Copacabana, Bolivia

The holy city of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The white Basilica of the Virgin can be seen on the left, while Calvary Hill rises on the right. Photo Creative Commons License Christopher Walker.

Copacabana is a holy city on the shores of Lake Titicaca in northwestern Bolivia. Once sacred to the Incas, Copacabana is now home to the revered statue of La Virgen de la Candelaria, the patron saint of Bolivia. This city is far less famous than the beach of the same name in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but the latter was named after this one—by grateful Brazilian fisherman who were saved from a storm by the Virgin of Copacabana. In addition to the Catholic basilica, Copacabana is home to several pre-Incan sacred sites and hosts a number of colorful Catholic festivals. And it is the best base in Bolivia for exploring Lake Titicaca and the ancient temples of Isla del Sol.

Virgen de la Candelaria
This sparkling white basilica is home to a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary made by an Inca craftsman in 1576. The patron saint of Bolivia, the Virgin of Copacabana receives many pilgrims and festivals in her honor.
Horca del Inca
A Pre-Inca site despite its popular name, this trilithic gate perched on the hillside is surrounded by pierced rocks that permit the sun's rays to shine onto the lintel during the solstices.