Cerro Calvario (Calvary Hill) is a hill in Copacabana lined with small monuments representing the 14 Stations of the Cross. Pilgrims visit the Stations for prayer and penance and many tourists climb the hill for its fine views.
History of Cerro Calvario
The Stations of the Cross were built on this hill in the 1950s, when the government decided Copacabana should have more to offer its thousands of pilgrims than just the Basilica of the Virgin.
What to See at Cerro Calvario
The trail to the summit begins near the red chapel at the end of Calle Destacamento 211. At the bottom of the stairs, a man can tell your future by dropping lead into a boiling pot of water. About halfway up are native priests burning candles and working with coca leaves. Here you can stop and learn about the ancient rituals of fortunetelling.
There are fine views from the top, and this is an excellent place to watch the sunset over the lake. A hike to the summit takes about a half an hour. To return to the city, return by the way you came or take a rocky path on the west side of the hill that leads to the shores of the lake.
Festivals and Events
On Good Friday, thousands of pilgrims journey to Copacabana - some on foot for the entire 158km distance from La Paz - to do penance on Cerro Calvario. At dusk, a solemn candlelit procession begins at the Basilica of the Virgin and winds through town, led by a statue of Christ in a glass coffin and a replica of the Virgen de Candelaria.
At the summit of Cerro Calvario, pilgrims light incense and buy mini replicas of various material possessions that they hope the Virgin will grant them during the year. A local priests speaks to the crowd through a microphone and a military band plays dirges.
Quick Facts on Cerro Calvario
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||16.161777° S, 69.091258° W|
|Address:||Av. Las Heroínas, Copacabana, Bolivia|
|Hours:||Tue-Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 9am-8pm|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Cerro Calvario|
Map of Cerro Calvario
Below is a location map and aerial view of Cerro Calvario. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.