Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Copacabana & Isla del sol

After missing our tourist bus from the main bus station (lunch was late :s I blame Lucy :p) we managed to catch another bus from the cemetery to Copacabana. We probably should have taken this route to start out with - it would have been cheaper and the buses are more frequent!

The ride to Copa was spectacular - Bolivia has this capacity to stun with its amazing scenery. We saw white snow capped mountains extending away from the plains as we made our way to the lake. When we got to the lake the bus had to take a ferry to get across the water to the peninsular that Copacabana sits on. This meant we had to get off and take another ferry - the wooden barge the bus went on was a bit precarious!

Luckily both us and the bus made it to the other side without getting wet.

We arrived in Copacabana in time to see the sunset - beautiful! And checked into a cheap hostel for the night. 

The next day we arranged tickets to the largest island on lake Titicaca - Isla del Sol. We headed to the North of the island to see the Inca ruins there before trekking along the ridge through the centre to Yumani - the settlement at the South of the island.

Rainbow over the lake as we waited for the ferry

Traditional reed boat with puma heads 

Beaches at the north of the island. It was stunning in the sun (you would expect that for Isla del sol) but not quite swimming weather.... We were still at 3,800m!

The walk up to the Inca ruins was through terraced fields and groves of eucalyptus

.... with the odd cactus thrown in too!

The island gets quite rocky on the way up to the Inca ruins

Gorgeous views from the top! 

The Incas thought the sun god was born here - hence the island name. So there are lots of ritual sites centred around worshipping the sun god.

Including sacrificial tables!

The labyrinth 

After wandering through the ruins and eavesdropping on the guides we headed for the path at the centre of the island - just a quick 4 hour walk to the south where we planned to stay the night - again with stunning weather & views!

There were several unexpected tolls on the route.... The locals made sure they got your money!

Finally arriving in Yumani! We headed down to the harbour for a beer in the sun before checking out guest houses.

Gorgeous greenery on the way down

The Inca steps and spring at Yumani

A well deserved rest!

Snow capped mountains appearing from the cloud across the lake

 We walked up the hill for sunset - but it was too overcast for a good one - on the way we met a couple we had seen on the boat over and we grabbed a pizza together. The next morning we were all on the same boat back to Copa.

We spent another night in Copacabana as we liked the quaint town and we hadn't tried the local lake trout yet. This turned out to be a wise decision as a strike in Peru had closed the road for the day!
The Bolivian navy, Copacabana division (the only division?) a bit of a joke given that Bolivia hasn't had a coast line since Chile occupied it!

Copacabana is famous for its Virgin - she is housed in a huge church in the centre of town - it looks large for the population - but they inundated with pilgrims on key festivals so it needs to be this large! The Virgin is rarely removed from the church as the locals believe this will result in floods. Copacabana beach in Rio is named after this religious site in Bolivia.

There is a short hike up to the hill above town - following the stations of the cross - that gives great views:

Shrines at the top of the hill

Cat contemplating the sunset

Another stunning sunset!

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