to the market which sells flowers and various other funeral related paraphernalia. Cut through the market using the entrance opposite the cemetery gates.

Entrance to La Paz Cementary Flower Market

Once you reach the far side of this tiny market you’ll see the parada on the opposite side of the road. There are likely to be a number of buses lined up both large and small.

Copacabana trufi

The front of the minibus will have a sign saying “Copacabana” in its windshield, but ask the driver if you’re unsure. They will ask you which seats you want to reserve and once you’ve paid, that’s it. 

How is a Mini Bus From La Paz to Copacabana Quicker?

The reason these local buses are quicker is simply because they are far smaller. 

The route runs along windy, mountainous roads meaning the larger buses struggle on the uphills and bends. The agile mini buses, on the other hand, navigate the terrain with ease.

You may have read elsewhere that the minibuses are slower because they stop to pick up passengers along the way. Alternatively you may have read that they take longer because they don’t leave until they’re full. Slightly contradictory right?!

Well in reality both claims have a bit of truth in them. However, neither mean that the mini bus from La Paz to Copacabana are slower.

Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana

Generally the mini buses don’t leave until they’re full, however, this is a really popular route with local travellers. Because of this, the buses fill up pretty quickly and generally leave on schedule, every half hour or so.

They may go a little over the expected departure time, but you definitely won’t be sat around for hours on end. If they do leave with empty seats, they will stop to pick up passengers along the route. The driver’s got to make his money right?

But you’ll be amazed at the speed the driver is able to load passengers and their cargo on. Our bus from Copacabana to La Paz had 4 empty seats when it set off. Each stop took less than a minute.

We still made it back to La Paz quicker than a large coach one of our friends was on which had actually set off earlier than our mini bus. We overtook it within 20 minutes.

This is the best option if you just want to get from La Paz to Copacabana as quickly as possible or you’re on a tight budget.

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Bus From La Paz to Copacabana – Important Info and What to Expect From the Journey 

Here’s everything you need to know about the journey, plus some of the most F.A.Q’s about getting from La Paz to Copacabana.

How Safe is a Bus From La Paz to Copacabana?

Safety is one of the biggest concerns when travelling anywhere in Bolivia by bus. Here’s a rundown on what to expect when travelling by either coach or mini bus from La Paz to Copacabana:

Bolivia Hop From La Paz to Copacabana Safety

The team at Bolivia Hop are dedicated to raising the standard of bus travel safety within Bolivia. Because of this, they make a number of safety guarantees. 

These include that all their buses are less than 3 years old and well maintained. It means their fleet is both modern and safe.

They also promise that seatbelts are provided for every seat, a rarity in Bolivia.

Mini Bus From La Paz to Copacabana Safety

Most of the La Paz – Copacabana mini buses are relatively modern, the ones that we caught were brand new. 

Despite this, it’s quite common in Bolivia for the seatbelts to have been taken out of action. The driver may have either tucked part of them under a seat or they may simply not be there. 

La Paz to Copacabana Safety

It’s really potluck as to whether you get one or not, we did in one direction but not in the other.

The good news is that once you get out of La Paz, there’s very little traffic. This means the chances of an accident involving another vehicle are pretty remote. 

Coaches from From La Paz to Copacabana Safety

You’re unlikely to get seatbelts on the bus from La Paz to Copacabana, but as mentioned earlier, this is pretty standard.

Anyway, the best advice is to check the reviews on Tickets Bolivia before booking. Some companies are much better than others. 

Crossing the Tiquina Strait

The quickest and most direct journey from La Paz to Copacabana involves crossing a small strait within Lake Titicaca. All of the buses take this route and it’s navigated by boat. 

The strip of water is called the Tiquina Strait, and once you reach it you’ll be instructed to get off. The buses go across separately on vehicle barges while passengers must cross by ferry.

Minibus bus crossing Tiquina Strait
Tiquina Strait passenger boat

The boats are relatively small and hold around 30 passengers max. Most companies don’t include the cost of this crossing in the bus ticket price. However, it only costs 2BOB ($0.30USD, £0.23GBP) per person on the boat. 

Once you’re off your bus, walk towards the pier and you’ll see the ticket booth. Once you’ve paid, you’ll hand over your ticket as you walk towards the waiting boat.

Try to have small change on you for this, or at least a small note. People often get upset in Bolivia if you try to pay small amounts with large denominations.

The journey takes about 10 minutes and the water is generally very calm. You meet up with your bus in the square on the other side.

Remember to take all of your valuables off the bus with you just in case. It’s never a good idea to leave passports, wallets, phones etc. unattended.

At either side of the Tiquina Strait there are food stalls selling various delicacies. Trucha (trout), ispi (small, sprat-like fried fish) and other local dishes can be bought to take away. There are also plenty of places to grab a drink or packaged snack.

Food stalls at Tiquana Strait Copacabana

Just don’t take an age getting across and to your bus or minivan though. The drivers don’t always check everyone is onboard.

Onboard Toilets

There is not a single company that provides an onboard toilet for the bus journey between La Paz to Copacabana. This is reportedly due to weight restrictions on the barges crossing the Tiquina Strait.

Because of this, it’s important to get your business done beforehand if you’re at all concerned. There are public toilets at every parada and terminal as well as either side of the Tiquina Strait. You will, as always in Bolivia, have to pay a small fee of 1-2BOB.

La Paz Terminal Fee

Something to bear in mind with the buses from La Paz Terminal is that you’ll need to pay the terminal fee. Usually you’ll do this on the bus, just before it sets off. Someone will come round and sell you a ticket as you’re seated. They cost 2.50BOB per person.

The Scenery

The route between La Paz and Copacabana includes some absolutely knockout scenery. We’d highly recommend trying to bag a window seat and staying awake for its entirety.

You’ll be driving over gorgeous mountain ranges, through interesting villages, and of course there are stunning views of Lake Titicaca.

Where to Stay in Copacabana

We didn’t have much of an idea what to expect from Copacabana Lake Titicaca. However, after spending a few nights there we discovered it’s a really cool town.

Though it’s small, there’s lots to do in Copacabana and it’s definitely worth staying at least a night or two to get to know it. There’s a lot of tourist accommodation of very varying quality. 

view of Copacabana

Copacabana is a very popular destination for both foreign and Bolivian visitors. As a result, the best accommodation tends to get booked up in advance. We missed out on our top choice as we left it too late, don’t get caught out like us, book now.

Here’s our top picks of where to stay in Copacabana Bolivia:

Affordable Luxury: We have two recommendations if you’re looking for a touch of luxury. Both of these get booked up well in advance, so if you don’t have any luck with one you can try the other.

They’re virtually next to each other on the Copacabana hillside and both are stunning to look at. But that’s not where it ends, they’re also the highest rated properties and hands down the best hotels in Copacanaba Bolivia.

Ecolodge Las Olas is one of the most unique looking hotels we’ve ever seen. The buildings are all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes, from seashells to little pixie houses. All rooms come with lake views and private bathrooms. This is the number one hotel in Copacabana.

La Cupula comes in a very close second best. It’s white mediterranean-style domes also stand out in the hillside and the rooms are gorgeous. It’s a great place to kick back and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Midrange: At Hostal Piedra Andina each room has a patio boasting garden views, and being slightly out of town means it’s super tranquil. You can chill in a hammock overlooking the lake for out of this world views. An awesome breakfast is also included in the price with a huge selection to choose from.

Cheap and Cheerful: If you like to be in the centre of the action then Hostal La Casa del Sol is your place. It’s just a couple hundred metres away from many of Copacabana’s main attractions.

The brightly decorated rooms all come with private bathrooms while the gorgeous terrace provides the perfect place to relax and hang out. Definitely one of the best hostels in Copacabana Bolivia.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance!

We never go anywhere without comprehensive travel insurance – and neither should you.

This particularly goes if you’re travelling in countries such as Bolivia where safety standards may not be as high as at home.

World Nomads is our preferred choice for great cover and a no bullshit approach. Plus you can even buy it from the road if you’ve already set off without it.

Grab yourself a quick quote below:

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