Titicaca Lake and Isla Del Sol:

Must-Sees of Bolivia

June 17, 2016  |  By Melanie Hazenberg, Netherlands

Titicaca Lake and Isla Del Sol:

You can do a lot of things in Bolivia. For example, cycling on the death road, enjoying the nature in one of the national parks and climb the top of the Tunari Mountain. Those are all amazing things but that is not everything yet. Between Bolivia and Peru the beautiful Titicaca Lake is located. In the books this place is highlighted as one of the must-sees of Bolivia, so you must see it!

The Titicaca Lake lies on the border between Peru and Bolivia at 3808 meter above sea level. With an impressive surface of 8400 kilometer the lake offers enough activities to be there at least for a week. The most touristic place around the Titicaca Lake is Copacabana. This place is on the Bolivian side of the lake and offers a large beach where you can relax for a couple of days. You can do a lot of sport activities like; canoeing, jet skiing and lots more. This place is very touristic so you will definitely see more tourists than locals. There are also a lot of restaurants with a huge variety of food. They offer local as well as international food.

The transport
When you start your trip to Titicaca in Cochabamba, like we did, it is a bus drive of eight hours to La Paz. Once you are in La Paz you have to go to the terminal where you can take another bus to Copacabana. We did not know that, so we thought we missed our bus stop. The taxi we took had to take seven people in the middle of the night to the terminal, so it cost 80 Bs. (Bolivianos) for one taxi! We had to take two. That was quite a lot, but if we knew the right location at the moment, it would probably cost less. We drove first to the wrong one; luckily the second one was right. The bus to Copacabana is 30 Bs. This bus will take you to the Titicaca Lake where you have to cross the lake with a ferry. It was a bit strange; because it was just like all the tourists had to get out while the locals could stay inside. We ‘kind of’ enjoyed the boat trip of 2Bs. to the other side, so it was no problem at all. The ferry was moving a lot, so I am happy that I did not get seasick. When you are at the other side you can get in the bus again and it will continue. After an hour you have to get out at the main plaza of Copacabana. There is a big statue at the main plaza of Copacabana. As soon as you see the statue you have to get out.

Copacabana; touristic place

Copacabana is definitely the most touristic place in Bolivia I have ever seen. Around the lake there are so many tourists that you can barely believe it. The view is amazing. After being in Cochabamba for almost three months without seeing any water, this was unbelievable and made me very happy! Now I can continue the rest of my stay here! We sat for a long time on the roof garden of a restaurant with food, something to drink and music while the sun was a delight. Also the restaurants really looked beautiful. All the restaurants have typical Bolivian decoration everywhere. Besides the feeling of holiday the weather is not the same as in Cochabamba. It is really cold on this side of Bolivia. When we arrived in the early morning it was around 5 degrees Celsius. When you are used to the weather in Cochabamba, the temperature is really freezing.

The famous Island Isla Del Sol

When you are in this beautiful place located next to the lake you have to visit one of the many Islands. The most famous Island in this lake is Isla Del Sol. We went there with the bus of 1:30. You can sit on the roof of the boat or inside. To see the beautiful view of the lake it is the best to sit on the roof, but remember to take warm clothes with you, because it is freezing cold during the 1,5 hour boat trip. With seven Projects Abroad volunteers and three other people we sat on the roof of the boat while we were shivering. We put all our clothes on. After 1,5 hour with the boat you are in the South of the Island and you can continue to the North if you want. You can continue by boat or you can walk to the other side. Remember that there are only three boats going to the Island in one day. This means that you have to take the early one at 8:30 so you can go back at 1:30. We did not know that. We took the ferry of 1:30 to the island without knowing that there was no boat going back. So we had to stay there. It was an experience, but luckily we found a cheap hostel in less than a minute. It only charged 20 Bolivianos for one night. 

Hiking tours

The next morning my friend and I woke up early to do a hike to the South. We wanted to see something, so we decided to wake up early to hike and enjoy the view of Isla del Sol from the top of the mountains. The way up to the peak was easy. I think we were there in around thirty minutes. So we thought that we could go further. When I looked further I saw somewhere a landmark so I thought it was the top. We also saw some people at that point, so we decided to continue our hike to the landmark. When we arrived at the landmark, we saw the point where we had to pay to go to the other side of the Island. The Inca-people who are living in Isla Del Sol clearly understood the cash opportunity of tourism. You have to pay 10Bs. to enter the north of the Island. To enter the south you pay again 5Bs. If you want to walk from North to South you should see a lot of people coming to you saying that you have to buy a ticket. My friend and I had no money so we just walked the other way hoping that they would not come behind us. Luckily, they did not. We got really lost somewhere in the mountains, but after a hike of three hours we finally found the way back down. We ran down the mountains, because we thought the ferry should leave in ten minutes. Unfortunately, the ferry already left. The five others were on that ferry, while one was waiting for us. After our hike we went home. 

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