We had heard crossing the Bolivian border can be challenging so we came overly prepared with every piece of documentation we thought we may need. To our surprise, border formalities were a breeze and the officials were pretty friendly and had a good sense a humor. The only downside was the whopping $135 visa fee only Americans need to pay – I guess that’s what we get for burning all of their coca plants in the 80s!
Once our bus pulled into Copacabana, we found our way to Hotel La Cúpula – our home for the next couple of days. We entered the courtyard and checked in at the reception. We were led to our suite which included not one, but two comfortable beds, a wood-burning fireplace, full kitchen, private bathroom and large lawn area. Ahhh, comfort! La Cúpula is set on the hillside away from other hotels where its restaurant, rooms and multiple gardens overlook Lake Titicaca. The hotel grounds and views are simply the best in town! Lake Titicaca (pronounced just as R-rated as it looks) is the highest navigable lake in the world and is the largest lake in South America spanning both Peru and Bolivia. As soon as we were settled, we were off to explore the waterfront.That evening, we were lucky enough to join Martin Stratker, owner of La Cúpula and its sister hotel Las Olas, for dinner. It was the first time in six weeks that we indulged at a restaurant that required a reservation and was adorned with candlelight (so please excuse the dark photos) and white tablecloths! I had the trout fresh from Lake Tititcaca and Chris had the chicken milanesa. We washed it down with a few Paceñas and several scoops of ice cream – everything was delicious! We talked with Martin about his hotel properties, life in Bolivia, and his upcoming sculpting and construction projects. He is truly a creative mind and an extremely generous and hospitable person, not to mention a very hard worker! He also gave us advice for visiting Isla del Sol, a neighboring island on Lake Titicaca, the next day. After closing down the restaurant, we retired back to our room where a crackling fire was made for the evening.
We awoke to a beautiful rainbow outside of our window the next morning.We purchased boat tickets to Isla del Sol from the staff at La Cúpula. Tickets were much cheaper than buying them on the waterfront and without the hassle of haggling with the locals. Once on board, we were off to explore the island for the day.We took the local boat to the northern part of the island and hiked for four hours until we reached the small, colorful village on the south end. The lake is so blue and so vast you could easily mistake it for the ocean.The hike was gorgeous and the weather was beautiful – they call it Isla del Sol for a reason! Many people opt to stay a night on the island but we took a boat back to our comfy hotel for the evening.
The next morning, Martin took us on a tour of Las Olas, his other hotel property. The rooms at Las Olas are in high demand and for good reason – they are amazing! Each room (seven in total) is completely unique, hand-crafted and has amazing views of the lake. They have stain-glass windows, unique wooden floors, full kitchens, hammocks and natural plants growing within the rooms and bathrooms . Martin designs and decorates each suite himself and continues to build additional rooms based on new ideas and concepts he envisions.Copacabana is often a quick stopover from Peru to Bolivia or vice versa for many travelers. However, the quaint lakeside town offers plenty to do and should be a planned destination on your next trip to Bolivia. Next time you are in Copacabana, visit La Cupula or Las Olas – you will not be disappointed (just be sure to book in advance)!
Disclosure: Although we received complimentary accommodations and services in exchange for our review of Hotel La Cupula, these opinions and thoughts are our own.