You arrive in Copacabana, Bolivia, and you feel like you’re on holiday immediately.
Granted, it’s not Brazil’s Copacabana, but this lesser-known town has it’s own beach to be proud of – even though it might be the foreshore of Lake Titicaca rather than the sandy shores of the Atlantic you’ll stroll along.
When we caught the four hour bus from La Paz, out to the serenity of Copacabana, we breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we wouldn’t be dodging traffic and the crowds of the gigantic capital any longer.
We decided to stay in one of the most highly recommended lodgings of the town – La Cupula – and it didn’t disappoint.
Perched on the top of a hill, La Cupula is a short, lung-bursting stroll from the centre of Copacabana. Once you get there though, you’ll realise your exertion was totally worth it, as the hostel’s location gives you stunning views over Lake Titicaca and Copacabana.
There are hammocks to lounge in on the grass garden out the front of the hostel, and Dave spent a few mornings working out in these peaceful surroundings just after the sun had risen.
The best part about La Cupula’s location however is paying the US$2 or so to relax in the hot tub that overlooks the lake. After a long day hiking around Copacabana or exploring Isla del Sol, the hot tub is an extra special treat.
You can book it by the hour and have it all to yourselves.
The rooms at La Cupula have a distinctly Mediterrainean feel about them with high ceilings and arched windows. The showers are extremely hot and powerful which was delightful after feeling as though we hadn’t showered properly since arriving in South America. (Good showers are very hard to come by in Bolivia.)
TVs were absent from the rooms – which we liked – and on our second night we were moved to a second floor abode which had a tiny balcony overlooking the lake, which was wonderful.
However, the timber floors can be a little noisy and you can sometimes here the guests above you walking around.
The food is a definate highlight at La Cupula. Lonley Planet reckons it’s the best restaurant in Copacabana, and although we didn’t sample many restaurants while we were there, we’re sure this is true. We ate there twice – once for lunch and once for dinner – and both times the food was very tasty.
You can order fresh trout that comes straight from the lake, plump and juicy. A lot of the food also has an Austrian influence – as the owner is from Austria – so expect schnitzels and potato salads.
There’s a number of cheese fondues to choose from too, and although we didn’t try these they looked hearty and delicious.
There’s a small lounge room, with an array of DVDs and a large TV, for you to relax in. There’s also an extremely clean kitchen that’s well-equipped, and a book exchange.
What we liked about La Cupula
The setting of La Cupula can’t really be beaten in Copacabana. The view is outstanding and it’s an extremely peaceful place.
The service was also very good. The owner was there when we checked-in and although there was some confusion about our room, we were upgraded to a room with our own private bathroom for two nights until our room became available.
The employees also safely stored our luggage for us when we took a two night trip over to Isla del Sol.
But an extra special touch happened every evening when a worker came into the lounge and lit the pot-belly fireplace. It made the room toasty and warm and we chatted with other backpackers in this cosy surrounding each evening.
The kitchen has complimentary tea and coffee for guests too.
What we didn’t like about La Cupula
It would be nice to have a complimentary breakfast included in the room price, as the restaurant certainly has the amenities to provide this. The breakfast was unfortunately a little dear in the restaurant, so we cooked our own eggs in the guest kitchen instead.
The wi-fi is practically non-existent. There are signs apologising for the poor service they receive in Bolivia posted all around the hostel, and after living in Bolivia for a month I can certainly sympathise. The best time to use the wi-fi was really early in the morning before everyone woke up. We ended up working at the internet cafes in town instead (which weren’t that much better!)
What you need to know:
Cost: We paid US$20 a night for a double room with a shared bathroom and a 10% discount because we stayed for five nights.
Booking: It’s worth booking ahead because La Cupula is popular. Keep in mind though that if you don’t arrive by 2pm they’ll give your booking to someone else – they’re pretty strict about this!
Address: You can find all the details on how to get to La Cupula on their website.