Published: December 26th 2010October 29th 2010
What I remembered about Lake Titicaca is its significance to Inca history and considered to be the birth place of their heritage. With our travels to Peru earlier this year, we came across different travelers and locals that insinuate the importance of this area. I’ve always been a sucker for history, so it wasn’t a surprise that we’ll end up going to this magical place.
But before we get there, we needed to make our way to Copacabana; which is the best gateway to Lake Titicaca (within Bolivia). Copacabana was just 2 hours commute from La Paz and easily accessible. The paved roads and scenic drive adds galore to the commuting experience. The town itself isn’t that big, even though the place is mostly flocked by tourist, there are small spots in town that you can easily connect with locals and avoid the bustling touristy traps. During Sunday’s, car blessing tradition takes place in the nearby cathedral for visitors to witness. If you ask me, anything that will increase my chances for safe travel and commuting is good in my book. I also wonder if they do the same for boats travelling within the lake itself (not a good swimmer).
We found out that the best way to get a glimpse of the treasured past was to travel to “Isla del Sol”; translates to “The Sun Island”. The boat ride took 2 hours but with the amazing scenery, time can easily pass by and before you know it “voola” there you are. The north side of the island is the most famous spot as it holds the early ruins and sacred grounds of the Inca Civilization. The ruins itself is not comparable to Machu Picchu but it does signify the early building blocks and influences on what they ended up creating. You can also get a glimpse of Puno, Peru on the highest point of the area but then again it’s somewhat difficult to point out the exact location (or maybe it’s the altitude sickness kicking in).
As we continue to absorb parts of the history and culture, there remains a constant problem. Our guide could only speak Spanish, luckily enough, I was able to catch and understand what he meant. It’s always an interesting encounter when we get asked if we understood Spanish or not. I would mostly reply with “Entiendo un poco pero no muy bien,
bastante para comer y beber”. Which translates to “I understand a little but not very well, enough to eat and drink”, I find that it’s a good way to break the tension of language barriers =).
The south side of the island offers stunning views, as you can easily get a glimpse of mountain peaks covered in snow. The only downside is we needed to traverse the challenging “Inca Steps” and its steep terrain to the summit. Trekking on a 4000 meter elevation coupled with 50-60 degree incline isn’t what we’re prepared for. During the whole time; I could hear my subconscious whispering (Bad idea dude!). After a grueling 2 hour trek, we arrived at the summit and replenished our burned calories with enormous amounts of protein, rice and sweets (the h#ck with diet, we need food!).
As hard of an endeavor it was, we were rewarded by a magnificent spectacle of sunrise and sunset. Nothing could explain the feeling of being high above the plains while witnessing the early rays of sun hit the crisp and clear lake waters and the wonderful aura of colors displayed as the day winds down.
Be sure to check out
“Las Velas” restaurant (south side of Isla del Sol). It’s famous for its organic food choices and creative recipes using Quinoa.
There are more photos below