Each day, backpackers in South America are using local buses and crossing borders between different countries. The border between Peru and Bolivia is no exception to that.
A popular backpacker connection is the trip from Puno to Copacabana by bus. During this journey, travelers are crossing a border, while never leaving sight of the beautiful Lake Titicaca, which belongs to both Peru and Bolivia.
The trip itself is pretty short, comfortable, and there are multiple ways to do it.
So let’s dive into the specifics.
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Option 1: public bus from Puno to Copacabana
Catching a bus from Puno to Copacabana in the bus terminal of Puno isn’t difficult.
There are multiple operators serving this line and you have quite a bit of choice when selecting your bus for this journey.
- Cruz del Sur
- Trans Titicaca
Cost for this trip
For this journey, there’s a variety of buses. Some are more luxurious than others, so they might charge more.
We don’t recommend paying more for a luxurious bus, as the trip is pretty short and easy.
The price varies from 6 to 11 $ depending on the bus company and level of comfort.
Good to know
Some small details won’t be shared with you by the bus companies in advance, so we’re going to share them with you.
Looks may deceive
Ticket sellers will show you images of their buses. Keep in mind that these pictures might just as well be several years old.
They tricked us like that!
The bus in the picture looked perfectly good, but the actual bus was almost falling apart. We could still see the resemblance, but that was about it! They used to be luxurious buses… a decade ago!
If you were happy with the bus you caught in Puno, you’re probably in for a surprise.
At the Bolivian border, our bus suddenly disappeared and was replaced by an even worse model than the one we had before.
Luckily, the last part from the border into Copacabana is very short.
Option 2: get tickets for a tourist bus
With a tourist bus, we mean the hop on – hop off buses, which are pretty popular and convenient for South America.
In these buses, you won’t meet locals or get accustomed to the local culture. They do provide a safe and convenient method to travel around the country or continent.
Tourist bus companies
- Bamba Experience
- Peru Hop
- Bolivia Hop
- Green Toad Bus
Cost of this trip
The cost of this trip is difficult to calculate. With these hop on hop off passes, you get to pay you pass for the entire journey at once.
After that, you can board any of the buses on your journey.
General information for this trip
- The distance from Puno to Copacabana is 142 km. So it’s not that far. The journey could be done in less than 3 hours, without counting time for the border crossing.
- Note that there’s a 1 hour time difference between Peru and Bolivia.
- Trip distance: 142 km
- Trip duration without border formalities: 2, 5h
- Trip duration with border formalities: 3 – 4 hours
- Border crossing office: Kasani
- Bus terminal Puno: Terminal Terrestre Puno
- Bus terminal Copacabana: Buses just stop in the street
Entrance fees and visa requirements
Exit fee for Peru
- There’s no exit fee for Peru, although officials may try to charge you one.
- Overstaying your Peru granted stay costs 1 US dollar fine per day.
Visa requirements for Bolivia
- You need to have a valid international passport
- US citizens require a paid visa to enter Bolivia
- Residents of Bulgaria, Malta, Cyprus, and Romania need a free visa to enter Bolivia
- Other travelers: no visa required for most citizens
Entrance fee for Bolivia
Aside from necessary visa requirements for certain nationalities, the entrance for Bolivia is free. So there’s no entrance fee.
Duration of your stay in Bolivia
Conclusion: Puno to Copacabana by bus
The journey from Puno to Copacabana is relatively easy to do on your own.
Before you venture off on your own, try to gather more information about bus travel in South America.
If you’re in doubt about traveling alone on this journey, you can always get one of the different passes with a hop on hop off bus. This way, you will be surrounded by like-minded travelers who are doing the exact same thing you’re doing, together.
Another option is to join a tour group with a travel agency to explore more of South America. If you’re planning to conquer larger parts of South America, we definitely recommend this 39-day tour from Rio de Janeiro to Lima.
Check out more about what to do in Copacabana!