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Published: February 21st 2011
Where we got off the bus to watch it being floated over the lake!
La Paz to Copacabana
Having booked our bus ticket through a tour agency the day before, we woke at 7 ready for our pick up at 7:30. The 7:30 pick up was to be on Bolivian time. Having turned 8:30 and still no sign the night guy from our hostel came out and saw us still waiting so Sam went in and rung them. Luckily they answered and said that they would be on their way now. 20 minutes later and still no sign the agency now rung the hostel to say that we needed to get a taxi to them! We were greeted at the agency by another taxi and the woman who we booked with paying all the taxis! The next taxi then took us to the cemetary district and got us on a normal bus bound for Copacobama. The bus wound its way through the busy streets with spectacular views of the city below and then out of town with still more views of mount ill. Within an hour we had views of Lake Titacaca and the bus continued until it reached Yunguyo. Here everyone had to get off the bus as the road
had stopped and water was now blocking our path. The coach was floated acorss the lake whilst the passengers took small motor boats to the other side. It was quite an amazing sight the coach being floated across! At the other side to the sound of the driver sounding his horn we set off again and climbed up the hills again with amazing views of the lake and towering mountains. Copacabana
4 hours after setting off from La Paz we started the descent down to Copacabana. It is quite a small touristy town but it manages to keep much of its traditional charm with lots of pretty buildings and a nice square. We got our bags and headed for a hostel from the guidebook. We got a room for 25bolivianos (2.50) ensuite fairly close to the waterfront and all amenities. The day was sunny and warm so we went for a stroll down by the pebbly shore and tried to aim for the headland. An hour later we still werent there and the gravel road was now inexistent so we had to walk on the more difficult pebbles. It was well past lunchtime so we decided to
head back to where all the boats were and a cluster of waterside food stands all selling lake titacaca trucha (trout). Just like most shops and venders they all sell the same things and pitch up right next to eachother, there were about 15 of these makeshift eateries all next to eachother all hustling for business. We chose one that looked like the locals ate at, a rule of thumb we have come to use when picking where to eat street food! Sam had the spicy (although not so) and I had the garlic, washed down with a large bottle of beer for about 2.50 (pounds) each.
Our next task was to book investigate tours for the next day so we went up the main touristy street from the harbour where all the tour agencies hustle you for business. After the 3rd one we went in, with the prices getting less and less, the woman was friendly and very helpful so we booked with her our boat for the next day to Isla de Sol (the largest island on the lake) and then bus tickets to Puno (Peru our next destination and a tour to the islands from here)
all for about 10 pounds each. The rest of the day was spent buying a few things for breakfast for the morning after, having a look around, watching the sunset over the lake and then retiring to one of the touristy cafes to use the internet. Isla del Sol
A comfortable night was had in our 4 person room and we felt refreshed as we took our packs to the jetty and the boat for the 8:30 crosssing. The boat was about 3/4 full of tourists to make the 1.5 hour crossing. We arrived on the island to a plethora of children asking if we needed somewhere to stay. The harbour is only small with a cafe at the bottom and a large stretch of grass. This is to the backdrop of a very tall mountain and the children told us that there were 400 inca steps to climb to get to any accommodation. Having already been at altitude for a few weeks we thought that this would be no problem. I was however, very wrong. Already at about 3700m above sea level I found it very difficult doing even 5 of the steps with my backpack
on before I felt like i was going to faint. Sam took both of the backpacks up the 400 steps following the kid to our dwellling for the night whilst if took me about 30 minutes to recover and climb the first 50 with my small daypack. There were a few women selling handicrafts at the top of these 50 steps and I still felt like any minute I was going to faint and I would wake up in one of thier houses! Sam came back down and carried the rest of the bags up whilst I took it very slowly. It was really unpleasant but I did recover. I knew then that doing the inca trail would be out of the question as it is at a similar altitude and you also have to carry a daypack. We chilled out for a bit in our simple room and on the terrace just outside of our room with amazing views of the lake and surrounding islands and then took a short walk along the mountain top to find some ruins, which we never came across. We then walked a little higher and over to the other side of the ridge
to get views to the other coastline. Here we found some llamas and sheep grazing on the terraces which Sam tried to make friends with with some apple, but with limited success. A traditionally clothed lady did allow me to hold her llama briefly before it threw me into a bush, but long enough so that Sam could get a photo, all for a small price.
Our next aim in the afternoon was to get a boat to Isla de Luna. We made our way down to the harbour mid afternoon,as the sun continued to shine. We were told that we would need to hire a private boat to get there but the private boat holders were not immediately apparent. We did find a man with a small boat who was willing to take us for 180bolivianos bout 18 pounds. So the 3 of us set off in his small but very comfortable boat and an hour later we arrived to a very deserted island. We were met by one man collecting the entrance fee to the island and a handful of women selling handicrafts. We climbed up to the very apparent ruins. They were the ruins of dwellings
made solely by women all quite high up but on a large flattened area with a further incline behind us. The shape of the area that they had carved out was, of course, in the shape of a moon. We were the only people there and we spent some time exploring the ruins and then just lying on the grass in the sunshine. We then decided we would walk up higher, slowly. We got about half way when our boat man started to make noises from the shorline that he wanted to leave so we made our way back down not so dissappointed as we had seen amazing views from where we were. We got back to Isla de Sol to find it deserted with all the tourist baots (about 5 in total) that fill the harbour gone and all the day trippers gone back to Copacabana. We paid the man then climbed the steps back to our hostel.
After showering we climbed a little further to watch the sunset over the east facing side of the island and then went for more trucha in a small restaurant nearby. Copacabana to Peru
The next morning
we were woken by the guy whos boat we were taking back to Copacabana taking most of the people from our hostel and quite a few locals back to Copacabana. When we were back and sat in a cafe having some breakfast the heavens opened and the rain poured for about 3 hours. We had been very lucky with the weather! We spent some time on the internet and another short walk around the town, spending our last few bolivianos on photos of Sam and various alpacas, much to his delight, before picking up our coach tickets and getting on a very swish tourist bus to the border with Peru. Our time in Bolivia had been quite brief but really enjoyable.
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