Cusco, Perú to Copacabana, Bolivia and the Kasani Border Crossing

Cusco, Perú to Puno

We arrived at Cusco’s Bus Station at 7am hoping for an early bus which would take us across the border to Copacabana in Bolivia. Alas, it was not meant to be as the first bus we could get on was the 8.45am S/.35 journey with San Luis for the 8 hour journey to Puno. You also have to pay a S/.1.30 tax to leave Cusco’s bus station (queue up at the TAME window in the middle of the station). This was a very scenic journey so I’d definitely recommend trying to get the first seats upstairs so you have a great panorama. We saw plenty of snow capped mountains, shaven llamas and those going au natural 🙂 Women get on the bus selling bread just outside Cusco – a lovely German girl bought an enormous bag and shared some with us – so tasty and wholegrain, which is a massive deal as it’s pretty rare here! We passed this absolute hellhole of a town called Juliaca. I have never seen bigger potholes in my life (and remember I’m from Ireland). We were praying it wasn’t Puno. A guy came up to the front of the bus carrying a huge rock and our conductor and bus driver actually got out to fist-fight him and wrestle him to the ground. Insane. So anyway, Lake Titicaca eventually reveals itself coming into Puno (8 hours later). Even though Puno isn’t the prettiest of places you can’t help but admire the lake on the outskirts of town – just next to the bus terminal too. We caught a S/.5 mototaxi to the centre of town and stayed in a random little hostel we found. The heavens absolutely opened that evening so we didn’t see much of Puno, just a quick gander at the Plaza de Armas (yep, another one) and cathedral. We had a pretty lousy dinner at Mojsa on the plaza and retreated to the freezing temperatures of an evening in Puno. We may have used the hairdryer to keep warm…


Views on the way to Puno

Puno, Perú to Copacabana, Bolivia via the Kasani Border Crossing

At 7am the next morning we hopped on a tourPERU bus (we had bought tickets the day before) for S/.25 per person to get ourselves to Copacabana in Bolivia. You need to pay another departure tax of S/.2 at Puno’s bus station. We decided to go with tourPERU as I’d read some positive reviews and they would take us across the border into Bolivia. The conductor on the bus gave us some Bolivian Immigration forms to fill out so we wouldn’t have to be bothered with this in situ at the border. Handy. We pulled up at a Casa de Cambio or currency exchange office about 3 hours into the journey. We were told we needed to have some Bolivianos (BOB) to cross the border – we actually only needed 1BOB (about 20c) and I don’t have one iota why we needed this. Perhaps a tip? Random. So we had to queue up across the road from the Casa de Cambio to get our exit stamps from Peruvian Immigration. This took 2 hours. Hoards of buses and 2 immigration officials. Such fun! No bribing either which was lovely. Once we had out exit stamps we walked up a little ways to an arch which marks the Bolivian side of the border. The bus took our bags through for us so no need to lug these around – we could see the bus at all times too so we felt safe enough leaving our belongings in the hold. Half an hour of a queue at Bolivian Immigration for our entrance stamp and we were on our way to Copacabana, 8km from the border. We arrived at a bit of a ramshackle town so quickly decided to purchase some tickets for the 1.30pm boat to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca (20BOB per person). Bolivia is an hour ahead of Perú so chilling in KM0 Café until 1.45pm thinking it was an hour earlier wasn’t a great idea…still though we were fine – the boat left at 2.10pm. I’d definitely have to describe the Bolivians as relaxed…


Casa de Cambio at the border


Queuing for our Peruvian exit stamp


Bye bye Perú!


Bolivia’s in there


Queuing for our Bolivian entrance stamp

Next stop: Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia


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