Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bienvenidos a Boliva!

We did a little research on buses from Cusco to the border, and further...

The hostel we stayed at in Cusco had a travel agency next door, and the owner recommended talking to them...Turns out they book buses to Boliva from Cusco, and we found out they go "direct" to Copacabana as well, where we wanted to go.

We purchased our tickets for 70 Soles/piece, and jumped on the bus that night, from the Terminal Terrestre in Cusco.

The company was called "Trans Salvador" and as we boarded, we found it to have the most comfortable seats of any bus thus far!  Being a night bus, we were pretty excited to get some sleep, and we did just that.

I woke up at about 5am to the sun rising over Lake Titicaca near the border.  It was incredible.

(photo hardly does it justice...)

All of a sudden a woman came up to us and said "Copacabana?"  Turns out we were the only ones heading there, and the bus wasn't direct, as it was ultimately heading to La Paz...

We were then dropped off in the middle of the desert, and waited for a bit until another bus pulled up, and dropped off about 6 more people also heading to Copacabana.

We then all boarded a collectivo van, and headed to the border, which was about 20 mins away.

Bolivian Border Crossing for US citizens:

I feel this info I will input here will be of much help to US citizens crossing into Bolivia...

We had been trying to research this for some time, and always got different answers about cost, and what is needed to enter Bolivia.  One web page stated it was $180/person to enter Boliva, while a fellow traveler told us it was only $75.

As of the date of this post, Bolivian officials charge US citizens $135 CASH.  You may not use a credit card, and no, they do not accept Bolivianos nor Soles.  We were prepared, as we found an ATM in Cusco that dispensed US cash.  We entered the border crossing at about 7am, and there was hardly anyone there, so it went fast.

Also, they DID NOT ASK for our Yellow Fever vaccinations, which we did have proof of.  Not sure if we'll need them as we exit into Chile down the road, but it wasn't required for us to enter, as we thought otherwise...Still glad we have them though...

We had to fill out the normal immigration form that everyone needs to do, and also a VISA form, that only took about 5 minutes.  They stamped our passports with a Bolivian entrance stamp as well as a sticker, valid for 5 years, saying we paid.  90 days is the length of time we got, just like every other country so far.  Very simple it was, and a lot easier than we thought!  Hope this helps!

On the other side of the border, we jumped into another collectivo van, with the other 6 people crossing, and were in Copacabana in about 10 minutes.

Copacabana is a gorgeous, awesome little town, with the lake in the background.  It's a little touristy, bot not 'in your face,' and very enjoyable.  We met Mark and Carlie for breakfast that morning,  and took a sunset cruise with them, out onto the lake. Besides being dirt cheap to charter a boat, Titicaca has proven to have some of the most incredible sunsets, ever!

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