Peru to Bolivia – the malice of crossing borders and traveling through time zones

isla del sol, Bolivia

When traveling you need to be aware of certain things that could happen to you. Pickpocketing, you missing the plane, people trying to mislead you. Bottom line, you have to be attentive to a lot of things. But you’re not. At least not all the time. Neither was I..

Here’s what happened:

After spending roughly 4 weeks in beautiful Peru I took a bus from Arequipa to eventually arrive in Bolivia. The ride was alright. It was an overnight trip so I could rest a little. At around 10am we arrived at the Peruvian-Bolivian border. Everybody had to leave the bus. While we had to pass the border control on our own walkine, the police was checking all the luggage in the bus so it could pass the border. Then, on the other side of the border we got on the same bus again and continued our journey. So far so good.

40 minutes later we finally arrived a small fisher town at the lake Titicaca. Leaving the bus there were guys waiting to sell boat tickets to Isla del Sol and other stuff. Since I wanted to go and stay on the island anyway I asked for the next boat to leave. He told me that next boat would leave at 1.30pm. So I bought a ticket and went to a restaurant in town to eat.. I was starving. After I had eaten and payed the bill I checked my watch – almost 12.45pm. Enough time to walk down to the harbor and find the guy who sold the ticket. He said he’d wait there. Shortly after 1.00pm I arrived at the harbor. It was not that big – but I didn’t see the guy. I kept walking around and looking for him or the boat. There was the name of the boat on the ticket. Couldn’t find him.. neither the boat. At 1.15pm I decided to ask some guys if they know the company or the boat, respectively. They didn’t. However, they were very friendly and started asking around to some other guys. No one could help though. Eventually, one of the guys asked me to show him the ticket that I bought. He looked at it and checked his watch. With a smile on his face he then asked: „Are you coming from Peru?“ I was confused at first but confirmed with a „yes“. „My friend, the ticket says that departure time is at 1.30pm – it’s almost 2.30pm right now“, the guy said. I began to understand and started laughing. I hadn’t changed my watch. I wasn’t even aware of the fact that Bolivia is 1 hour ahead of Peruvian time. And there was no sign at the border like „Dude, change the time on your watch – we’re 1 hour ahead!“. Neither do you „feel“ the difference in time when crossing the border on your feet.

Anyway, I missed the boat by almost 1 hour. I was lucky, though. The next, and last boat of the day was leaving 30 minutes later. So I bought another ticket and finally got my ride to Isla del Sol.

It was the first and I guess the only time that this has happened or will happen to me. I will always check the local time!

isla del sol, Bolivia


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