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A Month in Peru and Bolivia: A Bus Journey Adventure

Trip Highlights: 3 weeks in Peru (from Lima to Cusco) and a week in Bolivia (La Paz and Salar de Uyuni).

A month in Peru and Bolivia was an incredible journey for me, traveling exclusively by bus through these vibrant countries. Surprisingly, the planning was a breeze, all thanks to PeruHop. I often dream of a world where every country adopts this Hop-on-Hop-off bus concept for long-distance travel. As of now, it’s a unique feature only in Peru and Ecuador.

I’ve already shared the first three weeks of my Peruvian adventure, stretching from Lima to Cusco. That itinerary is perfect if you’re planning to explore just Peru. But now, let’s dive into the exciting leg of the journey from Cusco to La Paz, Bolivia.

Day 1: Cusco to La Paz

The journey began at 11:00 PM, giving me an entire day to enjoy Cusco. Remarkably, the bus was punctual, both at departure and arrival in Puno the next morning. While some passengers opted for a tour of Lake Titicaca and the Uros Floating Village, I skipped it this time, having experienced it in my earlier travels. After a brief two-hour tour, we reunited on the bus, setting our sights on Copacabana, Bolivia.

Crossing the border from Peru to Bolivia was surprisingly smooth. We collected our luggage, quickly passed through a small exit immigration office in Peru, and then walked to Bolivia’s entry point for two minutes. Reboarding the bus, we reached the charming seaside town of Copacabana by lunchtime.

A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel Itinerray (Copacabana)
A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel Itinerray (Copacabana)

In Copacabana, I joined a captivating four-hour excursion to Isla del Sol (Sun Island), nestled in the middle of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. This island holds significant mythological importance and is believed to be the birthplace of Inti, the Inca Empire’s sun god. As the sun began to set, we boarded our bus again, continuing our journey towards the vibrant city of La Paz.

Day 2: Discovering La Paz’s Charms

On day two, I eagerly joined a free walking tour courtesy of Wild Rover Hostel. This tour proved to be incredibly informative, showcasing all the must-see spots in the city center. Later in the afternoon, I hopped into an Uber for a short 10-kilometer ride to the Valley of the Moon. This place is a must-visit! Its unique geological formations truly make you feel as if you’re walking on the moon itself.

A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel Itinerray (La Paz).
A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel Itinerray (La Paz).

Day 3: Soaring Above La Paz and Local Discoveries

Day three in La Paz brought a new adventure: a cable car tour! Unlike other cities with subways or metros, La Paz boasts an impressive network of cable cars serving as public transport. These cars offer a unique perspective of the city, with breathtaking views of the snowcapped mountains. After marveling at the scenery from above, the tour concluded in a bustling local market, where we indulged in a delightful lunch.

In the afternoon, I set out to explore the city’s hilly terrain on my own. I wandered aimlessly, intrigued by the various buildings and shops that caught my eye. This spontaneous exploration led me through the heart of La Paz’s vibrant culture.

To cap off the day, I enjoyed dinner at Burger King. Interestingly, instead of the usual french fries, they served plantains! It was fascinating to see how even international fast-food chains adapt to local dietary preferences. This small twist on a familiar meal perfectly highlighted the unique culinary fusion in La Paz.

Later that evening, I hopped on the overnight bus to Salar de Uyuni, a destination on my bucket list.

The next three days were an exhilarating whirlwind as I dived into the wonders of Salar de Uyuni. Tackling this vast area on your own can be daunting, especially when it comes to navigating public transport. Therefore, I opted for a three-day tour of Salar de Uyuni. This journey not only covered the salt flats but also took us across the Atacama desert and through the incredible landscapes of Bolivia.

A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel itinerary (Salr de Uyuni).
A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel itinerary

Admittedly, the tour was a splurge for a backpacker’s budget, but it was absolutely worth every penny. The landscapes were nothing short of majestic—serene, breathtaking, and utterly unforgettable. My advice? Opt for a hassle-free tour. This way, you can fully immerse yourself in the experience, soaking in the stunning vistas without a worry in the world. You can also go on a one-day tour to Salar de Uyuni if your budget and time are tight.

Day 7: Refresh and More of La Paz

Day seven began with our arrival in La Paz from Salar de Uyuni just as the city started to wake up. I chose to stay at Hotel Las Brisas this time, a budget-friendly option right next to the intriguing Witch Market. And don’t worry, it’s more charming than witchy! 😂 Fortunately, my room was ready, so the hotel staff allowed me to check in early. After the rigorous three-day tour, I desperately needed a good sleep and didn’t wake up until noon. If you’re interested, you can join a few day tours from La Paz.

Later, I ventured out to explore more of La Paz. I wandered through various streets, getting pleasantly lost in the process. Eventually, I stumbled upon a cozy café that offered a welcoming break. For dinner, I’d suggest trying ‘Luciernagas Restaurant‘. It’s an affordable spot with fantastic food. Do try their ‘Pique a lo Macho‘. It’s a Bolivian specialty, bursting with flavors and perfectly embodying the city’s vibrant culinary scene.

On day 8, I checked off one of my bucket lists: biking through the world’s most dangerous road. The adventure kicked off early from La Paz, heading to “La Cumbre” to start our descent. Leg 1: a 22 km downhill ride on asphalt, testing our skills and building confidence. We were always in good hands with safety vans trailing and regular stops. Leg 2: the notorious “Death Road” stretched for 10 km, where we rode compactly, enjoying snacks along the way. The final 32 km featured a waterfall splash, ending in Yolosa with hotel amenities and a well-deserved lunch before returning to La Paz by 05:00 p.m.

A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel Itinerray (La Paz). pink flamingos, birds, lake-6558751.jpg
A month in Peru and Bolivia Travel itinerary.

Day 9: Closing the Chapter on a Memorable Adventure

On day 9, the final day of my journey, I said goodbye to the incredible experiences I had in Peru and Bolivia. Packing my bags, I reflected on the countless memories made and the breathtaking sights I witnessed. This adventure was more than just a trip; it was a journey through diverse cultures, history, and nature’s wonders. As I headed home, my heart was heavy yet filled with joy, carrying stories and lessons that I’ll cherish forever. This trip might have ended, but the longing to explore more of these beautiful countries stays with me.

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