Loading Map...

La Paz to Puno

Written on: Saturday August 11th, 2007

A journal entry from: Bolivia, Peru, and the Galapagos!

(NOTE: I posted two more journal entries after this one.... just click on the link on the right above this column to view them) 

Today we traveled from La Paz, Bolivia to Puno, Peru along the shores of Lake Titicaca. The lake was a surpise to me. I knew it was at a high elevation (about 12,500 ft), and that it was big (South America's largest), but I had always imagined it to be surrounded by trees and moutains. In reality, it was surrounded by a dry hilly landscape. The landscape was spectacular nonetheless, mostly due to the greenish-blue waters of the lake and the innumerable terraces along the hills. It seemed that every hill that overlooked the lake had been terraced from top to bottom to aid in farming. I can only imagine that it had taken the natives hundreds of years to complete all the terraces.

Our first stop along the lake was to ferry across the Estrecho de Tiquina (Tiquina Straight). We all unloaded from our bus and watched it drive onto a very rickety barge, then we hopped onto a simple wood boat (which had some motor trouble) and puttered across the straight to wait for our bus.

Once back on board, we drove to the Bolivian city of Copacabana (not to be confused with the more famous Brazilian city) for lunch along the shore of Lake Titicaca. The most striking thing about Copacabana was the number of tourists. It seemed as though the number had increased 10 times as compared to the other parts of Bolivia that we had visited thus far. Before getting back on the bus, I wandered off from the group to get a quick glimpse at the city's Moorish style cathedral. There appeared to be some sort of fiesta going on outside the cathedral at the time. Cars and buses were parked in the street and decorated with flowers and confetti (so traffic was halted). People were gathered near their cars and calmly drinking beer and socializing. It was a very odd scene!

Our final stop before Puno was the Bolivian-Peruvian border. We all got off the bus and lined up at Bolivian immigration for our passport stamps. At this point, they left it to us to remain in Bolivia illegally or to wander 200 yards across the Peruvian border where our bus waited. Nobody seemed to really care. Since I didn't want to be left behind, I decided to walk to Peru. Once there, I willingly lined up at the Peruvian immigration office for my passport stamp. Once again, I wasn't forced to do so, I could've just hopped on the bus illegally and hoped not to have any issues while in Peru. It was super odd to have such a loose border crossing, its definitely not what we're used to back in the States.