Cerro Calvario: Sunset Over Copacabana

Copacabana’s prime location on the shores of Lake Titicaca offers up some unbeatable views of this massive lake and the stunning Andes mountains that surround it. Cerro Calvario is a great spot to take in these views, especially for sunset. Not only are the views quite amazing, but it is free to visit and is only a short stroll up the hill from Copacabana.

These crosses sit atop Cerro Calvario
These crosses sit atop Cerro Calvario

Getting to Cerro Calvario

The sendero al Cerro el Calvario, or path to Cerro el Calvario, can be reached by walking to the end of either Calle San Antonio or Destacamento 211. These streets will turn into the path up the hill. A short ways up the path, you’ll see the first of many cross structures. This spot also offers a pretty view of Copacabana and the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Copacabana.

Looking back towards Copacabana as we ascended the hill
Looking back towards Copacabana as we ascended the hill

Copacabana sits at high altitude and the hike is fairly steep, but there are plenty of great spots to take in the view as you catch your breath. The saddle of Cerro Calvario and its neighboring hill was a pretty spot to stop before the steep ascent to the top. There is a shrine of sorts that sits here, and there are a couple makeshift benches on the grassy hillside.

We took a moment to take in the views half way up to the top
We took a moment to take in the views half way up to the top

The last portion of the climb up to Cerro Calvario consisted of rocky steps and small switchbacks. We encountered quite a few people along the trail. In total, the walk from town to the top of the hill only takes 30 to 40 minutes.

Watching Sunset From Cerro Calvario

Upon reaching the top of the hill, we were greeted by a row of cross structures. Cerro Calvario is a popular site visited by pilgrims in the area, so it is important to be respectful of those who have come here to pray. While it was very beautiful up there, there was quite a bit of graffiti and trash littering the area.

Lot's of graffiti, but the views are great!
Lot’s of graffiti at Cerro Calvario, but the views are worth it!

Many vendors tended their posts, selling trinkets and snacks to visitors. We walked to the end of the hill overlooking the lake and found a perch to sit on as we watched the sun set. As the sun began to drop towards the horizon, other nearby groups settled down as well. In the evening light, Copacabana took on an orange hue and the waters of Lake Titicaca turned an even deeper blue.

We left Cerro Calvario as it began to get dark. Supposedly, there is a trail that leads town the lake-facing side of the hill, but we retraced our steps back to Copacabana for dinner.

Overlooking the bay as a storm rolled in from the mountains
Overlooking the bay as a storm rolled in from the mountains

Where is your favorite spot to watch sunset?

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