In our last post we showed you the highest capital city on earth and now here is the highest lake!
Lake Titicaca is truly a natural wonder, with the drive taking you through the mountains and rural villages then slowly revealing itself through the valleys. Our first thought was “this must be a the sea” cause it is so big. Most lakes or lochs in Scotland, you can see the land masses at each side but with Lake Titicaca the water merges with the blue sky for miles and miles.
We booked a tour with Bolivia Hop which wasn’t such a bad idea in the end but you can get collectivos from La Paz. We had a early wake up of 2:00am with a pick up at 3:00am then a 2hour drive to a ferry crossing point. The road to Copacabana is divided by the lake itself so requires the bus to unload and be taken over by a not so safe looking shallow ferry while we are taken over by small fishing boats.
From the other side, it is an other hour to Copacabana. This little village isn’t to be mistaken for the beaches in Brazil but definitely makes up the lack of sand in true Bolivian character.
The shore is lined with balcony cafes and the Main Street has a selection of local shops and restaurants. Be aware, Lake Titicaca is cold but grab a blanket, take a seat on a deckchair and look out into the peaceful water for hours on end.
We had a short meal break then ended up buying two woven jumpers from a street stall. Susannah also insisted on buying the national indigenous flag patch cause “it was rainbow and I love it”
Hint: When buying from stalls make sure you have cash. We found a stall that took MasterCard but ended up running to a bank machine anyway!
With our tour we had booked a boat trip to one of the many islands inhabited within Lake Titicaca; Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) This was a 1 hour boat ride and passes “the lonely tree island” (name credits to us). Isla del Sol doesn’t really become clear until 30-40minutes into the journey, definitely leaves you guessing where you are going at all.
We were dropped off on the south side and we would be picked up on the north. If you are on the local boats these will drop you off on the North.
First thing you realise is the isolation of the island itself. The only access is by boat but besides this, the island is well looked after and maintained.
Second, is the history with ruins that resemble an ancient temple and rumoured to be the birth place of the sun god. We wandered in and out of the various doorways for 15minutes then followed the path along side.
Third, is how high you are and how damn hard it is to walk this path. It is steep and with the attitude we really started to gasp half way.
Forth, how awesome alpacas are. Alpacas line the route giving you cute motivation along with locals asking where you are from and selling hand woven fabrics and clothes.
Fifth, the view at the top of the hill is a reward worth waiting for. There is also a restaurant with some over priced fizzy drinks.
After these 5 realisations, you make a descent into the village. If you have enough time, we would recommend stopping by at one of the local restaurants and pick up a meal made from the freshest ingredients which won’t set you back to much either.
You can also stay here! A ecolodge is located in the south and we counted 5 Hostels in the village. Though these might be on the pricey side, the sunrise and sunset must be worth the money.
We made our way down to the harbour and enjoyed the view before rushing to buy a ice lolly and board our ride to Copacabana.
Hint: It is worth carrying a few beers with you and enjoying them on the boat trip back while having an incredible view.
On the trip back to La Paz we had some time to spare at the other side of the lake crossing and sampled some street food in the square costing us 3 Bolivianos!!
We returned at 22:00 to La Paz after a memorable adventure.
Lake Titicaca is definitely a stop you make on your journey!