Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar
Across a crowded floor, they worked from 8 till 4…
While the song is certainly catchy, we are not talking about the Copacabana that’s “the hottest spot north of Havana” – we are visiting the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, a small town called Copacabana.
Copacabana, a Lake Titicaca town
This little Copacabana is the Bolivian gateway to the islands of Lake Titicaca. The small resort town have no showgirls that merengue and do the cha-cha, but it has its own unique charm.
Not as popular and well-known among tourists as its Brazilian namesake, this town is surprisingly pleasant despite the obvious set up to attract mass tourism.
The town centre is dominated by the Cathedral, where the faithful Bolivians come and receive blessings on their possessions and to light a candle for prayers. The town square is dotted with vendors selling toys and souvenirs, and the traditional markets buzzing with merchants on the side streets, selling anything from fresh produce to cheap footwear.
The main street heading from the town centre to the beach is lively, lined with food and clothing stores as well as street merchants selling hand crafted jewellery.
For a great view of the town and its surroundings, a trek up the hill of Niño Calvario is recommended. It looks easy, but is actually quite a hike for those not used to the high altitude. However if you can make it, it’s a great spot to watch the sun set over the lake.
Isla Del Sol: Island of the Sun
At the Copacabana beach, you can catch a ferry to the famous Isla Del Sol (Island of the Sun), which is considered a sacred Inca land. The island is composed of rocky harsh terrain and locals depend on tourism to make a living.
The only mean of transport on the island is by foot, but as usual, this is the perfect way to explore the communities and their environment on the island. The view is absolutely beautiful for those who do make it to the top; snow capped mountains attached to the horizon enhances the blueness of the lake and makes a picture perfect combination on a hot sunny day.
After a day exploring Copacabana’s surrounds, we star gaze from the roof top of our hostel. Nearby, a group of teenagers start to sing and dance to music played from makeshift instruments and we bob our heads along to the beat.
We were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?