You’ll leave Isla del Sol, an island on Lake Titicaca, claiming to have day tripped on “the world’s highest commercially navigable lake”. I bet you’ve just been waiting your whole life to say that, huh? But having seen many of the world’s relatively oldest, biggest, unnecessarily tallest, and arbitrarily best attractions, I can safely say that Lake Titicaca is absolutely worth a visit. It might be the world’s highest, and South America’s second largest, but grandeur aside, it is a lovely place exploding with Bolivian culture.
Stretching some 190 km, Lake Titicaca stands besides the Great Lakes in size with a delightfully Bolivian twist. On a quick jaunt from Peru, you’ll find the shores of Copacabana speckled with hardworking women in bowler hats, wearing braids that would take finer haired women a lifetime to grow. You can order trout fished straight from the water, cooked at least thirty different ways, for $3 a plate. The balsa boats call to pre-Colombian times, and no one really mentions the swan-shaped boats and XORBS in the harbor. Lake Titicaca is surprisingly kitschy (as evidenced by the very weird hillside hotel) but these are the things that bring Lake Titicaca from slightly overrun natural wonder to delightfully bizarre. And with just a day to spare, you can venture by boat to the jagged Isla del Sol. The Bolivian island is less popular than the reed islands on the Peruvian side, and with Incan ruins and panoramic views, it’s pretty damn beautiful.
Want to go? Here are some photos from the altogether stunning Isla del Sol. Practical information on how to visit Isla del Sol, Bolivia at the end of this post!
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Isla del Sol Travel Information
How to get from Cusco to Copacabana: Here’s all you need to know about getting to Bolivia via the Yunguyo Border Crossing.
How to get from Copacabana to Isla del Sol: As of 2017, ferries depart Copacabana at 8:30 and 1:30 with return at 10:30 and 4:30. Roundtrip transport from Copacabana to Isla del Sol (ida y vuelta in Spanish) is 35 Bs. (~$5) and takes about 2 hours. Try to avoid operators departing from the center of town as they oversell the boats. Instead, look for vendors near the edges for a more comfortable ride. If you’re keen on advanced planning, check out the Isla del Sol tours on Viator.
Isla del Sol Map: While Isla del Sol is tiny, there are quite a few attractions and hiking trails worth visiting. Pick up an Isla del Sol map in Copacabana (see below) for help navigating the island. There is no need to hire a guide on the island, though there are plenty of tour companies that offer them if you’re looking for more information.
Isla del Sol Accommodation: Isla del Sol has plenty of hostels, ecolodges, and quirky looking domes where you can spend the night. Prices are slightly higher than what you’d pay in Copacabana, but accommodation in Bolivia is relatively cheap anyway. The most popular accommodations on Isla del Sol are Utasawa and Ecolodge la Estancia. Plan your trip on Booking.com.
Other Tips: Food gets more expensive once you get to Isla del Sol. Before embarking to the island, walk along Avenida 6 de Agosto to pick up coffee and empanada to go for 11 Bs. (~$1.50)