Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on the shore of the Lake Titicaca. Copacabana sits at 3,810 meters above sea level (12,500 feet), on the bay between Mount Calvario and Mount Niño Calvario. The population is approximately 6,000.
The two main civilizations in the Titicaca region, before the Inca Empire, were the Tiahuanaco and the Aymara.
The name of Copacabana is derived from the Aymara KOTAKAWANA, meaning “view of the lake.”Another interpretation says KOTAKAWANA was the god of the fertility in ancient Andean mythology, and still resides in Lake Titicaca.
The sun, the moon, and the earth were the gods these two civilizations worshipped at the time.
The Basilica “Our Lady of Copacabana” is the most important cultural site in the region, completed in 1619; it is one of the oldest churches in Bolivia. The Basilica was built above the KOTAKAWANA temple and it houses the statue of “La Virgen de la Candelaria.”
The best view of the town is from a top Cerro Calvario hill, which overlooks the entire city; from there, one can take postcard-like photographs.
Copacabana is packed with souvenir shops, hostels, and restaurants.
The Sun Island
Situated in the southern part of Lake Titicaca, Sun Island is a rocky and hilly island covered by eucalyptus trees. During the Inca Empire, it was believed that the sun god was born here, and the area is home to over 80 ruins. Among them are the noteworthy Sacred Rock, a labyrinth-like building called Chicana, as well as Kasa Pata and Pilco Kaima.
Today’s economy is driven primarily by tourism, but subsistence agriculture and fishing are still widely practiced.
The Moon Island
The Moon Island can only be reached by boat. It is one of the most sacred sites in Andean culture, a place where the Palace of the Sun’s virgins still remains.
The natural beauty of these islands—as well as the breathtaking views of the Andes of Bolivia and Peru, and the Copacabana peninsula—is impossible to describe. One has to simply experience it.