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Getting There

By Bus -- Buses from La Paz to Copacabana leave from the Cementerio District, not from the main terminal; it costs about Bs15 to get here by taxi from the center of La Paz. Trans "6 de Junio," Plaza Tupac Katari no. 55 (tel. 0102/2455-258), is one of the most reliable bus companies. A one-way ticket costs Bs15; buses depart at 9:30 and 10:30am; noon; and 2:30, 5, 6, 7:30, and 8:30pm. The ride takes 3 hours, including a 3-minute ferry ride (Bs2) across the Straits of Tiquina. Here, you must disembark from the bus and take a ferry across to the other side. The bus is carried over on a separate boat. From the border, frequent service runs to Puno, Peru (Bs10; 2 1/2 hours).

By Guided Tour -- Crillon Tours, Av. Camacho 1233 (tel. 0102/2337-533, or 305/358-5353 in the U.S.; www.titicaca.com), specializes in tours to the Lake Titicaca area. The company owns two of the best hotels in the area -- Inca Utama Hotel & Spa in Huatajata and La Posada del Inca hotel on the Sun Island -- and is the only company that operates hydrofoils on the lake. Because of a business deal meant to protect local businesses, you can't stay at these hotels or use the hydrofoil if you're traveling independently. Crillon's tours are really the best way to see the area; they include excellent English-speaking guides and all transportation.

Getting Around

Copacabana, the largest city in the Lake Titicaca area, is where you'll find the best hotels and travel agencies, as well as some Inca ruins and the famous statue of the Virgen de Copacabana. From here, you can easily take a day trip to the Isla del Sol. Huatajata isn't much of a town -- its only attraction is Inca Utama Hotel & Spa -- but it's only 1 1/2 hours by car from La Paz. So instead of traveling 3 hours to Copacabana, you can spend the night here, and then hop on the hydrofoil for a quick jaunt over to the Sun Island. The hydrofoil also makes stops in Copacabana.

The only way to go from Copacabana or Huatajata to the Sun Island is by boat. From Huatajata, you can also take a hydrofoil to Copacabana or the Sun Island; contact Crillon Tours (tel. 0102/2337-533 or 305/358-5353 in the U.S.; www.titicaca.com) for more information. From Copacabana, nonhydrofoil boats leave around 8:15am and arrive at the Sun Island at 10:30am. The boat returns to pick you up at 4pm. If you want to walk from one side of the island to the other, the ride costs Bs35; if you want the boat to take you around the island, the whole trip will set you back Bs40. If you plan on spending the night on the Isla del Sol, you can catch a boat back to Copacabana at 10:30am. Both Grace Tours, Av. 6 de Agosto 200 (tel. 0102/862-2160), and Titicaca Tours, at the dock at the end of Avenida 6 de Agosto (tel. 0102/862-2060), are recommended tour agencies.

Transturin, on Avenida 6 de Agosto, about half a block up from the beach (tel. 0102/242-2222; www.turismobolivia.com), organizes cruises to the Isla del Sol and to Puno on the Peruvian side of the lake. Day trips to both the Sun Island and Puno cost Bs500. You can also sleep on the boat; overnight trips to the Sun Island cost Bs620 per person.

Visitor Information

The main tourist office is on Plaza 2 de Febrero at the corner of Ballivián and La Paz in Copacabana. The office doesn't have a phone, the hours of operation are sporadic, there are no maps available, and, in general, the staff is of limited help.

Fast Facts: Copacabana

There are several banks on Avenida 6 de Agosto; note that none of them exchange traveler's checks or have ATMs. You'll find a pharmacy on Plaza Tito Yupanqui right across from the Entel office behind the basilica. The post office is on La Paz near the corner of Ballivián. You can take care of all your laundry needs at Hostal Sucre, Murillo 228, near the corner of José P. Mejía. For Internet cafes, try ALF@Net, Av. 6 de Agosto 100, at the corner of Avenida 10 de Julio, and Alcadi, beside the post office in front of the cathedral. Rates are about Bs10 per hour.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.