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Lago Titicaca

last days in bolivia

Story by Heather & Pravin July 10th, 2017

We made our way out of La Paz on a minibus heading for the town of Copacabana, situated on Lake Titicaca, at 3800m above sea level. Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America, and is bordered by both Bolivia and Peru. Upon arriving in Copacabana, we found accommodation for the night at a guesthouse, and headed out to eat the most typical meal in Copacabana, and also one of my favourite dishes - trout. For $3 each, we had a delicious lunch of quinua soup, a whole trout, potatoes, rice and salad.

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Copacabana itself is extremely touristy, with the main road leading down to the lake lined with almost identical-looking tourist cafés, bars and travel agencies. We opted to stick to the local spots while we were there, and ate delicious, incredibly cheap trout for three of the five meals we had in Copacabana!

The town has an incredible location on the shores of the vast lake and is surrounded by hills. We walked up a long, steep set of stairs to a viewpoint for sunset, and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the surrounding area at golden hour. Although it was quite warm during the day, the moment the sun goes down the temperature drops dramatically and we were glad that we had brought layers up to the viewpoint for the walk back down.

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The next morning, after cooking breakfast on our camp stove in our hotel room, we set off on a boat ride to Isla del Sol. The Incas believe that Isla del Sol was the birthplace of the Sun God, and the island is strewn with Inca ruins and is now sparsely populated with mainly indigenous families. There are no roads on the island and no motorized vehicles, so visitors and residents must walk or use livestock to get around.

We had originally planned on camping for a couple of nights on the island and walking from the south to the north, but a dispute between communities on the island meant that the centre and north parts of the island were closed to tourists. As we were limited to exploring only a small part of the island, we instead opted to spend only one night on the island.

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After disembarking from the 90 minute boat ride, we ascended the Escalera del Inca (Inca Staircase) up from the village of Yumani, and then climbed past gorgeous terraced fields and small farms and up to a small mirador with a spectacular vista. Here we sat for quite some time taking in the view, and then Pravin cooked quesadillas for lunch. Once we were ready to move on, we continued along the stone-paved paths and wandered through another village before eventually arriving at another beautiful mirador. We set down our packs to enjoy the view for a while, and then a local woman selling handicrafts came to join us. After chatting with her for a while, she gave us permission from her community to camp at the mirador that night, so we decided to do just that. We had a relaxing afternoon enjoying the sun and the solitude, but once sunset came around, quite a few other people came up from town to enjoy the fiery sky.

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Once the sun went down, we were all alone at the lookout as the temperature dropped dramatically. We bundled up with all of our layers to cook dinner by headlamps in the pitch-black dark and below zero temperatures, and were wowed by the millions of stars in the incredible night sky above us.

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Sunrise the following morning was equally as spectacular as sunset, and we had only to climb out of our tent to see the morning skies. After cooking breakfast and making coffee with an unreal view, we hiked back down to the village of Yumani to catch the ferry back to Copacabana, where later that same day we caught a night bus across the Bolivia-Peru border to Cuzco.

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Footnote: Next up: Cuzco & Machu Picchu
Lake Titicaca