Lake Titicaca, Bolivia: Do It

I can’t help but giggle a little bit when I say the name Lake Titicaca. It’s a junior high school joke that I can’t let go of, so when I knew I was going to be in Bolivia, of COURSE it made sense to make a visit.

A view of Copacabana and Lake TIticaca

Situated between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca (hee hee) is enormous. It straddles the two countries and is the origin point of the Inca civilization. We used Yampu Tours again to coordinate our quick trip up to the lake and back and everything went smoothly.  We had a driver and a guide (as well as a private boat and ferry, so fancy!) and reservations were made for us.  The drive back into LaPaz was incredibly hectic, so it was nice to have a comfortable ride.

It’s a somewhat long 2-day road and boat trip from La Paz, but well worth squeezing it into your itinerary if you’re in the country. It was better than expected!

Copacabana

The hopping off point on the Bolivian side of the lake is Copacabana, a small touristy town on the southern tip of the lake. Like many small/mid-sized towns, there’s a cathedral (this one has an interesting story of a Madonna that was carved to look like a monkey—the Virgin Morena) and a market area. Not much else to see—the big attraction is the lake.

Lake Titicaca

Our boat trip involved a private boat trip over to Isla del Sol for a delicious typical highlands lunch called an Aptapi at a hacienda.  We then took the boat on a trip over to the Island of the Moon to visit the Inca Pilkokaina Inca temple, then a trip back to Isla del Sol and a hike across the island to the Ecolodge La Estancia to stay the night. The ferry boats across to the islands are small, and if the weather is good, the rooftop seating is quite nice (again, watch for strong sun!). The trip to Isla del Sol is about a 2 hour boat trip, and the Andes are on full display.  The majority of our time was spent hiking around the island and relaxing at the ecolodge, which was a remote but relaxing spot.

Lunch on the terraces

 

Inca Stairs
Inca Ruins on Isla del Sol
A view of the Andes from the Estancia

Sleep It

Ecolodge La Estancia: Simple and charming, the Estancia is a hike up from the boat port up the famous “Inca Staircase.” Incas really love climbing stairs. Packing lightly is advised, but the Estancia also provides luggage service via donkey. The rooms are simple, as are the included meals, and the views are incredible across the lake to the mountain ranges.  It is an ecolodge, so they use solar power and water conservation is encouraged.  They have cool “black boxes” used for solar powered heating in the rooms.   Ironically, they have a website but no WIFI.

See It

Pilkokaina Inca Temple: Located on Moon Island, you climb a set of stairs from the beach to the temple, which has 3 different examples of Inca architecture.  It’s a nice boat ride across from Isla del Sol.

Inca Ruins on Isla de Luna

Isla del Sol: Make sure you wander around the island to check out island life. Small farm plots, neighborhood dogs, and charming houses are the main attractions, as is the occasional donkey or pig.

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