In Copacabana, we boarded a small boat to Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) and sat on the top deck. The ride was windy and cold but I enjoyed the scenery. Lake Titicaca is a strong shade of dark blue and the contrast against the clear Bolivian sky was an incredible sight. On the way, we passed by the Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon), where the Incas believed the rising of the moon was commanded. The ride took about 90 minutes.
When we got to the island, we walked up a small path through a sparsely populated village. At the beginning of the path were the statues of two Incas. I stopped and took a quick drink from the “fountain of youth” before continuing.
We passed small children playing with alpacas and through a terraced farm. Once we reached the top of the path, we could see the lake and it was pretty level the rest of the way. The scenery was breathtaking and the air was crisp and clean.
About 40 minutes later, we reached a small Inca temple dedicated to the sun, Pillkukayna. The Incas believed that the Sun God was born on Isla del Sol. I was given some time to explore the temple.
Finally, we sat on a small dock and enjoyed the scenery for about 20 minutes before boarding the boat back to Copacabana. Seeing the snow-capped Andes mountains in the background was easily one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. It helped me forget the troubles from earlier in the day.
Pedro and I both napped on the way back to Copacabana. He was a very good guide and even though he only spoke Spanish, it was an informative and entertaining tour for me. He led me back to the bus and I got back to La Paz at around 10:30pm.
Had I been able to stay, I would have seen one of the clearest skies in the entire world. When I stayed overnight on the Peruvian side in 2009, it was one of the most memorable nights of my life, staying awake as long as I could to see what the night sky is supposed to look like.
I also found the Bolivian side to be much less touristy and much more authentic. It’s definitely more rustic and charming, and also cheaper. Many hotels in Copacabana were offering rooms with private bathrooms for 40bn (about $6!). Hostels were even cheaper. There is also simple accommodation found on Isla del Sol. The tour offices are all very competitive and offer good deals for Isla del Sol overnights and many more activities around the lake.