Lago Titicaca

The bus ride from La Paz took 3.5h to Copacabana, the main Bolivian town on Lago Titicaca, and costed 30 BOB. When approaching the lake after 2.5h the views from the bus were really beautiful and it made you wanna see more of it. We also crossed a small passage by ferry until we eventually arrived at Plaza Sucre. I immediately walked to my single room apartment with shared kitchen and bathroom (55 BOB a night) which was just 7min walking distance.

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The next morning I used the opportunity to prepare myself a hearty breakfast which I had missed doing. Then I explored around town for ferry tickets to Isla del Sol and for bus tickets to Cusco in Peru. Since Copacabana is very easy to walk it did not take a long time and so I was able to use the afternoon to visit some close by Inca sites.

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Frankly, they were not spectacular. For the Pachataka (10 BOB entrance feer) I walked up for 15min a small mountain and found a small altar there. That was all. Much better were the views of Copacabana and Lago Titicaca!

And for the other Inca site, Baños del Inca, I rented a bicycle for 3 hours for 35 BOB and cycled east of town where I reached the site after 30min. Again I was a bit disappointed: The most interesting thing in the museum (10 BOB) was a mummy. From the small water channels around the museum, and the terraces on different levels one could derive that the Incas used to use this complex for agricultural purposes. The bathing apart from the running water was not as obvious.

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On my way back, I stopped by at one of the floating islands – basically a recreation area with a restaurant, trout fishing and pedal boats. I enjoyed the lake views while having a Pacena, a local Bolivian beer.

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The highlight of the day though was the ascent to the summit of Cerro Calvario (free) where one gets rewarded with 360 degrees view of Lago Titicaca and the area. Here I could see as far as Isla del Sol.

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In the evening I had a freshly grilled trout which Lago Titicaca is well-known for. I had it at one of the food stands at the shore. It was good and cheap (25 BOB) and came with rice, fries and salad.

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The next day I took the boat to head to Isla de la Luna and Isla del Sol (30 BOB one way). Both islands were considered holy by the Incas and they believed that their god Viracocha called the sun and the moon from the two islands. The boat ride to Isla de la Luna took us 2h and we were allowed to spend 50min on this small island.

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We visited Inca ruins which looked much better than the ones in Copacabana (10 BOB entrance fee) and enjoyed the views from the mountain top. 27 families inhabit this small island – all of them are Aymaras and they basically live off tourism and agriculture.

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After 45min on the boat we reached Isla del Sol where I stayed for two days. This island is much bigger than Isla de la Luna and has a much better coverage of hostels and restaurants. Plus it has a lot of hiking treks to offer.

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Upon arrival everyone had to pay an arrival fee of 10 BOB. My hostel, Hostal del Sol, was located at the top of the steep hill and it took me 50min to climb the 1.5km. Luckliy, I had stored my big backpack in Copacabana!

The views from the hostel’s backyard were very beautiful so I enjoyed them while taking a rest from the climb. I used the remainder of the afternoon to hike to two different lookout points in proximity of my hostel. The vistas were just amazing!

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After a good breakfast I headed in the same direction as the day before. I followed the “official” hiking trail towards the town of Challa which lies northern of Yumani, the town where I stayed. After 45min of walking I ran into a small hut with a sign saying “Boleteria”. An old Aymara woman approached me and told me I cannot pass since this is the red zone. When I asked why she was mentioning something about a conflict which I have heard before from other travelers. I asked whether tourists are part of the conflict and she said yes. When I asked what the conflict was exactly about she refused to answer. Anyhow, I had to turn around and pursue my plan B, namely hiking the southern part of the island.

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And that’s what I did for the next three hours. First, I visited two small beaches on the southwestern side of the island. These were one of the most tranquil spots on this journey and a great place to relax from noisy La Paz. Afterwards, I headed towards the southern tip of the island were I could spot the village of and as well Copacabana.

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On the way back to my hostel I passed by another Inca ruin (again no information available as in all other Inca sites in Bolivia!) and a small forest. Then I saw to my surprise one of the famous Aymara ships which had a lot from a vikings boat!

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In the evening I had an excellent Filet Mignon and went to bed early in order to return to Copacabana with the earliest morning boat (30 BOB). Back in Copacabana I prepared everything for my next day’s journey to Cusco, Peru. Hence, this was my last full day in Bolivia – what an action-loaded country!

Lago Titicaca does not seem to be overrun by tourist and it’s nice to spend a couple of relaxed days at the highest shippable lake of the world. Day temperatures were nice for hiking th ough the nights got quite cold (around 5 Celsius). I’d say it’s worthwhile a visit if you have enough time and wanna get out of busy La Paz. But it is not as spectacular as I had expect it to be.

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