Entering Bolivia at Copacabana, it´s hard to remember this is a landlocked country. Wide enough the horizon is flat in places, with sandy beaches and the occasional seagull, Lake Titicaca is a beautiful concession for the Bolivian people´s stolen coastline.
Although Copacabana itself is touristy, a beachfront plagued by swan-shaped pedalos, the lake is enormous. Walk for half an hour in either direction and you´ll be alone in rural Bolivia.
To the North, pigs and donkeys line the dirt road while indigenous ladies pick at the earth for their potatoes. With time, energy and the lake on your left, you can walk all the way to the
headland and see the outlines of the legendary Islas del Sol & Luna. Along the way the countryside swaps between traditional farmland, the lake fringed with reeds and ducks, to severe rocky
cliffs and tiny beaches below.
Walking is obviously free and there are plenty of places to explore, but for B20 you can catch a small boat to the magical Isla del Sol itself where the Incas believed their Sun God was born.
Apart from the various Bolettos (amounting to about the same price again if you want to walk the whole length of the island), life is equally cheap and even less stressful than the
As there are no cars, the best way to discover the whole island, which is 14.3km², is to stay for a night and walk around at your own pace. The atmosphere is relaxed and with "ports" in the North and the South, we decided to walk up along the ridge in the morning and spend a night in the less populated Northern side.
This view is just a glimpse of the patchwork farmland and glassy, patterned water we could see below...
Exploring on foot you can find deserted beaches with crystal clear water, fishing families going about their everyday lives and a great view of the snowy mountains on the mainland if the weather is clear.
Amazingly we found a hostel with lake views and a private room for B20. To find it, in the Northern side of the island, cross away from the beach where the boats leave from to the quieter side of the headland where there is another stretch of sand. It´s called Hostal a la Playa.
Below is the view from our budget hostal one evening... :)
Lake Titicaca is a beautiful, safe place to relax after crossing the border. If you have time for more than a day trip, you can also discover some of this altitude´s most abundant flora and fauna.
It´s important to note that at around 3800m, with strong winds and sun, it´s easy to get dehydrated or suffer from altitude sickness. Bring plenty of water, food, suncream and maybe a hat.
You should try the local fish. Trout (trucha) is especially popular and quite delicious when fried with butter.
Both were very basic, but clean with private bedrooms and friendly staff.
Thank-you for reading!
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Crossing the lake with the bus. ^