Crossing independently through Desaguadero is often the cheapest way to travel between the two countries.
Bolivia and Peru are in different time zones: Bolivia is one hour ahead of Peru.
Transport to La PazThe vans are parked in what seems a queue, but travelers are free to choose any car they fancy. Although all vans go to La Paz, not all go to the same stop. Cementerio in downtown La Paz is the closest stop to La Paz Bus Station (no vans go straight there).
On the Peruvian side, coaches call at the bus terminal north of the border.
Bus station (Peru)The terminal has a simple structure: paid toilets (0.50 soles), two food stalls, and bus company counters that are closed most of the day. Opposite the bus counters, empty shop areas have electric plugs. It's better to buy the ticket at the bus companies shops in town, kill time around there, and only head to the terminal shortly before departure time.
Leaving from Desaguadero, the following services were advertised at the terminal as of October 2018:
- to Arequipa: 09:30 (Julsa), 10:00 (Civa), 18:00 (Friday only, Wayra), 20:00 (Wayra, s/30 semi-cama and s/40 cama), 20:30 (Julsa, s/25 conventional service)
- to Lima: 09;30 (Julsa s/90), 11:30 (Civa), 11:50 (Julsa)
- to Cuzco: 13:00 (Friday only, Civa)
Vans to PunoShared van service to many destinations congregate in a parking lot north of the border post. There are signs indicating each destination, but someone will shout Puno at you before you can locate them. It's said the vans take 2 hr to reach Puno, against 3 hr by bus. Per person, s/25.
Pedicabs and motocars (tuk-tuks) are plentiful on the Peruvian side — you can find them right near the border. The going rate to cover the 850 m separating the border post from the bus station is s/1 (October 2018). Walking there is easy and takes about 10 min.
Transit between the twin towns is free, and you'll see lots of people crossing the bridge without stop at the immigration. Don't be fooled, they are locals. Everybody is required to complete immigration procedures if traveling further.
JettyIf you really have nothing else to kill time on, contemplating life gazing at Lake Titicaca is the way to go. Keeping your sight far away helps to ignore the trash near the shore, but the landscape is gorgeous. It can be windy and chilly there, even under the sun - bring a coat.
For pedestrians, these below are the ones to go. For vehicles, there is a larger bridge a few blocks south.
Immigration Post - BoliviaThe area is not well signed. The border post is a long building, and the immigration post is reached through the side closer to the lake shore. Officers might occasionally ask for a copy of the entrance stamps - fear not, there's a photocopy service exactly across the street from the immigration room, copies for Bs. 0.50 each side.
Immigration Post - PeruThe building entrance is close to a roundabout with a sculpture, and is clearly signed. Coming from Bolivia, it's on the righthand side.
Currency exchanges are present on both sides, where you can buy your bolivianos or soles. There is a whole line of them on the Peruvian side.
There are lots of stands selling food and drinks on the Peruvian side. There are even some people selling fruit on the bridge itself!
Lodging is available on both sides of the border.