Holding the title of highest navigable lake on the planet, as well as on my list of the most beautiful water basins in the world, tucked away high in the Andes between snow-covered peaks, Lake Titicaca is one of the most popular places to see in South America. Known for its unique panorama during the day and the night-time, crystal-clear air and water, combine with mountain range around. Believed to be the birthplace of the first Incas, along with the sun, moon and stars, when creator came out of the lake.
The main two bases to explore Lake Titicaca (and other sites in the region) are Puno in Peru and Copacabana in Bolivia. From Copacabana, most tour operators run a day trips to the Isla del Sol, with a quick stop at the Isla de la Luna. I did visit these two mentioned towns, and I stayed minimum of two nights in each, which gave me some time to look around in both. If you’re backpacking and having loads of time, you can stop in both to see the Bolivian and Peruvian side of Titicaca. However, if you’re rushing a bit, I would definitely suggest staying just in Copacabana in Bolivia. Why? Well, for few reasons really. Bolivian town is way smaller and cutter. Very touristic too, which I don’t always like, but can be handy when it comes to accommodation and organized trips. Lake is looking really amazing (way better) from this side as well, you can hike some mountains around to spot the stunning panorama of the pool and surrounded areas. In Puno, the lake side can`t be really accessible properly, there is no beach to sit and enjoy, and there’s not so many hills from where you can get a good grip of Titicaca. Having said all that, I loved Puno for its truly Peruvian vibe. There is loads of street food stands around, loads of mercados to grab a very tasty local meal, stand with fresh fruits, vegetables, colorful ladies with coca leafs…everything really.
This can not be found in Copacabana, I was really struggling there to find a proper local food, and once I even ended up ordering a pizza. Not so cool. However, It’s just a food, and I think exploring the lake is the reason we are there in the first place, so again, that points us towards Copacabana over Puno. there is also loads of hotels by the lake (I was lucky to be in one), when in Puno you can hardly find any so close to the water. So I think we have a winner at the end-Copacabana. The other reason to stay at just one place is the fact that any route you will take to get there, you will be able to have another good look at the lake, as streets are usually around Titicaca. If you will come from La Paz, like myself, to Copacabana, you will even cross the lake on the boat. Either way you will choose, the bottom line is not to skip this place. Trust me, Titicaca will stay in your heart forever.