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“You have to go to Isla del Sol – it’s magical,” were common words as we travelled through Bolivia. It’s the legendary birthplace of the Incas, where the god Viracocha made his first mystical appearance, and it’s full of Inca ruins. People tend to wax lyrical about it’s tranquil, mystical nature, and we were keen to see it for ourselves. Here’s our visit in photos.
To get to Copacabana on Titicaca’s shore, we took a coach from La Paz. At one point it had to cross some water on a very rickety raft that wobbled its way precariously across the lake. Although the adventure was tempting, we were pretty happy when we realised all the passengers had their own separate boat.
Once in Copacabana, we caught another boat to Isla del Sol. When we first arrived, we were greeted by these huge steps that we had to climb to get to our hotel. We felt pretty happy that we’d left our big rucksacks back at our hotel for the next night, La Cupula, in Copacabana.
The views en-route to the hotel eased the pain of trekking at such high altitudes. The still blue of the lake is mesmerizing.
The islanders on Isla del Sol rely heavily upon tourism. This lady was collecting fees for entry into part of the island called Yumani.
Steve and I went out for a walk around Yumani and passed some donkeys along the way…
…as well as a herd of sheep and lambs.
Yumani is said to have more pizzerias per head than Rome. We saw a fair few, but the best one was Las Velas, which you get to via a short walk through the forest. The views, of course, are stunning.
…although sometimes it’s good to put the camera down and simply soak it in.
When we got back to our hotel, we watched the disappearing sun and enjoyed the changing colours of the sky as night drew in.
The next day, we began our walk to Cha’llapampa on the other side of the island where we were to catch a boat back to Copacabana. Along the way, we passed the ruins of many agricultural terraces, which showed the scope of the island in its hey-day.
This beach and water looked deceptively inviting, belying the freezing temperatures.
At the end of the day, we returned back to Copacabana by boat. A lot of people don’t like the town because it’s very tourist-ready, but look past that and you can see what a beautiful place it is. We loved it, especially the view from our hotel La Cupula.
Visiting Lake Titicaca was definitely one of the highlights of our time in Bolivia – and we’re now happy to utter those same words that were said to us: “You have to go to Isla del Sol – it’s magical.” I don’t think there’s a more appropriate word.
Useful information on Isla del Sol
It takes about an hour and a half to get to Yumani from Copacabana, or two hours to Cha’llapampa. Boats leave in the morning and afternoon. We stayed in Pala Khasa Eco Lodge in Yumani, which was cosy and had gorgeous views. In Copacabana, we stayed at La Cupula, which was beautifully designed and had a brilliant restaurant. Run by some people from Switzerland, there is even fondue on the menu. If you are staying a night on Isla del Sol (which we definitely recommend), we’d advise that you leave your main luggage back at a hotel in Copacabana. The hiking trails are steep at times and the altitude makes the walks quite difficult – just make sure you bring everything you need.