And…. we’re in Bolivia! Time is flying on this trip. We’re about half way through our time in South America and we’ve entered into our third country here. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and that’s evident by the lower standard of vehicles on the road, the more broken-down appearance of the houses and the cheaper beer prices!
Our first stop in Bolivia was Copacabana (the hottest spot north of Havana… I swear, that will be my only Barry Manilow joke in this post!) a small tourist town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The lake itself is stunning… deep blue and huge. Standing on the beach you’d swear you were looking at the ocean rather than an endless expanse of sapphire lake.
Copacabana is a typical South American tourist town with numerous pizza restaurants, undrinkable water and cute dogs that follow you around the streets (I’m not allowed to pet them in case of rabies.) We spent a few relaxing days in Copa enjoying the views of the lake, sharing bottles of wine with Briony and James who were also there and enjoying excellent sun sets.
Off the coast of Copacabana (where music and passion were always the fashion… I couldn’t help myself!!) is Isla del Sol. The Incas believed that Isla del Sol was the birthplace of Manco Capac, the first Inca and the son of the Sun. There are Inca ruins all over the island and you can take a boat to the north end of the island and hike the 10k to the south end of the island.
And… that’s what we did. Getting there required a bizarre boat ride in which our driver managed to flood the engines and come within inches of crashing our boat into a stone landing, but we arrived at the north end of the island safe and sound and ready to be on dry land!
The hike has several strenuous uphill sections, made all the more gasp-inducing thanks to the altitude of over 3900m (about 2.5 miles above sea level!) We took our time and stopped often to enjoy the views over the lake and the wonderful cool breezes. The sun shone down bright and warm over the vistas of steep hills, small cacti and multi-coloured stones. It was easy to believe that this may in fact have been the Sun’s chosen birthplace.
We spent the night on the island and watched the sunset over the lake from the top of the village on the south end. We then treated ourselves to a dinner of trout from the lake, a glass of Bolivian red wine and a very cozy bed. In the middle of the night a rain storm lashed the island and we felt very tucked up and snug in our little room under the heavy alpaca blankets. After three days in Copacabana and the accompanying loop of Barry Manilow in our heads, the trip to Isla del Sol was relaxing and relieving.