WE MADE IT TO BOLIVIA! $160 USD later for a visa and a fun border crossing and here we are in a different country. We left the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca on the 12th to head to Copacabana, Bolivia. After about an hour or so on the bus we reached the Peru/Bolivia border crossing in the town of Yunguyo. We stood in one line to get our Peru exit stamp and then we walked to the Bolivia side to get our Bolivian entry stamp. Overall took about an hour. While I was waiting for my stamp, the Bolivian man who was looking at my passport made mention how I looked different because I cut my hair, so we all got a good laugh about that. Also while we were waiting in line, this older Australian woman started talking to us and for some reason took a huge liking to Michelle and I. She was talking about how she hated all the other tourists on our bus but she loved us and told us we could visit her in Melbourne anytime, so awesome!
After we finished with immigration we got back on the bus and arrived in Copacabana. I loved seeing Lake Titicaca from both sides but Copacabana was way better than Puno. During our time in Copacabana we were with our Spanish travel companions; Agus, Pedro, Guillermo and Alberto and we loved these guys. So far the best travel companions we have met and some of the most hilarious people I have ever met. So we all stayed at the same hotel the first night and we traveled by boat together the next day to Isla del Sol. We were on the boat for about 2/3 hours and then once we made it to the island we all paid 10 bolivianos (~$1.50 USD) each for a Spanish guide to show us around the island. During this time we trekked for about 5 hours total around the island and learning more about the Aymara language and Inca theory of earth's creation from this island.
Honestly, Michelle and I were expecting a bit more ruins, or simply more things to see and learn but it was a bit lackluster. I was enjoying the beauty of the lake more than anything and having great conversations with our Spaniards but Agus in particular (he lives and works in Brazil as a zoologist so right up my alley). One definite reason why we loved these guys so much was because they were older, 35-39 years old, so they had amazing stories and overall fantastic personalities. By the time we finished hiking, we made it to the small village of Yumuni ( the boys were calling it Jumangi) and they stayed in a different hostel because Michelle and I found a super cheap one for 30 bolivianos ($4.35 USD) whereas they paid 65 bolivianos ($9.40 USD). We met back up with the boys around 4:30 and went out for food since we were all hungry. We were at this restaurant for about three hours and even watched the sunset. Afterwards, we went to another little restaurant so they could all get some drinks and I taught them how to play the card game, Presidents and a******s. Pedro, got a little drunk and was upset because he kept losing but then in the end, I was President and he was Vice President so he was happy haha. We closed the restaurant down (10pm) and they went back to their hostel and we went to ours.
The next day we met up with the guys at 9am to walk down to the boat dock so we could return to Copacabana. At first when we were with them, we were speaking mostly English but then later they made us only converse in Spanish. I could understand them fairly well, except for Alberto, for some reason I could barely understand him unless he spoke slowly. Castellano Spanish is sooooo different with their lisp sounds and the guys were giving us s*** for our broken Spanish skills. Apparently we sounded like we were drunk, so yay glad that I studied Spanish in school and I'm still not fluent yet haha. But practicing here is helping me improve at least. When we got back to Copacabana, we split ways because the guys are on a rushed trip and were leaving for La Paz that day whereas Michelle and I had another day in Copacabana. After we said our goodbyes, Michelle and I went to find a hostel.
Have I mentioned how cheap Bolivia is? It's fantastic! And since Copacabana is a tourist town there were great vegetarian options at a lot of restaurants and that night we had, chips and actual spicy salsa (first time in the trip), hummus & pita bread, quinoa burger and veggie spring rolls... So amazing to have good food other than pizza or pasta. The next morning we went out to breakfast and I had delicious chocolate waffles and Michelle had waffles and eggs. We were expecting worse food in Bolivia but so far the food has been better than in Peru. However, the most eventful part about Copacabana was our Spanish travel companions.
After our breakfast we got on our bus (with no toilet) to La Paz. The total trip was about 4 hours but I pee a lot so that wasn't fun. After about 2 hours on our bus ride to La Paz, we had to get off and get on a boat so we could cross part of the lake to get to the other side. Now the best part was how the bus got over. The bus drove onto literally a large wooden floating platform (supposedly a boat but really just a wonky platform) and it was taken to the other side. Overall was hilarious to witness. While we were on our little boat, there was this little old woman tossing pieces of bread into the lake so we had a nice flock of gulls chasing behind us. Made for a great photo haha. We made it to the other side, as did our bus, got back on and drove another 2 hours to La Paz. Now I thought drivers in Peru were crazy and scary but nope Bolivia takes it to a new level. But we arrived safe and in tact. Michelle and I are in La Paz now for about a week so I'll be posting a La Paz blog after about a week or so.