Ken, we made it to Titicaca! And I know in my heart you were there with us every step of the way. ❤
Our first big adventure in Bolivia was just off the coast of Copacabana. Off to the birthplace of Inti, the Incan Sun God. Isla del Sol is located on Lake Titicaca, one of the highest navigable lakes on earth. And at almost 4000m I would say it’s one of the highest islands in the world as well, but I have no credentials for such things.
The island has as little as 800 families living on it and approximately 0 motorized vehicles. There aren’t any paved or even cobble-stoned roads anyways, so we were each taking two feet and a heartbeat. There is no better way to see a place!
We came across a wide variety of ways to tackle Isla del Sol. We were super happy with the way our trek worked out so here are the deets, in case you find yourself there wondering what to do!
We purchased our boat ride the afternoon before we left from the little blue kiosk on the beach. We grabbed one way tickets to Challapampa on the North side of the island on the earliest boat available for 25Bs (about $4 or $5 CAD). Why did we do this? Well it meant we would be dropped off with the most amount of time possible to explore our way to Yumani on the Southern end of the island and find a place to stay. No rush, no fuss! And waaay better than a tour because we could go where ever our hearts desired and at our own pace. We would stay the night to give us more time to check out the Southern part of the island the following day. Then grab a boat back to Copacabana some time in the afternoon. And that’s pretty much the gist of it. Aside from an extended stay with someone on the island, or camping on the north beach that is the best way we rekon, to do Isla del Sol.
There weren’t really any hijinks or shenanigans on this adventure. Oh, except maybe for when we ran out of gas 20 minutes out from the north dock! That was pretty funny to watch. It was especially entertaining when 5 or 6 ladies surrounded him to take pictures, while he was scrambling to siphon gas out of the spare engine. I’m sure he loved that! More importantly though, we had no injuries! It was a pretty exhausting trek though, so be prepared for a good 4 or 5 hours to make it across. Depending of course on how long you linger in the villages, ruins or shear beauty that present themselves along the way.
Now, enough of the boring wordy part. Here’s what you really came here for!
I did have a pretty cool experience capturing this sunrise shot. There was a friendly dog living at the hostel we stayed at and we had made nice the night before. I got up and out the door around 5 a.m. and headed down the path to try and find a good viewpoint. To be honest I was feeling a little nervous walking around the island in the dark alone. Lucky for me the friendly dog decided to join me for a walk. Right off the bat, on my first steps off of the hostel property the dog had a growling match with what I can only assume was another dog. He cleared the way and off we went! Sweet, I had a guard dog with me for me trek. I ended up making it to Yumani, then walked through the forest and found myself in an opening at the edge of the island. The dog explored the area for about 15 minutes then came back and laid down beside me for the rest of the time. Being alone in the dark on a strange island in the middle of nowhere was a little unnerving but my friend made me feel at home. Besides, what could really be on the island aside from maybe other dogs? I wasn’t really happy with the sunrise and didn’t get a shot I liked, but the whole experience itself was well worth it. Thank you friendly dog friend!
We also took some time to check out Copacabana itself while we where there. It’s a very cool little town.
The Stations of the Cross look out is on the edge of the lake and in the south of the town is the Horca del Inca, which was ancient pre-Incan astronomical observatory. Mistakenly named “Inca Gallows” by those gold seeking Spaniards. It is a really fun climb and well worth the view! Which you can see below.