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Peru-Bolivia Border Crossings

Three border crossings exist between Peru and Bolivia. On the southwest side of Lake Titicaca are Yunguyo, close to Copacabana, and Desaguadero, the more direct route to La Paz. On the east side of the lake is the little-used crossing between Tilali, Peru, and Puerto Acosta, Bolivia. It is also possible to travel to Bolivia by hydrofoil boat.


Travelers report that Bolivian officials at both of the principal border crossings have charged entry, exit, customs and other non-authorized fees. Citizens of the US and some other countries need a visa. There is a Bolivian consulate in Puno, though it may be paid for at the border in cash (new bills only; US citizens $135). All travelers must show proof of yellow fever vaccination. Bolivia is one hour ahead of Peru.




Yunguyo, Peru / Kasani, Bolivia

The border crossing at Yunguyo, 145 kilometers (89 mi) from Puno, is the route most often used by international bus companies and is the direct route to Copacabana, Bolivia. The border facilities are open 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Peruvian time). Casas de cambio on the Peruvian side have better rates than on the Bolivian side.


International buses stop for immigration and customs procedures, before continuing to Copacabana (3 hr, $6-8) and La Paz (7 hr, $10-12). The following companies depart from Puno鈥檚 Terminal Terrestre (Jr Primero de Mayo 703. Tel. 364-733) between 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.: Huayruro (1 bus), Titicaca Bolivia (2 buses), Tour Peru (2 buses), Orme帽o (1 bus, $20). Between Copacabana and La Paz, the bus boards a ferry across the Estrecho de Tiquina. Check with the bus company whether this fare ($0.25) is included in the ticket price.


To do the border crossing on your own, catch a bus for Yunguyo from Puno鈥檚 Terminal Zonal (Av Costanera 451) or any of the town along the southern shore. Once in Yunguyo, catch a motorcycle rickshaw to Kasani ($1) or walk the 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) uphill to the posts, which are several hundred meters from each other. After completing immigration procedures, catch a combi to Copacabana, eight kilometers (5 mi) away (more frequent on weekends, up to 1 hr wait on weekdays; $0.50).





Desaguadero, 172 kilometers (105 mi) from Puno, is the name of the town on both sides of the Peru-Bolivia border. This is the most direct route to La Paz is done with local transport. Midway between the border and the Bolivian capital is the sacred site of Tiwanaku (Tihuanaco). This route is not as scenic as the crossing at Yuguyo / Kasani.


The border is open 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (Peruvian time). There are money changers on the Peruvian side; neither part of the border town has an ATM. If you have to overnight at the border, the better hotels are on the Bolivian side, near the border.


From Puno or other town on the way, take a bus to Desaguadero; they leave every half-hour throughout the day (from Puno: 3-3.5 hr, $3). The Peruvian border post is one block from the Desaguadero bus terminal. After getting the exit stamp in your passport, walk over the bridge to Bolivian immigration and customs, and go through those procedures. Bolivian immigration may close for lunch, so it鈥檚 best to avoid this time.


After completing the formalities, take a tr铆ciclo (motorcycle taxi) to the bus terminal, from where you can catch a combi (3.5 hr, $1.50) or trufi (shared taxi; 2.5-3 hr, $3) to La Paz (113 km / 69 mi). They arrive at Calle J.M. Asin and Calle Eyzaguirre in the cemetery district of the Bolivian capital.




Tilali, Peru / Puerto Acosta, Bolivia

Travelers looking to get off the beaten track can take the back-door entry into Bolivia. Time, patience and Spanish are essential. Check with the immigration office (migraci贸n) in Puno first about current details, and get your exit stamp. Stock up on cash (soles, bolivianos) before leaving Puno or Juliaca. Be sure to have all your papers in order before setting off.


The trip is best done on weekends, when villages on the east coast of the lake have their market days. Tilali and Puerto Acosta have their markets on Wednesday and Saturday. Basic lodging is available in Huancan茅 and Moho.


From Puno, go to Juliaca. Once at that town, check if the direct Juliaca-Tilali bus is running. If not, catch a combi to Huancan茅, which depart from Jir贸n Sucre and Jir贸n Ball贸n, about a kilometer (0.6 mi) east of the Plaza de Armas (every 15 min, 1 hr, $0.80). From Huancan茅, catch a truck or bus to Moho (2 hr, $1), where you鈥檒l have to overnight. Almost daily, early-morning transport goes to Tilali. If it is not market day, you will have to walk to the border and on to Puerto Acosta, Bolivia (20 km / 12 mi, 4 hr). Once in Puerto Acosta, seek out the immigration officials to have your passport stamped; once in La Paz, check with the main immigration office to make sure everything is in order.





Travelers looking for a lake adventure and who have deep pockets may want to consider cruising across the lake. Tambo Tours (Tel / US: 1-888-246-7378, URL: offers a two-day / one-night hydrofoil boat lake crossing, from Puno to La Paz, by way of Isla de la Luna and Isla del Sol, where travelers spend the night ($389). Be sure to inquire about immigration procedures before booking.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Lake Titicaca: Lake Titicaca Homestays,

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