Why visit only one destination on your trip to South America when you can visit two? Combining Bolivia with a trip to Peru is an increasingly popular option for travelers to the Andean region. Bolivia and Peru share an ancient history, with a cultural connection dating back to pre-Incan days. Even today the two countries are kindred spirits, often referring to one another as “brother”. With the relative ease of travel between Peru and Bolivia, it’s worth checking out both countries on your next trip to South America.
There are a few options for those looking to visit both Peru and Bolivia on one trip.
Crossing the Bolivia-Peru Border at Lake Titicaca
One of the most popular crossings between the two countries at Lake Titicaca. The international crossing can be made here by tourist bus, which picks up passengers at their hotel in Puno, Peru and drives them over the border to the small city of Copacabana, Bolivia.
From start to finish the standard journey takes just over four hours to complete door to door. Busses depart Puno daily at 07:30 and 14:30 and cost between US$15-20. If traveling this route and in need of a Bolivian visa, remember to bring exact change in USD to pay the visa fee at the border; credit cards and foreign currency are not accepted.
Driving from Peru to Bolivia
For those not making a stop at Lake Titicaca, many of the same tourists busses connect Cuzco with La Paz, but often require a stop in Puno, Copacabana or both. Busses depart Cuzco at 08:30 or 21:30. The trip between the two destinations takes roughly seven hours though guided stops and meals are usually included. The price between Cuzco and Puno is US$25-30. Once you arrive in Puno you will have to transfer to another tourist bus traveling along the Puno to Copacabana route described above. Once in Copacabana the same busses continue on towards La Paz, taking about three hours to travel there and costly roughly US$20.
If looking for a cheaper option, shared micro vans leave Copacabana for La Paz regularly and only cost US$3. However, the micros are crowded and often the drivers and vehicles can be a little rough. Be careful when choosing your van if opting for this option.
Flying from Peru to Bolivia
Of course for those who don’t want to travel overland, flights from Lima depart for La Paz, Bolivia daily and from Cuzco every day except Saturday. Flights leave Cuzco at 10:20 and arrive into La Paz airport at 12:20. From Lima, Lan Airlines and Taca have routes to La Paz, with one or two flights a day depending. Unfortunately, while the two countries are not too far in distance, flying between them can be quite the costly endeavor. It is not unusual for one-way tickets between Lima and La Paz to cost as much as US$500 and from Cuzco, $270.