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Isla del Sol

This will be the quickest post in the world because I only have about twenty minutes until Mike and Dave get back from grocery shopping and then we have dinner reservations at a lovely restaurant here in La Paz. Then it’s off to bed. Tomorrow we have to be at the bus station in the Cemetario district at 6 a.m. to catch our bus to Charazani. We will spend the night in a hostel and Monday we will arrange for a guide and mules. Our trek through the Cordillera Real begins Tuesday bright and early.

So we arrived in La Paz last Tuesday night, dirty, tired, and hungry. We spent Wednesday tooling around the city, running errands, exploring. Thursday morning we were up at 6 a.m. to catch the 7 a.m. bus to Copacabana, which is a beautiful town on the shore of Lake Titicaca. We ate lunch at a beautiful – though expensive by Bolivian standards – restaurant and happened to bump into the Canadian women we’d eaten dinner with our first night in La Paz. They told us we could take a ferry to Isla del Sol for about two US dollars and that sounded wonderful to us. We’d originally planned to hike six hours from Copacabana to a tiny village where we could catch a short ferry to the island, but we were afraid we’d make the hike, then not have time to enjoy the island. The ferry ride was lovely and we reached the Sacred Island of the Sun in under two hours.

To get to our first camping spot we had to hike about two hours, entirely up hill and mostly up steps. But the scenery – the surrounding villages – were so enchanting I don’t know the words to describe it. We ate lunch at a tiny restaurant run by a husband and wife. He took our orders and she cooked the meal. We ate quinoa sopa, trucha, pollo, and a queso omelet. And of course we had cups of coca de mate to help with the altitude. We were over 13,000 feet at that point. After lunch we continued to hike up the island with the lake surrounding us on all sides. We met two American trekkers and walked with them for a while, led by two little local children who asked for five bolivianos as soon as we reached the campsite. I also had to poop in the woods for my first time that day – which was a little tramautic, I’ll be honest. There were tears. I’m not going to lie. But once I did it I realized that it was much nicer than any of the public restrooms I’d used in the last several days.

Speaking of restrooms, there are banos publicos everywhere you go, but you must pay one or two bolivianos to get toilet paper, none of the toilets have seats, most of them only flush by pouring a bucket of water into the basin, and there is never any jabon at the sink if there is even a sink. Also, just like in Greece, you cannot flush your toilet paper but must drop it in the waste basket next the toilet. Yummy.

We camped that night in a lovely spot where we watched the sun set on our right and the moon rise on our left. We were up by 5 a.m. the next morning, so we could get an early start on our trek to the Incan ruins. We reached the ruins in three and a half hours with nothing but crackers in our belly. We had assumed there would be a market on the island but alas, it was 2,000 feet below us in another town and so we ate crackers instead. In the afternoon we ate lunch at another tiny husband and wife owned establishment and then napped on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Later that afternoon we hired a private boat to take us to Yampupata for 15 US dollars. Mike and Dave rode on the top of the boat and I slept underneath. Between the sun, the hiking,  and the altitude I was beat. When we reached Yampupata we took a moment to pump water from the lake into our hydration packs and nalgene bottles. Dave took a refreshing swim and I wanted to, but I would have had to strip down to my skivvies in front of a family washing their clothes in the lake nearby and I was afraid of offending them. That was also the afternoon Mike was nearly attacked by a muy aggresivo pero and for the first and hopefully last time in my life, I had to throw rocks at a dog. I am not proud of it, but it was that or watch my husband have his limbs torn off.

Our table is ready and I still haven’t told you about our hike from Yampupata back to Copacabana, the incredible breakfast we ate on the floating island where they caught, gutted, and fried our fish in front of us, the lovely afternoon in Copacabana, the drive through El Alto and the people dancing in the streets…. this place, this country, these people are absolutely enchanting. I am enchanted and in love.

Until next time mi amigos. Buenos noches!

P.S. My spelling is atrocious, I’m sure. Especially the Spanish. Forgive me! xoxo

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  • Tara

    It sounds Wonderful (and Better You than Me)!

  • Titicaca.  I hope you took pictures.

    Love you, and I’m sorry you had to throw rocks at a dog.  But I’m glad you saved your husband.

  • Yay! Glad to hear you’re having a fun-filled time with such amazing experiences!! I cannot wait to see pics when you return. 🙂 

    • Oh good. Because I will probably be posting Bolivia photos for the next millionty days. 😉