Our time in Bolivia couldn’t have started in a better way. Once we leave Puno behind we arrive to Copacabana (not the Brasilian one 😉 ) and from there a 2h30m hour boat to Isla del Sol. We are so lucky to make it to the last boat (at 2pm), as it took us more than 1 hour to cross the border from Peru to Bolivia!
Isla del Sol is a real island in the Titicaca lake, on the bolivian side. The boats take you either to the south side or the north side of the island, and since we’ve been told that the south is more touristic, with big hotels, and restaurants, we decide to go to the north one. We are so pleased to be here! It was definitely worth the 9 hours journey (4h bus Puno-Copacabana +1…h border formalities + 2…h boat ride + some waiting time).
The island is really nice, very rural (you find pigs, donkeys and chicken running around, even on the beach!) and its people are friendly and peaceful. Once you arrive to the island as a foreign you have to pay an entrance fee (15 bolivianos /person). You must pay that, either when you set your feet on the island (there is a guy waiting for the boats at the dock and chasing you asking for the fee). You can still pay for the ticket later, but it’s best you get it right then, as you have no chance in visiting the ruins without it.
There is a nice path crossing the island from north to south that takes 3-4 hours to complete, and on the way there are some ruins from the old inhabitants of the island. However, we want to be more adventurous and we walk the little paths randomly until we realize we are heading nowhere. Anyway, the views are impressive, the landscape breathtaking and we fill our SD card with tones of beautiful pictures. Even though we can’t manage crossing the entire island (as we spent so much time wandering around like two more wild sheep), we enjoy the walk very very much! As the island is so high, the sun hits strong, so strong that we find a skull on the way… (see attached picture).
We stay at hostal Sol y Luna, the lodging is basic, very basic, but rooms are loaded with blankets and we aren’t cold at all during the night (Titicaca is above 4000 m, so it does get cold at night). And on top of that, the old man and his daughter taking care of the place are the sweetest people ever!
Many people camp directly on the beach, but we can’t imagine spending a cold night in a tent.
Foodwise, the village doesn’t have much to offer, and expensive (advice, bring some food/water if you want to spare some money). So, we enjoy ourselves eating super tasty and oily empanadas and salchipapas, doesn’t fat provide energy for the hikes and against the cold 😉 ? Then, it is the perfect diet.
After two amazing days on the island, we are sad to leave, but La Paz is waiting for us. The boat ride back to Copacabana is a little bit more uncomfortable than the first one, as we share the early public boat with many villagers (who don’t pay for the ride) and there is absolutely no control on how many people get into that boat… at least we can get a seat, as many other people, who did pay the ticket, have to stand the 3 hours ride.
Did you know that…
… there are no motor vehicles or paved roads on the island?
… in the religion of the Incas, it was believed that the sun god was born here?
… Isla del Sol is 3925m above sea level and its highest peak reaches 4075m?
- Landscape: Really beautiful island, not much vegetation, bring your hut and sunscreen. Ideal for day hikes! 😉
- Accommodation: Despite it is very basic, it is what makes the island even more charming.
- Empanadas and salchipapas: Not the healthiest food, but really tasty! don’t miss the “cheese-tomato-basil” empanadas!
- Entrance fee for tourists: Even though we understand that tourists have to pay their contribution to the island, we didn’t like the way the responsible chased us just when we set our feet on the island (the fee could be included in the boat ticket).