Exploring a new continent

Travel time: March - June 2010  |  by Dominik Weber

5 - 7 Copacabana, Isla del Sol

A lot of tourist do stop in Copacabana on their way from Puno to La Paz. Copacabana is a very smal town with just 5000 inhabitants, but they are having a lot of hotels for the tourists. It is a very quiet town and I decided to accept the offer from a hotel sales agent in the bus and stayed in a hotel right at the lake. Of course lake view. And this was already the first thing that I realized: the prices of everything in Bolivia. It is very cheap. My single room in the hotel was just EUR 4 per night. I could have stayed in a hostel for EUR 1.50 to save money but decided for the lake view
Most of the tourists in Copacabana are there for a trip to the Isla del Sol. It is a island, about 2 hours boat ride away from the town in the Lake Titikaka and it is a very mystic place. The Inkas were using it, and they believed that the sun and the moon were hiding on the island during the "great rain". After the rain, the sun started to walk on the island and left foot print there
As soon as you enter the island, you have to pay an entrance fee, but this is not all: If you walk from the North to the South of the island - as I did in about 3 hours - there are actually three checkpoints where you have to pay something. I really felt liked ripped off: one ticket was for the ruins in the North of the island, one was just for the way from the North to the South and the last ticket was for using the old Inka steps in the South. I think I should be happy that they didn´t charge you for taking photos!
I was wondering what they are doing with the money: there are some tourist attractions but beside looking, I couldn´t find all of them. I was looking with not success for the sun footprints and I was looking for the temple del Sol. They should use the money for some signs and they should tell the tourist in advance that there is an entrance fee. I had to help out a German guy with some money since he didn´t know that!
I spent one day on the island but ideally, I should have stayed there two or three. It it a nice place for trekking and although the nights are for sure freezing cold, it is also a nice place for camping (or for staying in one of the few hostels). Well, I saw a wonderful landskape, more blue water and more sun. A relaxed day!
The next day in Copacabana, I decided to take a bus to La Paz but not before I have seen the blessing of the cars! Every day, twice a day, at 10 and at 2pm, some cars and busses are gathering in front of the cathedral and awaiting the priest there. He comes with Holy Water in a big bucket, blesses the cars that are ornamented with flowers, blesses the engines, blesses the families, one photo with everybody and that´s it. Ah, of course, he checks first if the family paid the "contribution" to the church! Really funny to see - I was looking closer at one family: it seemed that they just bought the little bus as an investment and the entire family with three generations were gathering for this festivity. It was like a wedding, only that the "bride" was the car!

Harvest time on the way from Peru to Bolivia.

Harvest time on the way from Peru to Bolivia.

Sunset over Lake Titikaka - view from my bed/hotel

Sunset over Lake Titikaka - view from my bed/hotel

Ruins on Isla del Sol. Which ones? I have no idea, since there were no signs...

Ruins on Isla del Sol. Which ones? I have no idea, since there were no signs...

View over the lake to snow covered mountains in Bolivia.

View over the lake to snow covered mountains in Bolivia.

BLUE SKY!!!!

BLUE SKY!!!!

Family party to celebrate the new car!

Family party to celebrate the new car!

Inka popcorn was offered at every corner in Copacabana.

Inka popcorn was offered at every corner in Copacabana.

© Dominik Weber, 2010
You are here : Overview The Americas Bolivia 5 - 7 Copacabana, Isla del Sol
The trip
 
Description:
After working for too long without a real break, I decided to go on a long planned backpack trip. After changing the departure date and the destination several times, I decided to go to South America. Starting in Colombia, then Peru and finishing in Bolivia. At least, this was the plan but once on tour, you never know what to expect. This report is for all people asking how I am doing, but also for those who are thinking about doing something similar. I hope I can inspire them.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 19, 2010
Duration: 13 weeks
End of journey: Jun 15, 2010
Travelled countries: Colombia
Peru
Bolivia
The Author
 
Dominik Weber is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 11 years.
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