Lake Titicaca – Bolivia

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Going To Isla Del Sol

Going To Isla Del Sol

After seeing full buses of gringos heading to Copacabana, Bolivia, I think it is safe to say the place changed quite a lot since we were there in 2002. New hotels, high-rise buildings by the lake, tour operators and casa de cambio everywhere confirmed my first impression. The world has discovered Lake Titicaca.

The scenery was beautiful. The huge lake, 3,800 meters above sea level. The clouds, so low, us, so high that we feel we can touch the sky. The burning hot sun during the day and the chilly nights. The local dish, trouts, huge fishes cooked with lemon and tomatoes.

But Copacabana also has a darker side. Money, money, money. Convenience stores import Pringles and US chocolates instead of selling local delicacies, and it has a price. No ATM, but each resident can change US dollars, Euro, Yen, at whatever rate they feel like setting — it´s not like we have the choice. Locals aren´t exactly friendly either: they take the money and run. Of course, this is Bolivia and everything is still pretty cheap for us. It´s mostly the attitude I dislike.

Nevermind.

On our second day, we took a boat to Isla Del Sol, once of the islands of the lake. We left early in the morning and there was a beautiful deep blue sky, the lake was clear and the sun was hot. The boat was overpacked: we sat on the roof and enjoyed the ride.

There isn´t much in Isla Del Sol. Mostly a big climb to the top of the island for a better view of Lake Titicaca. But climbing at such a high altitude isn´t easy. I felt like I was 100 years old, out of breath every five minute, sweaty and light-headed. It took us over an hour to reach the top, but boy, the view!

We took the boat back with a bunch of Argentinian backpackers, who played guitare drinking mate de coca. The clouds behind us, heading to the shore as fast as the boat would allow it (packed, once again), passing floating villages and bare land.

Worth the altitude sickness.

At The Market

At The Market

Playing Foot Table On The Beach

Playing Foot Table On The Beach

Bolivian Teeshirts

Bolivian Teeshirts

Colorful Bus

Colorful Bus

Little Restaurants On The Shore

Little Restaurants On The Shore

Going Fishing In Isla Del Sol

Going Fishing In Isla Del Sol

Boats On The Lake

Boats On The Lake

Climbing Isla Del Sol...

Climbing Isla Del Sol...

Little Girl In Isla Del Sol

Little Girl In Isla Del Sol

Waving...

Waving...

Floating Village

Floating Village

From Isla Del Sol

From Isla Del Sol

Finally On Top Of The Island!

Finally On Top Of The Island!

Sunset On The Lake

Sunset On The Lake

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

21 Comments

  1. There was already a lot of snow when I arrived, but I hope there won’t be any snowstorm soon.

    This crazy weather has bad effects on my body.

  2. Thanks for your great travel reports – its so exciting to read and follow you!

    Btw: Sorry I haven’t been around that much, but my back still hurt and its hard to type (but I do follow and read!).

  3. I wish I had the courage and guts to travel around so much. I suppose it’s much easier for you since you speak Spanish though. But the thought of being away from my home and things for a long time makes me sad. I like being able to come home and sleep in my bed. Every time I travel, even if it is just for a few days, I miss home so much. Yet there are so many places in the world I want to see…

  4. Wow…sweet memories… I was there more than 30 years ago… I don’t think I want to see it now… maybe it is better to keep it in my memory as an unspoiled place…
    At that time it was remote…almost no hotels… I remember I was sleeping in a bare room…
    Doesn’t make me feel any younger… 🙁

    Gorgeous pictures… take care !

  5. ohh i am so jeaous of your picture-taking! the photo of the lake with the boat and the clouds is stunning. you could sell that to a magazine.
    it’s sad when beautiful places become touristy. they either become tacky or they become so expensive that locals get squeezed out. the best reason to visit such places- the people and the culture- changes.
    it’s like that in jaco, costa rica. You see condominiums and malls and a certain amount of sleaze forming.
    it’s sad to think that lake titicaca might eventually look like any other lake with hotels, fences and tourist buses. i hope not.
    i’m glad you’re having a wonderful time. be safe.

  6. I won’t be surprised if a 5-star hotel is opened near the lake. Every country wants to court the ‘quality tourists’, i.e. tourists who spend lots of money.

    What they do not understand is that the quality tourists, staying in 5-star hotels, probably cause more harm to the fragile environment.

  7. Hey there Buddy thanks for the wonderful post and yes it seems as if I could literally touch the sky there.

    When are you heading home not that I am reminding 😉

  8. I’m always very conflicted about tourism. It’s a problem, but I don’t want to be part of the problem. It’s like what someone said earlier: go visit before it becomes too spoiled.

    Nice to see you both smiling at the top of the mountain!

  9. Beautiful pictures 😀 I didn’t know about no ATM and the residents charging you whatever they wanted :0 isn’t there a bank either? wow

    Glad you are enjoying your trip 😀

  10. Exceptional pictures! I remember reading about this lake so long ago; remembered it because of its unique name. The market picture is nice with the colorful clothes.

  11. Hello again,

    I didn’t know there was also a Copacabana in Bolivia…good to know, good to know…

    Oh, the locals are not friendly? Hmmm….I wonder if they are a bit fatigued of foreigners (you know there are enemies of foreigners everywhere in the world) *nodding*…

    I loved the photos…so cute (the little girl is so nice)! I also like the floating village: now that is interesting!

    Look at you and your husband: you guys are a gorgeous couple :D!!! “Love is in the air…everywhere we look around…love is in the air” lol…ok, enough of singing…

    Absolutely great to be sharing your trip with you :D! Thanks!

    Cheers

  12. @Linguist-in-Waiting – You really feel like you are touching the clouds!

    @Bluefish – You bet… Canadian winter is hard on everybody. Lack of sunlight too.

    @RennyBA – Ouch, sorry for your back! I also read and catch up whenever I get a good internet connexion. 🙂

    @Jennie – I never ever miss home… only if I travel for over 6-7 months I guess. But I´m used to it. I sometimes miss confort and some surroundings, but over all and I like traveling best. Freedom!

    @Sidney – 30 years ago? Wow! Yep, must have changed… you were quite a pionneer!

    @Seraphine – I wish I could sell it to a magazine! 🙂 Costa Rica is the same… sometimes, it´s just way too many condos, and they don´t fit on the landscape of course. But there isn´t much we can do…

    @Khengsiong – I think there are quite a few 5 stars hotel, not western standards, but they charge hundreds of US$. Yep, too bad… it spoils a place.

    @Brenda – I don´t mind missing the cold, for sure 😆

    @shionge – Not sure! Probably another month or two…

    @kyh – They are quite small, I actually liked the Isla Del Sol est. I think floating villages were mostly built for tourists… or maybe not after all.

    @Gail at Large – I had to smile for the picture, but really, I was probably coughing! 😆

    @Bluefish – I will email you.

    @Aiglee – Not really. There is one local bank but you have to have a Bolivian account, can´t withdraw with a Visa or Mastercard. So far it´s the only place where we didn´t have a ATM.

    @Shantanu – Bolivia is a really colorful and beautiful place. The scenery is unique…

    @Max Coutinho – I don´t blame the locals, I kind of see what they are going through. Yet, I was shocked how it changed since 2002. Yes, this is another Copacabana, not as sunny as the famous one though! 😆

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