Lago Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and is said to be the highest navigable lake in the world. In other words, it’s big. And it’s the loveliest shade of deep sapphire blue.
After crossing into Bolivia, we stop just a few miles inside the border at the touristy town of Copacabana. We book a boat trip to Isla del Sol, an island a couple hours off shore from Copacabana that was supposed to be the birthplace of the Inca people.
Our ride, the Andes Amazonia, is set for an early morning trip out to the far side of the island where we will disembark and start a day of hiking in the sun.
The ride over is smooth and beautiful, although ridiculously slow…my gps says we are moving at about 3.5 mph, ouch. There are small rocky islands and peninsulas all around the lakes shore and bright green algae/moss grow on the waters edge.
We dock at the small village of Challapampa and get a sandwich to take along on the hike for our lunch.
The surface of the lake is at 12,500 and we have to climb up another 1,000 to 1,500 feet to the ridgeline of the island and plan to hike from this north end to the village of Yumani on the south end where we will meet the boat for our ride back to Copacabana. It’s pretty sad how winded I get just trying to climb up that small amount….but the good news is that while I’m slow moving I get to enjoy the view longer than those healthy people who are hiking ahead of me, lol.
I can see the beautiful snow-capped Andean peaks in the distance on the east side of the lake, deeper into Bolivia.
The sun is intense on the open trail along the ridge. It’s a beautiful day.
We are supposed to pay a few Bolivianos out at 3 entry points to the trail, but we only hit two of them.
When we finish our 6-7 mile hike in the sun we finally descend to wait at the boat dock for our ride. Small burros are used all over this part of the world for packing heavy loads. I see men leading trains of them into the mountains on many parts of my trip and then load the mules and turn them loose. They are trained in a way like homing pigeons and once loaded make their way home with their load where they will be fed. It’s actually a pretty efficient system. I watch a few of the local workers finish their shift and stop by for a drink…if you get my meaning.
On the western/Peruvian side of the lake there are small communities who live on floating islands made of reeds. Tourists can visit them but I’ve decided not to do that…at least I still get to see a reed boat here on the lake.
Then back to Copacabana for the night and tomorrow we ride around the peninsula and have to take a ferry across the lake to continue along the highway to La Paz, our next stop on the Bolivia part of the journey. The ferries leave a little bit to be desired, as Brian had warned me, and make for an interesting ride. We get to chat with some really nice locals on the crossing and their boys take turns sitting on my bike for photos.
Such a beautiful place.