Crossing the border: Puno to La Paz

Our final days in Peru were spent cycling around Lake Titicaca. The first glimpses of the lake were mainly of reeds but the views improved as we headed towards Bolivia. We pensively followed the progress of storms around us, hoping they would not come our way.


We enjoyed a tour of Juli’s Plaza de Armas on the front of Bremma’s tandem….


…. checking out the local thatching standards along the way.


After a final blat along the altiplano, we finally reached the border. There was no jail time for overstaying our visa but we did have to pay $1 for every extra day, plus s/25 for the pleasure of the experience. As usual, the border control officials were not open to any humour of any kind and documents were processed without even the peep of a smile. After 3 1/2 months in Peru we were very sad to leave. I highly recommend a visit, if you’re contemplating a future trip.


So, into a new country: Bolivia. A simple form to fill in and documents processed without even establishing eye contact and we were good to go.


First stop in this new country was at the lakeside ‘gringo’ resort of Copacabana.


With a Barry Manilow ear worm we entered the busy town and found a restaurant that would let us set up camp for the night.


The following day was a stunning ride up out of Copacabana….


….. and down to a short ferry ride across Lake Titicaca.


We are impressed with their enthusiasm to decorate their cars.


The weather was kind and we were afforded some stunning views of the lake from the Bolivian side.


Unfortunately the weather deteriorated. It began with impressive thunder and lightening storms across the lake and then continued with heavy rain overnight, followed by consistent rain all the next day. We had a very wet ride into La Paz. It was also one of the most terrifying rides I have experienced. There were potholes nearly the size of Lake Titicaca, heavy traffic and pedestrians taking their chances through it all. It was a white knuckle ride down the steep cobbled streets in the the centre and I was running mainly on adrenaline. I was so relieved to arrive at the Casa de Ciclista, a haven for weary cyclists in the middle of La Paz. Some may say it somewhat resembles a homeless squat but to us it feels like home for a few days. We have met up with our Aussie cycling chums once more (previously seen showing off their Christmas calves) and are enjoying some good eating, drinking and socialising.


New chains have been purchased, laundry is being done, repairs are in process. A good time to catch up on jobs and then we head south across the Bolivian altiplano and towards Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid territory.



4 thoughts on “Crossing the border: Puno to La Paz

  1. Hey guys, André and Karla from Brazil here…
    We are now in Cusco, heading to Bolivia and we have some questions.
    How was the ride from Cusco to the border? Was it Cusco/Juliaca/Puno and then you crossed to Copacabana? What about border formalities? Did you have to go to any office in La Paz?
    We ask this because we are planning to skip La Paz…
    Well, try to answer this ASAP, please!
    BTW, forgot to thank you for the Central America maps!

    • Hello, hope you have had a good time in Peru.
      The ride from Cusco involves one final mountain pass but it isn’t too bad. You can camp at the hot springs on the way up. It is then an easy ride through to Juliaca. Juliaca is not that nice, there’s garbage along the road everywhere and the traffic is pretty crazy.There’s a hill up and over to Puno. We then headed to Copacabana. The border crossing is very simple. They only give you 30 days though. That was enough for us, however, other cyclists we met said it was very simple to get it extended but you needed to go to bigger cities to do that. I understand why you would want to skip La Paz, the traffic was mad however the Casa de Ciclista in La Paz is very good.
      Happy pedaling
      Claire and Adam

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