Planning to travel between Puno, Peru and Copacabana, Bolivia? Unfortunately there are no direct flights or trains available to travelers. That means in order to get from Puno to Copacabana, bus is your best option.
It’s always a good idea (though not required) to purchase tickets for the Puno Copacabana bus route in advance if possible. This way you can avoid a sell-out situation that could potentially derail your travel plans!
And good news is, the journey only takes approximately five hours (depending on time spent at the border). It’s also a relatively easy trip over mostly paved roads.
That being said, please be prepared for the Peru/Bolivia border crossing (more on that below)! Having all essential travel documents prepared and ready to go will help ease this transition.
Unsure of what documents you may need, or of the specific visa requirements for your country? Go online and determine what paperwork is essential for your crossing into Bolivia.
The Best Puno-Copacabana Bus Options
Now, the real question is, which type of bus company should you choose?
There are the public bus companies, which include companies like Tour Peru, Trans Titicaca, Huayruro Tours, etc. This option is generally cheaper but could come with safety concerns. And few, if any, amenities for guests during their Puno Copacabana bus trip.
A second option is private hop on/hop off bus companies, like Bolivia Hop. These companies tend to be a bit more expensive. However, they offer safer buses, with better guest services, and more flexible ticket options.
Bus Company Safety
A big factor in determining the right bus company is bus safety. To ascertain the safety of a particular bus company, try turning to Google. Type words like “hijackings” and “accidents” along with the company’s name and see what results you get.
Remember to take these results with a grain of salt. Google can be a scary place as news is often skewed toward the negative. “Hundreds of passengers safely pass via bus every day” just isn’t as salacious of a headline, right? However, it is still important to know which companies have incidents that could have been prevented.
Additionally, generally speaking…you get what you pay for! So, if you pick a less reputable, low-budget bus company you could find yourself in a sticky situation. These companies tend to use older buses and enact limited security procedures. This means you could face the added burden of an accident or bus hijacking during your trip.
Now, traveling with a mid-range or top-tier company naturally doesn’t completely guarantee a safe trip. But it does dramatically increase the chances of a hassle-free journey. These companies are more likely to impose strict conduct and maintenance standards. Things like speed limitations, regular driver rotations, regular inspections and oil changes.
Bus Puno-Copacabana Information and Departures
|Company Name||Departing||Arriving||Departing From||Approx. Cost||Bathroom?||Google Rating|
|Trans Titicaca||6:00 am |
|Puno Terminal Terrestre||$10||No||2.0 / 5 stars|
|Huayruro Tours||7:00 am||12:00 pm||Puno Terminal Terrestre||$6 – 8||Yes||2.6 / 5 stars|
|Tour Peru||7:00 am||12:00 pm||Puno Terminal Terrestre||$9||No||2.8 / 5 stars|
|Tranzela||7:00 am||12:00 pm||Puno Terminal Terrestre||$15||Yes||3.5 / 5 stars|
|Bolivia Hop||8:30 am||1:30 pm||Your hostel / hotel!||$49||Yes||4.3 / 5 stars|
Many of the public bus companies depart once daily from the public bus terminal at 7:00 am. Except for Trans Titicaca which has multiple daily departures at 6:00 am, 7:30 am, and 1:30 pm. Similarly, they have no English-speaking staff members on board to provide assistance.
As a result, you have the added logistics / cost of navigating to the public bus terminal. Which can be especially difficult when your bus departs early in the morning. This is because many forms of public transportation are not yet up and running. Hiring a taxi is also an option, although it’s more expensive.
But a much easier option is to have your Puno Copacabana bus pick you up directly from your hotel! Bolivia Hop buses depart once daily at 8:30 am, and will pick you up from your central hotel / hostel. Which gives you a bit more time in the morning to get ready and prepare for your day.
Why Choose Bolivia Hop for your Puno-Copacabana Bus
Personally, I opted for the hop on/hop off bus, and chose Bolivia Hop specifically. I had already used the company in Peru during my travels, and had a great time!
As a company, they were founded by tourists who recognized that Peru and Bolivia were both in need of better tourist transportation options. That’s why Bolivia Hop offers customers modern, exceptionally clean buses. They also include added comforts like reclining seats, TVs, fresh bathrooms, and more.
Plus, with any of the hop on/hop off bus companies, you even have the option of purchasing ticket packages. These packages cover a variety of stops on the bus routes that the company operates. So, instead of paying for bus tickets separately, hop on/hop off tickets allow passengers to board multiple buses for one price.
That’s why this option is particularly useful for anyone considering long term travel within Bolivia or Peru. You can stay at a destination as long, or as short, as you like since the tickets are flexible. With both single-day and multiple-day ticket itineraries available, you really can find a journey that will meet your specific needs.
Additionally, Bolivia Hop offers convenient hotel pick-up and drop off services, as well as English-speaking staff members. The staff can help you fill out documents and aid at the border crossing should any problems arise.
Sure, this bus ticket is a bit more expensive at $49 (vs ~$10 for public options). But given the added services and peace-of-mind you receive, I think the price is well worth it.
Bus Travel Tips
Most companies require that you choose your seat when purchasing your bus ticket. If this is the case, I recommend picking an aisle seat in the middle of the bus. These seats are generally considered the safest, and most comfortable place to be.
From my experience on buses in Peru and Bolivia, bathrooms can be located either towards the front (near the stairwell) or the back of the bus. Depending on what company you choose (hop on/hop off buses being the exception), these may not be functional anyway. Either way, best to plan ahead, as best you can, for the bathroom situation. Don’t chug a bunch of liquids then get on a bus with no functioning bathroom!
Make sure you also come armed with snacks, water, and entertainment options. This will ensure your journey from Puno to Copacabana is as enjoyable as possible.
Crossing the Peru / Bolivia Border
Approximately two and a half hours after departing from Puno, you will arrive at the Peru/Bolivia border. You will need to say goodbye to your Peru guide/bus and cross the border where you will meet your Bolivian guide/bus.
Since I chose to use Bolivia Hop, both our English-speaking guides were of great help! Our guides accompanied everyone throughout this process to provide translation services, and answer questions, on an as-needed basis.
Our Peru guide took us to obtain our Peru exit stamp, as well as exchange any remaining soles (Peru currency) for bolivianos (Bolivia currency), if needed. Then we collected our bags and walked across the border to meet our Bolivian guide.
Finally, it was time to go through Bolivian customs to obtain entrance into Bolivia. The requirements for this vary, depending on what country you are from.
Some countries (like England, or New Zealand) receive a visa on entry with little more than showing your passport. The process for US citizens (like myself) is a bit more involved. But thankfully as of Jan 2020 the requirements have been lessened quite a bit!
Once you’ve cleared customs, you are able to stow your bags once again and board your Bolivian bus. And once all are aboard, you continue the journey onward to Copacabana and your upcoming Bolivian adventures!
Making the journey by bus from Puno to Copacabana (and completing the border crossing) doesn’t have to be a headache! Make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row, and choose a reputable company to assist you in the journey.
I personally loved my experience with Bolivia Hop, and would recommend them to any traveler. It’s a truly fantastic bus company that makes this trip quick, easy, comfortable, and blissfully uneventful (exactly what you want).
Like this? Pin it!