Isla del Sol and Copacabana

As our Peru adventure in Cusco and Machu Picchu took an end, a new one started in Bolivia.

The bus ride from Cusco to Copacabana is around 8 hours with 1 hour and a half lay off in Puno. You have the option to see Lake Titicaca both from Puno (Peru) as well as Copacabana (Bolivia) but we chose the latter based on friend’s recommendations.

Many countries don’t require a tourist visa for Bolivia but depending on your nationality, a visa on arrival might be applicable. After crossing the border to Bolivia and going through immigration for about 40 minutes, we finally made it to Copacabana!

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Our first stop was at Manchester United café, located in front of Lake Titicaca and the docks. I highly recommended the traditional Trucha (a la diabla). After lunch, we walked around town and the central market and bought bus tickets to La Paz for the next day in a travel agency (there are many around the shops and restaurants) for 25 bolivianos each or about 3.60 USD.

We were told by the travel agency not to pay for boat transportation in advance so we walked around the dock and received different prices for one way tickets to Isla del Sol north (400 bolivianos at one point! This is obviously way overpriced). We ended up paying 40 bolivianos each (6 USD), a very reasonable amount. The point is to ask around to find the best available prices, don’t just buy it from the first person that offers you a boat ride!

Isla del Sol has a south side and north side and we decided to stay in the north side. The boat ride to Isla del Sol north was about 2 hours and during the ride, you can see the beautiful Andes on the background. We finally arrived to the island late in the afternoon during the sunset.

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Isla del Sol north with the Andes in the background

Isla del Sol north is a relatively small in terms of infrastructure and population, with just a couple of hostels and restaurants. We saw some people that would camp by the shore with their own tents, so that’s another option that you have. We decided to settle with Hostal Cultural. A clean room with a private restroom and 2 beds started at 40 bolivianos or about 6 USD per person.

The next morning and after a quick breakfast, our 4 hour walk from the very north of the island to south was about to begin. The boat from the south side was leaving to Copacabana at 3:30pm so we started the walk the earliest possible.

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As you walk up the hill, some of the most amazing views are there for you to contemplate throughout the trail.

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Once you make it to the very end of the north side, you’ll stumble upon some ruins that worth checking out for a bit. Throughout the trail, you’ll be charged with fees when going to the ruins and crossing from the north to the south side. So it’s a good idea to carry some bolivianos with you.

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North side ruins

After walking for a little over an hour through the trail, you’ll start seeing changes in vegetation that provide a perfect contrast of the lake and the island.

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The walk is long depending on your pace but I would say that the average time is about 3 hours and a half. It took Jose and I about 4 hours because we were carrying all of our backpacks (you can leave your luggage in a storage room in Copacabana, some hotels provide this service). Make sure to carry sunblock, plenty of water, a hat and comfortable clothes.

As we finally arrived in the south side, we felt relieved, yet we knew that the long and tiring walk has been worth it.

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Isla del Sol south

When we took the boat back to Copacabana at 3:30pm, our bus was scheduled to depart at 6:00pm to La Paz, our next destination.

Contemplating Lake Titicaca from Isla del Sol is a truly beautiful experience that I hope to repeat it one day.

Next Stop: La Paz.