From Peru to Bolivia: A border crossing by bus at the Kasani crossing point

Just now we have spent five days in the jungle of Tambopata, and we are off again. We are going to Lake Titicaca, more precisely to Copacabana in Bolivia

From Puerto Maldonado we take a bus to Puno on the Peruvian coast of Lake Titicaca. The journey starts at 19:00 in the evening and ends at 7:00 in the morning. We drive about 350 kilometres and climb 3500 metres in altitude. We travel first class with Rayna. The journey costs 70 Soles per person, just under 25€. We don’t get much sleep on this bus ride either. 

From Puno to the Kasani border

On arriving in Puno, a gentleman asks us where we want to go as soon as we get off the bus. We explain that we want to go to Copacabana. He offers us a bus from the Titicaca company for the equivalent of 5€ per person, which is supposed to leave 30 minutes later. Presumably the ticket would be a few soles cheaper somewhere, but the gentleman is very helpful and even takes care of the tax for the use of the terminal for us (between 1 and 2 soles per person), so that we can rest a bit. 

When boarding the bus, we are given two sheets, one for entry and one for customs.The usual information is asked for. Both sheets are in Spanish and English. 

The bus ride takes about 2.5 hours until we reach the border. Then one of our leaves is collected. 

Next we are sent to a money exchange office. We would need two Bolivianos per person to enter Copacabana. We change our remaining soles and a few dollars. 

The migration from Peru

Then it’s on to migration.The border official takes a look at the stamp in the passport, takes a photo and then stamps the exit stamp. He is particularly pleased that we are grinning into the camera. Leaving Peru takes exactly one minute and we didn’t have to say a word (Honduras could take a leaf out of this book).

On foot through the no-man’s land between Peru and Bolivia

We walk back to the bus. Our bus driver sends us on foot through no man’s land. Here, many elderly ladies sit selling snacks and souvenirs by the roadside. 

After a few metres, you pass through a stone gate. Behind it is a small village. The streets are dusty and full of holes, The houses made of clay bricks all look unfinished. Many are covered with boards advertising the services on offer. There are a few small kiosks selling drinks and biscuits. It is not necessarily obvious at first glance which of the buildings is Immigration. 

We ask a guard on the side of the road, who just points wordlessly to a somewhat down-and-out single-storey building with white paint and faded lettering

Immigration to Bolivia

In the building there aretwo counters, over and over with various documents. It is gloomy here and smells dusty. At one of the counters there is a discussion going on. Apparently some entry requirements don’t fit, but an amicable agreement is being reached. They are assured that everything will work out somehow. 

Entry requirements Bolivia

It’s our turn. A middle-aged gentleman takes a bored look at our passports, takes another photo of us and we get the entry stamp with the usual 30 days for a first visa. Our entry slip is deposited in a high pile in a corner without a glance. 

With this, the entry into Bolivia is finished without having exchanged a word with anyone. By the way, nobody is interested in our bags either. 

We stand at the side of the road and wait for our bus to come. A few street dogs keep us company and let us scratch their bellies in the sun. 

Meanwhile, we watch a steady procession of locals coming from no man’s land. Some have llamas with them, many carry big bundles on their backs. None of them is interested in the border. They all walk happily chatting past the authority buildings. The security guards on the street are not interested. 

After about ten minutes our bus arrives. It stops in front of the barrier. The bus driver jumps out and opens the border barrier by himself. The security guards don’t care. 

From Kasani to Copacabana

Now we continue on to Copacabana. At the entrance to the town we stop and an old man walks through the bus. It costs one soles or two bolivianos per person to get into the town. We don’t know if this is an official charge. The man gets our last soles coins. So we wouldn’t have had to change extra money. 

Then we are in Copacabana on Lake Titicaca. 

Conclusion: border crossing Kasani

  • We did not have to pay any exit or entry fee
  • Nobody cared about our luggage
  • We did not exchange a single word with the border guards
  • It was all very relaxed and uncomplicated

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