Chile - Bolivia 2006

Travel time: March / April 2006  |  by Valerie Couarraze

Lake Titicaca - Isla del Sol

World's highest navigable lake with its 230 km long and almost 100 km wide, Lake Titicaca separates Bolivia from Peru. The water level has been increasing in the past years putting up the depth of the lake at more than 450 m! Bolivians say they have the "titty" and the Peruvians the "caca". Both islands Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna contain plenty of signs from disappeared civilizations and stay magically on quiet waters.

It was hard to believe that the bus would make it on this other side! We understood why we had to take another boat...

It was hard to believe that the bus would make it on this other side! We understood why we had to take another boat...

An Amayran told us that the previous name of Lake Titicaca was "Mother of the Lagune". Titicaca itself comes from "Titi Khar'ka" meaning Rock of the Puma; it refers to the famous rock on Isla del Sol not far from the Ceremonial Table.

Commandant Cousteau discovered in the 90s a ruin city of the Incas underwater including pure gold. The legend says that once the Spanish came to colonize this region, the desperate Incas hided their gold into the lake; with the several water floods and the level increase other ruins and treasures may have been deeper inundated.

Isla del Sol, 4.000 m: a beautiful vehicle-free island where it is more than pleasant to walk on, a being part of its astonishing Mediterranean-like nature, going through its villages, exploring its ruins, talking to some of its 2.500 inhabitants and discovering more of its secrets. I did not want to take too many pictures, but I could have almost every 3 min!

Isla del Sol, 4.000 m: a beautiful vehicle-free island where it is more than pleasant to walk on, a being part of its astonishing Mediterranean-like nature, going through its villages, exploring its ruins, talking to some of its 2.500 inhabitants and discovering more of its secrets. I did not want to take too many pictures, but I could have almost every 3 min!

A boat of this sort already crossed the Pacific!

A boat of this sort already crossed the Pacific!

Mesa Ceremonica (Ceremonial Table). This table has been the witness of many many animal and human sacrifices. An Amayran told us that concerning the human part, it was only beautiful young girls. There were selected at an early stage, grown on the Island of the Moon together with the other, were carefully treated and respected as they were the connection to God. For the girls it was an honor to have been chosen. And on the 21st of June of each year, one was sacrificed. With sacrifices Incas mostly wanted to obtain vision, power and wisdom from their God. 
The table is sometimes used as a picnic table probably by tourists who do not know that it once served for human sacrifices. Well, good lunch!

Mesa Ceremonica (Ceremonial Table). This table has been the witness of many many animal and human sacrifices. An Amayran told us that concerning the human part, it was only beautiful young girls. There were selected at an early stage, grown on the Island of the Moon together with the other, were carefully treated and respected as they were the connection to God. For the girls it was an honor to have been chosen. And on the 21st of June of each year, one was sacrificed. With sacrifices Incas mostly wanted to obtain vision, power and wisdom from their God.
The table is sometimes used as a picnic table probably by tourists who do not know that it once served for human sacrifices. Well, good lunch!

Rock of the Puma or “Titi Khar’ka” (origin of Titicaca name)

Rock of the Puma or “Titi Khar’ka” (origin of Titicaca name)

Here he/it is. The Aymaran shows the nose. It has a human-like face

Here he/it is. The Aymaran shows the nose. It has a human-like face

Chincana ruins, North of the Island with the Palacio del Inca or El Laberinto.

Chincana ruins, North of the Island with the Palacio del Inca or El Laberinto.

Very small rooms and tiny entrance doors.

Very small rooms and tiny entrance doors.

It seems to be an underwater connection between Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna. It can not be used anymore but this provides information on the link they had.

It seems to be an underwater connection between Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna. It can not be used anymore but this provides information on the link they had.

If I had to come back I would rather stay by night there. It would give me the opportunity to take more time in the villages, trying to get in touch with people and chill out a little bit on the terraces. Not be in a hurry going down from North to the South coast to get the boat in time, just be aware of what surrounds me and appreciate.

And there where pre-Incas believed that the sun was borne and the Incas it was the birthplace of their civilization (which is still accepted by modern cultures like Aymara people as their creation legend) as the sun shines like nowhere else in the world, one’s come to a peaceful silence.

And there where pre-Incas believed that the sun was borne and the Incas it was the birthplace of their civilization (which is still accepted by modern cultures like Aymara people as their creation legend) as the sun shines like nowhere else in the world, one’s come to a peaceful silence.

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The trip
 
Description:
A long time ago I decided to travel to South America - to Argentina or Chile. First no money as a student, then no time as a (hard-)worker. But now my little brother and his friends are spending 6 months over there on their globe-trotter-trip. So no poor excuse anymore. I pack my shoes. My flight starts from Francfort/M, Germany to Santiago de Chile and returns from La Paz, Bolivia. We will backpack from Santiago up to the North until the boarder travelling by bus or train.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 15, 2006
Duration: 3 weeks
End of journey: Apr 07, 2006
Travelled countries: Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
The Author
 
Valerie Couarraze is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 16 years.
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