Week 61 - Copacabana, Bolivia!
We left Cusco for what would be the last time on this adventure. We said goodbye to the family who had treated us so well and got on the road. The trip to Puno wasn’t too bad, and we purposefully planned a route that would bypass Juliaca, which also meant we got to do a little bit of off-road. The roads started off as beautiful, rolling hills although towards the end they were on wide open plains. Still beautiful but the temperature was dropping and the roads were straighter.
We decided to stay at Marlon's House close to lake Titicaca. We were very glad to arrive, however we were not overly impressed with their ‘secure’ parking which was a space next to the hostal with lots of mud on a steep hill and two doors that didn’t close properly with a little bit of chain and poor quality padlock to secure it all. We covered our bikes because you could see them straight through the gap in the doors, but it was a bit too late in the day to go about finding more accommodation. Fortunately we only needed (and wanted) to stay one night, so not so bad.
In the morning, we were glad to see the bikes were still there. We had a mini breakfast and then piled our stuff on to the bikes again, including the two rear tyres. From Puno to Copacabana the roads are loooooooooong and for the most part, completely straight, so it wasn't the most thrilling ride in the world, however we were fortunate that it was such an easy, boring ride because I had totally forgotten about the 1 hour time difference between Peru and Bolivia. We arrived at the Peru side at about 11am and went in to see the migration people. We were stamped out in seconds and they were also quite happy for us to come back, even though we'd already been in Peru for six months! Woohoo! We then saw the Aduana and gave in the TIP's for the bikes. Done and dusted in a matter of a few minutes. Also they didn't seem to notice that Kelvin had left the country and returned without permission to leave his bike.
We then went to the Bolivian side by about 11.15am, however this was now actually 12.15pm and they closed at 12.30pm for a two hour lunch! Fortunately for us, everything moved just as swiftly. The nice chap from the Aduana sorted our new Bolivian TIP's granting 180 days without hesitation, and then it was off to Migration, a small little office just below Aduana. Normally you'd have to get everything the opposite way around, however I think the Aduana guy was keen to get off for lunch and once we were out the door it was all locked up...good timing! The migration was also very simple, two short forms, a couple of signatures, a photo and a smile! Sadly, despite my bestest smile, we were only granted 30 days and were told to gain another 30 days we had to go back to Migracion in one of the cities. We could extend as a tourist up to 90 days. Fine. Also, they didn't ask for our yellow fever certificates. We then changed our remaining Peruvian ‘Soles’ with a guy in a small tienda for almost the exact exchange rate. Bonus!
After an obligatory photo next to the ‘Copacabana’ sign smattered in travellers stickers we did the easy 9km into Copacabana and arrived at the hostal; Hostal Casa del Sol. We got our bikes into their parking area and were glad to find out that our room was only about two meters away from the bikes. That never happens! The family who ran the place were super lovely and they also had a puppy called Luna, and another beautiful dog called Kira. After settling in it was off to go and see lake Titicaca again, but this time from the Bolivian side. I have to say, it was a much better, less spoilt view with lots of beautiful shore line, unlike Puno. The atmosphere was a lot calmer and there weren't actually that many tourists about. It seemed rude not to visit one of the shoreside coffee shops and partake in a Bailey's coffee...our first drink in Bolivia!
Later on, we found a little Thai restaurant and managed to get a three course meal for 40BOB each (about £4.50), bargain! The best thing was that being an hour ahead, Bolivia has more light later on, and a later sunset. As we walked out after our delicious meal we were greeted with the most amazing, rich sunset over lake Titicaca. It was stunning. We walked down to the shore and just watched as the sun melted into the horizon, and we could feel the temperature drop as our skin turned to bumpy gosepimples...time for a jacket and beanie!!
The next day we decided to go and explore the town and shoreline a little more. The weather was perfect and no need for jackets. Although it's mad, in the sun you can wear shorts, t-shirt and sandals, but in the shade or as the sun goes down it's bloody brrrrrrr! We ventured the long way around to the shore and the streets were so quiet. As we walked down the many steps to the 'beach' we could see a whole gang of street dogs just chilling out. The thing you have to be wary of in Bolivia is rabies as the risk is very high, however we continued and the dogs came over for a sniff. There was no aggression displayed by any of the six or so dogs, and as we slowly wandered along the beach they decided it was time for walkies! The whole pack joined us for our entire walk, seeking out human company. It was so lovely, and we played on the shore with them. They splashed in and out of the water together around the many small wooden piers, scaring off the resting seagulls. We then headed towards the town,and as we got closer to the cafes and shops, the dogs started to peel off waiting for the next humans to come along and 'take' them for a walk!
Kelvin and I chatted about our travel options from here. We had wanted to go back to Peru to visit the southern area a little more, and now we knew it was possible. I was also keen to do some volunteering in Bolivia with Funprobo, which would mean going to La Paz, but i'd need to do some learning and recapping about amputee rehabilitation beforehand, so I didn't want to go straight away. We agreed another month in Peru would be the best option, so for the rest of our time in Copacabana Kelvin worked on the bikes and I worked on some video's because I had SO much footage of the amazing roads in Peru.
We'd managed to get new speedo cables from the UK because both of ours had broken at some point in the first 6-8 months of travel. Kelvin set about getting the new ones fitted as well as sorting out his front light. We also talked to the owners of the hostel about our tyres. We rekoned we could get another 1000-2000km out of the current ones and therefore we wouldn't need to change them until we returned to Bolivia. They agreed they'd keep the tyres for us for free and we'd obviously stay in their hostel on our return to Copacabana.
The time flew by and a few more beautiful sunsets later we were headed back to the border.