Lake Titicaca is the highest altitude lake in the world. Now I’ve been to various lakes, which hold different records and most have disappointed and not lived up to expectations. It was with this in mind that I expected Lake Titicaca to be a wasted journey.
The entrance point in Bolivia is via a town called Copacabana (the lake is so big that it also borders Peru). Interestingly, the town is what gave the beach in Rio its name and not the other way around. Copacabana is pleasant enough. It’s got an Indian sort of vibe in the sense of having a number of relaxing restaurants and cheap places to stay. It’s got a nice mirador a short walk uphill from the town and a pretty large church, with an impressive interior (unfortunately no photos were allowed). The main attraction, the lake, looks just like a lake. I prepared myself for disappointment. And for many people, I guess they are. Most skip over from here to Peru or return thinking they’ve seen ‘the lake’. However, an hour and a half away is an absolute treat of an island, which absolutely blew me away.
Isle Del Sol is according to the locals the birthplace of the sun. It even has footprints. And who am I to argue. Long sleeve shirt, trousers, baseball cap, four litres of water and sun cream at four different points, still almost led to heat stroke. You don’t sweat on the Isle Del Sol, you just get battered. The island reminded me a lot of Nepal. Firstly it’s pretty high at around 4000m. Secondly, most of the accommodation and restaurants are run by old ladies, whose husbands are elsewhere. Everyone smiles and says good morning or hello. A few ask for pennies and one or two try to scam you. Oh and then there’s the beds. Hard mattresses with too many rugs to count and fantastic kids bedding (I had Disney Cars).
The island is an absolute hikers dream. I did two different walks. The first was by far my favourite and is one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Walking to the ‘lighthouse’ and the islands most southernmost tip took me through a sun burnt landscape with a deep blue sky and a lake forever changing colour. I barely passed anyone and when I did, it was normally a local taking one of their many animals for a walk (sheep, donkeys, alpacas, pigs etc). On the second day, I walked the whole of the island. Again it was a great walk, however, I arrived in the north at the same time as the tour groups who had arrived in their hordes to see the Inca ruins. That was a bad timing, as otherwise the trails had mostly been deserted. As for the Inca ruins, which the island markets itself on? I didn’t really get them. They looked like some of the stone shelters in the lake district and as for the sacrifice table, well that was just a stone on top of four others. Nah, Isle Del Sol shouldn’t sell itself on Inca ruins, but instead on its outstanding beauty. I’ll leave you with a few photos to show what I mean.