Going by bus from La Paz to Copacabana


on: 2022-01-13

by: Oliver Williams

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    04 hours 00 minutes

  • Rating

  • Experience

    sacred religious sites, hiking, cultural museums

  • Best Price

    USD $ 10

  • Maximum comfort or class


  • Departures

    15 Departures Daily

  • Recommended by

    1766 travelers

Price may fluctuate due to seasonal demand and other market-driven and regulatory events.

All about the bus options from La Paz to Copacabana

Isla Luna, Copacabana, Bolivia

Nestled in the stunning Bolivian Andes mountains lie two incredible contrasting destinations that are close to each other.

Many travelers take the bus from La Paz to Copacabana (or the bus from Copacabana to La Paz) to get a full perspective on the rural and metropolitan fullness of the Bolivian highlands.

Copacabana is located on the glistening Lake Titicaca and is famous for its festivals, red-roofed houses, and nearby Incan religious and archeological sites. Only a stone’s throw away from Copacabana is La Paz, Bolivia’s energetic capital and at 3,640m above sea level, the world’s highest city.

Offering endless culture, rich history, and perhaps the most epic mountain views to be had in South America, these two locations beckon you. The best part logistically? You can easily get from one to the other by bus in just four short hours.

So get comfortable, draw in that fresh mountain air and join us now as we roll through exactly how to catch a bus between La Paz and Copacabana in Bolivia, what it’s like and other vital information for border-crossing between Bolivia and Peru.

What are the buses in Bolivia like?

There is a range of options with buses in Bolivia. In some parts of this vast country, you will get the full buffet of luxury buses, private shuttles, trains, and minivans to choose from, especially along the most developed and frequently traveled roads.

However, with both La Paz and Copacabana at altitudes of over 3000m above sea level and interconnected by mountainous roads and a ferry crossing, this route brings you unique experiences to behold. The required ferry crossing makes bus companies prefer to send their smaller-sized coaches so they don’t weigh so heavy on the ferry deck, but this is not always the case.

On this route in particular, there are also buses more geared to tourist groups who charter 12-15-passenger tour vans to make stops at Tiwanaku and other places along the way. In Bolivia, reserved seat numbers are not a common practice, and seats are assigned only when you start to board. But, there’s a good chance you’ll get additional perks like your bus picking you up from your hotel, but this really comes down to which company you go with. More on this later.

How long is the bus ride from La Paz to Copacabana?

In total, the bus from La Paz to Copacabana or the other way around is a 4-hour journey, including the short ferry crossing across the Strait of Tiquina.

You’re probably wondering why there is a ferry so high in the mountains!

Towards the end of the journey, you’ll actually have to disembark the bus. Copacabana is separated from the rest of Bolivia by a thin body of water known as the Strait of Tiquina. Copacabana is actually the only part of Bolivia on the western side of the Strait of Tiquina, and beyond Copacabana lies the open water of Lake Titicaca and then Peru. But we digress...

All buses require that their passengers disembark at the Strait of Tiquina. You have to take your valuables with you and catch a 15-minute ride on a small ferry across the strait. The fee of this ferry is around USD $0.30 and is usually not included in your bus fare, so bring along a few Bolivianos (the local currency) just in case. The bus is carried across the strait on a separate barge and you link back up with it on the other side. Some 45 minutes later, you will arrive in Copacabana!

What is the cost of traveling by bus from La Paz to Copacabana?

There are two take-home points here. 1) Cheap. 2) Consistent.

Honestly, regardless of which bus company you go with or when you go, the standard price for making this journey via bus is USD $10 - $12. The price can vary a little, depending on two factors:

When you go

On some days such as Fridays, Sundays and holidays it gets a little bit more expensive, but even then the fee only climbs by one or two dollars at the most.

When you book

Prices do occasionally spike in the market. Again, with such a low baseline price for tickets from La Paz to Copacabana, it’s highly unlikely that any changing market trends will affect your capacity to afford this trip. Still, when you book further in advance, you’ve locked in your rate and you won’t pay more even if prices rise later down the line.

VIP Service

Generally speaking, the majority of buses running from La Paz to Copacabana run standard services which is where the $10 - 12 price rate sits. However, a few of the newer bus companies actually run special VIP trips for around $30. You can read more about this in our "Best Bus" section further below.

What are the bus schedules from La Paz to Copacabana?

Normally, the buses running from La Paz to Copacabana are consistent, frequent and predictable. This is certainly a relief from what you’d find in many other South American countries like Peru or Ecuador! Normally, the first bus leaves at 6:15 a.m. and the last one goes at 13:30 (or 1:30 p.m.). These departures are scheduled mostly to line up with the ferry schedule.

All that said, changes and cancellations still occur. The easiest way to combat this? Frequently check AndesTransit to keep clued in on the current bus times. You can get a day by day breakdown of the latest bus schedules, prices, and operators.

We frequently check in with our bus operators and update all changes to schedules, often a long time before such updates would ever be published on the bus operators’ own websites! What’s more, we take every customer's order personally. We absolutely promise to check and then double-check the schedules before we send you an irreversible ticket. That way if something is changing at the moment (highly unlikely), we reach out to you personally with options to adjust or back out, free of charge.

Where can I book bus tickets from La Paz to Copacabana?

There are two options here, but simply put, the first one is by far the best.

Option 1: Online

In years gone by, online purchasing has dramatically taken over as the most advantageous way to buy and order just about everything one can think of. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the same applies to book bus tickets. There are several great perks to this:

-- Firstly, by purchasing your tickets online, you get them much further in advance than you can if you buy them in person. In fact, AndesTransit supports payments globally, so you can book them before you even get into the country!

-- Secondly, you don’t have to deal with the stress of getting to the destination of the ticket booths, waiting in an arduously long queue; which once you finally find yourself at the front of, could continue to be a stressful experience if your linguistic capacities prevent you from explaining what you want. Many times requests are lost in translation and passengers are off to the wrong destination before they know it.

-- Thirdly, you’ll always get better seats when you book online because you are guaranteed to be buying your ticket before all those suckers who bought their tickets in person! Because of this, your tickets will also be cheaper in that as more tickets are bought, the supply goes down and the demand goes up, and so the rates also go up for all the desperate folks standing in line at the terminal.

By booking online, you will undoubtedly save time, money and stress. Simply by clicking the Reserve Now button at the top of this page, you can have an afternoon’s feat accomplished in less than a minute...all from the comfort of your own couch, bed or toilet. Or, while waiting at the airport.

In the end, it’s totally your choice and we’re not here to judge or try to change your mind, so if you do want to buy your ticket in person, here’s what you’ll need to do:

Option 2: Buy in Person

Make your way to La Paz’s main bus terminal, or Terminal De Buses La Paz, located at the top of Avenida Perú. Be prepared to wait in a long queue. Also, it’s highly advisable that you buy your ticket at least several days before you’re planning on making the journey, to ensure spaces don’t fill up and you get a good seat, preferably next to a window!

What is the best bus from La Paz to Copacabana?

You’ll notice that after clicking the Reserve Now button above, there are many bus companies to choose from, so how do you know which one is best? We make it easier for you by separating our Best Bets list from the rest of the pack in two separate tabs, but we’ll narrow it down even further by telling you our two best picks:

Turisbus has a fleet of tourist-style coaches that are comfortable and modern and seat between nine and twenty passengers. Their price also includes the boat ride across Tiquina Strait, plus they will pick you up from your hotel or hostel. With smooth driving, multilingual staff and "comfort stops" along the way between La Paz and Copacabana, they are our number one option.

Titicaca is a great second choice. Although you have to pay for the boat ride across Tiquina Strait separately and some of their buses are a little older, they are still a friendly and reliable service, while usually having some multilingual staff present.

And there you have it! Everything you need to know about the bus ride of a lifetime between the two legendary travel destinations of La Paz and Copacabana in Bolivia. You can reserve a seat on either of these carriers, plus review additional carriers, by just clicking the Reserve Now button above.

Things to do in Copacabana

Blessing of the cars in Copacabana, Bolivia

Wedged between two hills, Copacabana is a small littoral town edging Lake Titicaca. The name of the town itself means "View of Lake" in the Aymara language. This picturesque town has been held in high regard since the time of the Incas and is surrounded by several important pre-Columbian religious sites. But, the Spaniards were the first to make the town itself a location for pilgrimage. The faithful still come here from far away to participate in important feast days. Apart from the religious festivities, there are many other things to do in Copacabana, so let’s take a look at exploring the peaceful town and nearby islands.

#1 - The Blessing of Automobiles

It is not everywhere that you see a car being blessed by a priest, but it is an everyday sight in Copacabana! Vehicle owners from all around the world bring their automobiles here to get them blessed. These vehicles are first decorated with flowers, vibrant banners, and tassels. Then the traditional blessing rituals provide the vehicles divine protection against mishaps.

#2 -Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana

The basilica is a 16th-century Catholic shrine built by the Spanish. Its pristine white façade and domes are decorated with Moorish motifs and azulejos tiles. It houses the statue of the black Virgen de Candelaria in a special room called Camarín, which is the final destination of thousands of pilgrims who make their way here every year. The Christian legend has it that the statue was carved after Mary appeared to save Inca fishermen caught in a storm. It has never been moved since. According to superstition, doing so would result in a devastating flood.

#3 - Sacred Sites in Horca del Inca

On a hill overseeing the lakeside town, Horca del Inca is a venerated site known for its sacred stones. It is believed that these unique rocks were carved by ancestors from the pre-Inca civilizations. Carvings on the rocks include holes and marks made in such a way that the sun’s rays will form different shadows, much like in an astronomical observatory. During the June solstice, or the Aymara new year, locals climb Horca del Inca to predict if the harvest in the coming year will be prosperous.

#4 - Cerro Calvario

It takes only about half an hour from Copacabana to reach the peak of Cerro Calvario. It is the highest vantage point and if you make it on time, you will experience the most spectacular sunset. The trail to the summit begins near Capilla del Señor at the end of the street "3 de Mayo". It then passes through fourteen Stations of the Cross.

#5 - Visit the Sacred Islands of Lake Titicaca

Most of the tourists who pass through Copacabana come here to visit Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna. These are the two most sacred islands of the town, and in fact, pre-date the town. Once inside Copacabana, you will easily find several guided tours that will take you out by boats on Lake Titicaca to see important spiritual Inca sites on both the islands. Along the way, you will find several restaurants that sell delicious trout, so if you like scrumptious fish, take time for lunch!


La Paz and Copacabana both belong to Bolivia, but are two very different worlds from each other. Each reveals a different aspect of the country, its environment, and its traditions. La Paz with its boisterous personality and Copacabana with its more pious character are like two rival siblings united by blood but trying to be as different from each other as possible. A trip to Bolivia without touring either would be incomplete.

Route Map

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it possible to take a boat from Copacabana, Bolivia to Puno, Peru?
Yes, but there is not a public transportation service like a ferry. You would need to arrange a private expedition on a yacht in either Copacabana or Puno and they would have international packages. However, bus service between the two towns is common.
Does the bus fare from La Paz to Copacabana include the ferry ticket?
Generally, no. On higher-end tour packages, the ferry cost is included, but not included with low-cost bus transportation tickets. However, the ferry ticket is no more than a few coins in your pocket.
Do buses go back to La Paz from Copacabana the same day?
You don’t have to commit to a round trip, but yes, there are several bus departures daily from Copacabana to La Paz.
What are the ticket policies?
It depends on the carrier you choose, but their specific policies can be previewed during checkout or in the summaries printed on your ticket email. For a general overview, see the Ticket Policy page.

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