On the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, in the town of Copacabana (nope not that one), resides La Virgen de Copacabana who provides blessing and protection to vehicles. If your car is in need of blessing this is the place to get it done.
The Benedicion de Movilidades (Blessing of vehicles) takes places twice everyday, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Thinking that it would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to have Marlin blessed by a priest of the church of the Virgen who protects cars, we rolled up on a Saturday morning eager to take part.
How to get your car blessed:
- Pull up in front of the church, park where the attendant tells you to.
- Hire car washer. Cost: 10 Bolivianos ($1.50 USD)
- Buy your blessing ticket in the church. Cost: 10 Bolivianos ($1.50 USD)
- Head to the stalls in front of the church to purchase the decorations for your car. You can mix and match but a completa (a complete set which includes an arrangement of fresh flowers for the front of the car, two bouquets for the side mirrors, and a garland). Cost: 20 Bolivianos (under $3USD)
- Don’t forget to buy a bag of flower petals and fireworks and some drinks for after the blessing. Cost: 15 Bolivianos ($2.25 USD)
- Wait for the priest.
- Once the priest has blessed your car, the village women to come around and give the car a second blessing this time to the pagan gods. Cost: 10 Bolivianos ($1.50)
- Light the fireworks, throw some petals and have a drink.
Total Cost: $9.75 USD for one heavenly blessed vehicle.
Ironically enough we experienced our first car incident three hours later in La Paz. Nothing major just a minor scrape.
Cost: 20 Bolivianos ($3 USD).