Spectacular views and mysterious history
high altitude may cause some disfunctions (eq. headache)
After doing a daytrip to Isla del sol, the only conclusion I can come to is that it is the biggest tourist trip I've encountered in South America.Guide books may tell you there is an English speaking guide awaiting tourists at the south end of the island, he in fact does not speak any English. We paid for the guide because the paths over the island...more
This is just an one room museum but it is definitely worth a stop. There are displays of many Incan artifacts. The 5 BOB museum entrance fee also covers the Chincana ruins. Be sure to save your ticket. A guy will ask for it at Chincana (and Pilko Kaina too) or you will have to pay again. There are also bathrooms next to the museum (the last you...more
Isla del Sol and its little sister Isla de la Luna are located in the Bolivian part of the Titikaka Lake, and you can easily reach them by boat from Copacabana. Isla del Sol is bigger and it holds a population of 3.000 native people.Main attractions are the ¨Escalera del Inca¨and the Fountain of Youth, from which the legends says that anybody...more
The Chincana ruins are characterized by Incan trapezoidal doorways and niches. They are built around a spring on the west face of a hill. The mountains in the background are in Peru. It is thought to have been a grainery for sacred maize and the home of the mamaconas (Virgins of the Sun), who took care of the shrine at the Rock of the Puma. See...more
The Mesa Ceremonica is near the upper part of the Rock of the Puma (in the background of the picture) on Isla del Sol. It may have been used for animal or human sacrifices. This picture is looking north toward the Rock of the Puma. The Cara de Virachoca (Face of Virachoca) is in the center. The niches for the sun (Refugio del Sol) and moon (Refugio...more
This local restaurant was indeed a family house where the living room was turned into a restaurant adding a few tables and candles. Most restaurants here are the same, and they offer an only menu, soup and trout or similar, with tea as dessert (16 Bs, 2 USD). This one was at the top of Yumani, with wonderful views to the lake. At night they have...more
That night I was wandering around the dark alleys of Yumani and sit at a slope to contemplate the night landscape towards Moon Island. Then suddenly the moon appeared and I thought: Why not trying to make a good night shot? So I made a few trials and this is what came out...Nevertheless the night and landscapes were fantastic, no matter how the pic...more
Nights at Isla del Sol are really dark, as there is no electric light in the streets, only a few houses have it. Even in some restaurants all you can find is candle light. So bring a good torchlamp.I liked to sit at the terrace in silence and watch the million stars above. This place is so high and dark that you can see many many starts in the...more
I took a bus from Copacabana to La Paz. At one moment the bus stops. In the beginning I thought it was just a break but all the locals went to a small ferry. The bus got on another one. The boats put us on the other side for a bit of money.Two other tourist on the same bus didn't follow the locals and just looked in a shop. They had to rent another...more
It is very reasonable to hire a private boat to take you from Copacabana to Isla del Sol. That way you can conveniently stop in several places. Captain German charged 450 BOB for a day and a half. That included the ~2 hour trip from Copacabana to Challapampa with a stop at Huancani to drop off the luggage. He then picked up the luggage at Huancani...more
Outside a small rock house in a village on the ridge trail, near the cutoff for the shortcut to La Estancia.
What to buy: I bought a carved wooden statue for 40 BOB and a small wooden pitcher for 20 BOB. The statue had a frog on the back, which means good fortune. You could see that someone had already been rubbing it. Hey, I guess it worked for them. The fellow to my right actually did the carvings.
In the introduction I proposed a modified legend, i.e., a different Rock of the Puma. This idea came after remembering Ashley's revelation and doing three things in the past couple of days, i.e., finishing Robert Silverberg’s “The New Springtime;” seeing National Geographic’s Megadisaster show on meteorite impacts; and seeing PBS’s show on DNA...more
When I was there I saw many hippies around, it was like going back to the 60s, long hairs, sandals, Indian stuff... In Copacabana you could see them at the strteets selling neckless, laces...And I guess if I was a hippy, Sun Island would be a great place for me: mystic, isolated, natural, cheap, beautiful...more
When you arrive in the boat, first thing you have to do is climb some endless stairs with your rucksack. At the middle of the stairs there is a nice fountain, very tempting indeed. It was very useful to wash face and head, but I was warned not to drink from it, as local water might be harmful for foreign stomachs. So bring your own water!more
Make sure you give yourself a good helping of suncream because at such high altitude you'll burn more easily and also the cool air can make you forget you're roasting under the sun. Our entire group had red faces the day after our trek, and a few days later we were all peeling to the extreme. You were warned.more
There is only 2 ferries to Isla del Sol. If you go in the same day, the ticket to go and return is 15 Bs (1,8 USD).
BUT if you go, sleep there and return the next day, you can't have a return ticket. You have to buy a single ticket (10Bs, 1.2 USD) one way, and buy another ticket when you return...
BUT this ticket suddenly is more expensive the moment you want to take the boat back. Then the ticket to return to Copacabana happens to be 15Bs instead of the promised 10
Unique Suggestions: OK, is only a 60 CENTS difference, so you shouldn't be really worried about that, but you really feel traped when buying the fake ticket!
As I arrived to the island I found those enormous stairs that lead to Yumani. Suddenly several young boys came to me offering me their services as porters. It was sunday, so I guess there had some free time and wanted to earn some extra money so I let one (about 10 years old) carry my heavy rucksack (see pic). He did a wonderful job, and I could...more
This relatively flat island (just low hills) seems to be a good place for hiking, many people come here and do the 10 kms from north to south walking, seeing a few inca ruins on the way.
South Village:Pros: amazing views, lots of hotels & restaurants. You get to see the sunrise AND the sunset.Cons: you need to climp up the stairs first (but you get to drink from the fountain of youth on the way). No running water in the hotels. No interesting sights nearby.North Village:Pros: Lake beach with pretty waves. Hippies. Running water....more
Yumani is the south village of the island. In the north there is another village called Challapampa. The boat stops at both. Most people disembark in the north, visit the ruins, then go hiking to the south, sleep there and take the morning boat back. There is really not much to do/see in Yumani, just a few restaurants and hostels...more