Relaxing on Lake Titicaca: Copacabana & Isla del Sol
While J and I first hit the stunning Lake Titicaca in Puno, Peru, we decided to wait until we crossed the border into Bolivia to really experience it, as we heard that side was ¨better.¨ Though with views like the one below, we were kind of doubting how that was even possible.
[box] A quick note on crossing the border into Bolivia as an American citizen: Show up prepared. You need a copy of your passport, a passport photo, a copy of your yellow fever vaccination, a hard copy of your hotel or hostel reservations, proof that you are leaving the country (a plane ticket home out of any country will suffice), and lastly $55 USD for a 30–day visa.[/box]
Just eight kilometers past the border lies Copacabana. a tourist mecca right on the shore of Lake Titicaca.
Super laid–back with plenty of quinoa sushi and lentil burgers to satisfy traveler´s tastebuds, it´s the kind of place people visit intending to stay a few days but find themselves working for room and board weeks later. May is the beginning of Bolivia´s winter (prepare for freezing temps, literally) and low season, but I hear in the warmer months Copa is quite the place to party.
And just when you think Titicaca couldn´t get anymore beautiful, there is Isla del Sol. A slow two–hour boat ride from the mainland, the island is famous for its views and ruins, the latter of which I skipped. Arrive on the south side of the island and you will be greeted by numerous hostels and restaurants. Don´t be tempted by a cold beer with a great view, or scared off by seemingly never–ending stairs to the top (but seriously, at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet, do yourself a favor and leave your big bag in Copa) keep going, much more awaits you.
Both the south and north sides of the island have plenty of tourist accommodations, many starting at less than $4 per night. We got a room for about that here and loved it:
We spent our first night enjoying the endless sunset and sampling Bolvian products: locally
caught farmed trout, which was delicious, and a Bolvian wine called Kohlberg, which I wouldn´t even recommend to someone I hate.
Isla del Sol is one of those places where the views are so mindblowing from every single direction that they make drinking a cup of 50–cent instant coffee feel luxurious.
watery luxurious mug of coffee we set off for the north side of the island, needing to catch the last boat back to Copacabana at 3 pm, and regetting we didn´t have more time. Seriously, I don´t know how people take daytrips here, you easily need two nights to see it all. Anyway, there are lovely trails around the island, but be warned that you need to carry small change because different communities will charge you ¨tolls¨ to pass through. Annoying, but no more than $2 each. Don´t lose your tickets!
We were constantly in awe of how every view managed to be even more beautiful than the last.
We were truly sad to have to leave Isla del Sol after just one night, and decided that any extra time we have in Bolivia will be alloted to returning.