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Lake Titicaca and Copacabana Bolivia

Lake Titicaca, Copacabana and Isla del Sol – Bolivia

June 26, 2014 – June 28, 2014

Full Copacabana Photo Gallery Here.

Our next destination would be the beach town of Copacabana along the Bolivian shores of Lake Titicaca, and Isla del Sol, (Island of the Sun). After a van from Ollantaytambo to Cusco, Peru, an all night bus from Cusco, and yet another colectivo van ride, we found ourselves near the Bolivian border along the shores of Lake Titicaca. We hopped on a moto-taxi, a rickety underpowered three-wheeled covered motorcycle, for our ride to the border.

Our moto-taxi at the border.  A bit scary on the highway getting passed by vastly larger and faster vehicles.
Our moto-taxi at the border. A bit scary on the highway getting passed by vastly larger and faster vehicles.

After checking out of Peru we heard a familiar voice call “Ricardo” and low and behold, it was our friend Gary from the Huayhuash trek.  We agreed to contact him later in Copacabana.  After making our way through the visa process we were free to enter Bolivia. We were greeted at the border by a strike and a group of protestors. In order to make their political point-which remains unclear- they blocked the road with large rocks and downed trees, complemented by threats to any drivers to have their vehicles stoned. As a result anyone crossing the border would have to walk 2 kilometers down the road to the end of the road block where buses and taxis were waiting to pick people up. During the long walk down the road, carrying our heavy packs in the hot sun, we were left to contemplate the success rate of getting voters to sympathize with your cause by inconveniencing them and making them walk kilometers down the road.

Krista at the border of Peru and Bolivia, guarded by impenetrable orange cones.
Krista at the border of Peru and Bolivia, guarded by impenetrable red flags.
Rocks and logs formed an improvised road block by protestors at the border.
Rocks and logs formed an improvised road block by protestors at the border.

After making it through the gauntlet of logs, rocks and protestor’s stares, our first impressions beginning to form, we caught a colectivo a few more kilometers down the road to the town of Copacabana on Lake Titicaca.  Despite the roadblock, we only missed the first few minutes of the USA versus Germany World Cup soccer game.

Krista at the beach in Copacabana, Bolivia
Krista at the beach in Copacabana, Bolivia
Copacabana, Bolivia - Lake Titicaca in the background.
Copacabana, Bolivia – Lake Titicaca in the background.

After exploring the town we climbed the hill that rises above it to watch the sunset over Lake Titicaca, a very popular activity.

Copacabana, Bolivia
Copacabana, Bolivia

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Sunset on Lake Titicaca.
Sunset on Lake Titicaca.

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After catching the sunset, we made our way into town and met up with Gary, our friend from our ten day Huayhuash hike who happened to be in town at the same time.  We went downtown to check out the action, the town was celebrating and the cholitas were out dancing in the streets.

Cholitas dancing in the plaza.
Cholitas dancing in the plaza.
A popular Bolivian beer.
A popular Bolivian beer.

We spent the night in Copacabana and the next day decided to visit Isla del Sol, Island of the Sun, a popular island tourist destination just off shore.  According to Inca legend, the first Inca leader Manco Capac emerged from this island.  The island is within sight of the city and not that far off shore, but the ferries try to conserve fuel so it was a slow three hour boat ride at a snail’s pace to the village of Challapampa, on the north end of the island.  Kids meet tourists at the dock to sell rooms for the night.

The small village on the north shore of Isla del Sol.
The small village of Challapampa on the north shore of Isla del Sol.

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Our plan was to spend the night in the tiny village on the north shore and then hike the length of the island the next day, passing Inca ruins and great views along the way, and finally catching another slow ferry for the boat ride back to Copacabana. Overnight Krista developed a terrible cold, but still opted to complete the hike.  After so much hiking in the mountains, it was refreshing to have so many great views of the water.

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Lake Titicaca.
Lake Titicaca.
The path along the length of Isla del Sol.
The path along the length of Isla del Sol.
Inca ruins, this stone table was used for various sacrificial rituals.
Inca ruins, this stone table was used for various sacrificial rituals.
Ruins of an Inca city on the north end of the island.
Ruins of an Inca city on the north end of the island.

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A sheep farmer crossing the island.
A sheep farmer crossing the island.

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The town at the south end of the island, where we caught the boat back into Copacabana.
The town at the south end of the island, where we caught the boat back into Copacabana.

After arriving back in town we found a bus which got us into La Paz around 10pm that evening.