/What to Know About Lake Titicaca Travel
lake titicaca bolivia

What to Know About Lake Titicaca Travel

 

Lake Titicaca Weather

The weather at Lake Titicaca is consistently mild and fluctuates very little during the year due to the region’s elevation. The temperature hovers around 10 degrees all year, although it dips a few degrees during the winter months, June-July and can be as high as 20 degrees during the summer months, November-January.

Rainfall is highest during the summer, while the winter months are very dry.

The temperature tends to dip when the sun sets and the nighttime can get chilly all year long. Travelers should dress in layers, especially if they plan to be out during the early morning or evening.

ATMs at Lake Titicaca

There are ATMs in Copacabana near the central plaza. Islands and small mainland towns do not have ATMs. It is generally advisable for travelers to withdraw currency before arriving at the lake as the ATMs that do exist may be out of service or out of currency. Banks in Copacabana can process wire transfers or change currency.

Money

Bolivia uses the Peso Boliviano, referred to simply as Boliviano, abbreviated Bs. The Boliviano is divided into 100 centavos with coins of 1, 5, 10, and 50 centavos as well as 1, 2, and 5 Bolivianos. Bills are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Bolivianos.

Approximate exchange rates:

1 U.S. Dollar = 7.01 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Euro= 9.11 Bolivian Boliviano
1 British Pound = 10.57 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Canadian dollar = 6.82 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Australian dollar = 7.12 Bolivian Boliviano
1 New Zealand dollar = 5.77 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Peruvian Nuevo Sol = 2.7 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Brazilian Real = 3.54 Bolivian Boliviano
(Note that the exact rate will fluctuate with the market)

 

Tipping at Lake Titicaca

At full-service restaurants, 10% of the total bill is a typical gratuity. Look for a line that says servicio on restaurant bars as the gratuity is sometimes included. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.

Altitude Sickness at Lake Titicaca

Some travelers report discomfort when they arrive at Lake Titicaca from lower altitudes. At 3000 meters, Lake Titicaca is much higher than many travelers have ever been, so some shortness of breath is to be expected. Most travelers acclimatize after a good night’s rest.

In some cases, travelers may exhibit symptoms of high altitude sickness. These symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fatigue

Symptoms will usually fade in a day or two. On severe cases, especially when preexisting medical conditions are present, medical attention may be necessary.

Travelers can take certain precautions to avoid or alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness.

To Avoid Altitude Sickness

If you’re going to travel to Lake Titicaca, make sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water. Sports drinks like Gatorade are helpful as well because they contain sugars, sodium, and electrolytes, which are lost due when you dehydrate.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take your time traveling around the area, don’t push yourself.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Coca tea, or coca de mate, is a popular folk remedy for altitude sickness. Most hotels will offer it to guests upon arrival.

Getting Around at Lake Titicaca

Buses arrive in Copacabana at Plaza 2 de Febrero and leave from Plaza Sucre, both near the center of town.

Busses traveling to and from La Paz stop briefly just short of Copacabana to cross the Tiquina Strait by barge. Travelers must exit the bus and cross the strait by ferry. La Paz to Copacabana is 3.5 to 4 hours.

For those traveling on to Puno, or coming to Copacabana from Puno the bus ride is also 3.5 hours, including the half hour or so it takes to cross the border.

Once you’re in Copacabana, the town is very easily navigated on foot. Pedi cabs are available in town at the Plaza 2 de Febrero, but you’ll find they are not necessary unless you require help with your luggage.

On Copacabana beach, local boat drivers are available for trips to Sun Island. Regularly scheduled public boats are much more affordable. These leave from Copacabana Beach each morning around 8:00 am.