Isla del Sol, Birthplace of the Sun

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November 22nd 2008
Published: December 4th 2008
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Day 603 (21.11.08)

Today we were making the trip out to one of Lake Titicaca´s southern islands, Isla del Sol, according to Incan legend, the birthplace of the sun.

We planned to stopover for the night so made our way down to the lake´s edge with a bag packed and plenty of snacks. It turned out that we were on the same boat as Geoff and Sian who we´d met on the hill the night before so we braved the chill of the top deck to make the most of the views on the 2 hour journey.

Grateful to arrive and get out of the lake breeze we were dropped at the port of Challapampa in the north of the island. At this point we bumped into David (the sailor we'd met in Nazca), his wife was ill and had stayed in town so he joined the four of us for the day.

We walked across the top of the island to visit the Chincana ruins finding that we had to purchase a ticket on the way. All paid up we passed some beautiful bays and inlets with the vast sparkling lake seeming more like the sea than landlocked body of water.

Yet again the Incans had placed their town ina stunning location and we made the most of the views as we explored the ruins and small, low corridors leading from building to building.

After we'd had a good look around we set off on the walk to Yumani the port at the south of the island where we planned to stay for the night and the others would catch their boat back to town. For the next three hours or so we followed the undulating path down the spine of the island taking in the views of the lake and the island's bays backed by some stunning snowcapped mountain peaks on the not too distant horizon.

It made for a beautiful walk even with the altitude making uphill sections a breahtless task! As we neared Yumani town we came upon another ticket 'booth', apparently the ticket we'd bought only allowed us to visit the north of the island and we'd have to pay some more to visit the south. Not overly impressed with these surprise walking charges we paid up and continued on our way only to find that another 15 mintues down the track was another ticket person. This time our previous two tickets were not enough. It appeared that the last ticket we'd bought for the south of the island was actually a central island ticket and we'd have to buy yet another ticket to continue south. The amounts involved were pretty small but we were annoyed at the system and we hadn't been prepared for it.

After all this and the fact that we'd seen what we wanted to see we decided not to stay the night on the island but to head back to town with the others and try and hop on a bus to La Paz that night to save oursleves a day.

We snaked our way down the Incan staircase, got the boat back to Copacabana and managed to get the 6pm local bus to La Paz. Despite a slight lack of legroom the bus was pretty comfy and we settled in for the 4 hour ride. After an hour or so on the bus we were told we hadto get off, not quite sure what was going on we follwed the crwod to the lakeside where it appeared we would be crossing part of the lake on a small motor boat as our bus was loaded onto a flatbed ferry. It all seemeda bit surreal as we rocked our way across the lake in the dark accompanied by some drunken singing from fellow passengers but on the other side we picked up our bus again and were soon arriving into La Paz.

We were greeted from the bus by a tourist policeman who found us an officail taxi and organised our journey to the hostel we'd chosen, great to be so well looked after when arriving in a large city at night.

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