A walk around Lake Titicaca
So this is where it all began. The Inca dynasty rose out of the lake here and proceeded to take over South America. This place was obviously a big deal, the highest navigable lake in the world, and the largest volumous lake in South America, but I didn’t realize quite how impressive it would be. In complete honesty, I can say that this was the most beautiful, picturesque walk I have ever done. The proof is in pictures, the photographs I took made me look like a pro photographer, however, regrettably this is absolutely not the case and they pay sole tribute to the stunning scenery that we passed.
We arrived in Copacabana from La Paz, which was the perfect base for exploring the deep blue shimmering expanse that is Lake Titicaca and for a trip over to Isla del Sol.
Somewhere between a hike and a walk this suited our agenda just perfect. It was going to take between 5/ 6 hours and would direct us along the coast to the spot where we could catch a tourist boat across to Isla de Sol. So, leaving our large backpacks at the hotel and just taking the essentials, which included a pack-lunch and sun screen, our expedition began.
As soon as we turned the corner from Copacabana and were making our way along this dusty track extreme happiness swept over me. The clarity and vivacity of the colours in this landscape, opened my eyes to this bright new world; The vast, bright, pure blue sky above our heads, the one moment navy, then green, and at times electric turquoise of the sparkling waters, combined with the coloured patchwork of this agricultural paradise had a contagious awakening affect on me. All that lay ahead was the golden yellow brick road rolling before us, we had the countryside to ourselves and it was ours to explore!
Occasionally we passed Bolivian women dressed in their traditional colourful cloth and bemused farmers, as we cut through this extraordinarily peaceful land. We traversed the island, and every corner turned and every hill we went over go over, provided a stunning vista. Lake Titicaca lay before us shimmering still and calm, and with its gemlike islands I was beginning to understand why so many liken this scenery to the Greek islands.
At roughly 4 hours in, we sat to rest just outside a little village, and tucked into our packed lunch. We were exhausted. But perched on top of a hill with a view down onto the lake and our first sight of the famed reeded floating islands below, we were not complaining. These islands, known as Uros, are artificial, they are constructed out of reeds and lived in by traditional tribes, and although originally designed for defence mechanisms, providing lookouts across this vast ‘sea’, they are a major tourist attraction.
As we tucked into our Sandwiches, an old bolivian man popped up by our side. Before we knew it he had launched into a proud explanation, introducing himself as ‘the famous Hilario!’. His name was mentioned in the German, French, American, Spanish, Russian, (the list went on) guidebooks. Anyway, we soon discovered that he was offering to take us over to Isla De Sol on his small motor boat. We were a little sceptical, and although he assured us that his price was the same as the other boats going from the main docking point, we stayed doubtful. So we got back on our feet ready to tackle the remaining miles of our journey. Or not. We discovered we could hardly move, so stiff and worn out we called Hilaro back over, and made it was a done deal. He dropped us off at the edge of the Isla de Sol and we walked a short way along the coast to the main village. As soon as we arrived, we found a place to stay and went out to watch the sunset. Another stunner. But, so completely worn out, we needed to be fed and put straight to bed.
The Island of the Sun is the legendary Inca creation site, this made the sun clearly integral and essential to Inca mythology, and ironically it also took a fundamental position in my memory of this island. We had been warned that the sunrise was a treat that should not be missed, so, fortunately having made the effort to be awake in time, this moment did turn out to be a spectacular highlight I will never forget. After a good nights sleep we waited snuggled in our sheets, fully prepared (we had even moved the bed into the prime viewing position) as the sun started to peek up over the mountains behind the lake. All of a sudden the rays from the sun fired up into the sky bursting over the ridge, giving the appearance of a volcano erupting. It was phenomenal.
This was the most perfect and inspirational start to a day that I have ever experienced. We then walked about 3 hours to the north end of the island where we caught a boat back to Copacabana. I left commending the Incas, It was definitely a good choice to mark this inspirational land a legendary site in their magnificent empire.