So after all the crap that happened with TAM I wasn´t real positive that we would leave the jungle on time......but amazingly our flight left right on time and had us in La Paz by 9:30am. If only our first flight went this smoothly. Our plan was to catch a bus for three hours to Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca so we ran back by Wild Rover to pick up our big packs and headed off to catch the bus. Of course on the way there we ran into yet another protest with this one literally blocking our path on the street. Our cab driver turned off the car and we sat there for about 15 minutes. After a while we were all getting a little irritated and there appeared to be no end in site. Then one car got the bright idea to drive on the sidewalk. Once we saw that we knew we could escape. Our driver started the car and roared up the sidewalk until we got past the protesters. What a great guy. We boarded our bus and headed off. It was a relatively painless venture to Copacabana. We did have to stop and take
a small boat across one part of the lake which was pretty cool. It mixed it up a bit I suppose. We arrived in Copacabana, found a hostel, and went to explore the town and see the lake. Here´s a little info on the Lake; the lake is located on the border of Bolivia and Peru. It sits 12,500 ft above sea level making it one of the highest commercially navigable lakes in the world. By volume of water it is also the largest lake in South America. At it´s deepest point the lake is almost 1000 feet. The origin of the name Titicaca is unknown. It has been translated as "Rock Puma", allegedly because of its resemblance to the shape of a puma hunting a rabbit, combining words from the local languages Quechua and Aymara, and as well as translated as "Crag of Lead." There´s just a little info on the lake in general.
We planned on only staying a night in Copacabana before heading to Peru so the next day we headed out on a full day tour to see the Island of the Sun, or Isla del Sol. We woke up early and boarded our boat
to head out to the island. Although it´s not far away at all our boat crawled at a snails pace so it took nearly two hours to get to our destination. The island is important because the Inca´s believed that the sun god was born here. There are over 180 ruins on the island most of them dating back to Inca times, around 1500 AD. We arrived on the north end of the island and headed off to see some of the main sites. We had a local show us around which was incredibly helpful because there is no way I would´ve thought the place was that cool otherwise. He explained what everything was and why certain things were important which really helped because otherwise the rocks we were looking at would just be rocks in my mind. There were some really cool village looking areas complete with sacrificial tables which are always entertaining. It never gets old standing over a big slap of rock thinking about the hundreds of people that were slaughtered on it....yikes. After seeing the ruins it was time to hike back over the island to the south side where we would be picked up. The
hike was pretty strenuous and took a little over 2 hours. It was up and down and up and down. It was probably good practice for the Inca Trail. The scenery was beautiful though. You could see forever. One side of the lake was Bolivia and the other side was Peru and it just seemed like it would never end. We found our way to the south side and relaxed in the nice little village for a bit before being driven, extremely slowly again, back to town. Upon arrival in town we boarded a van to the border where we breezed through customs before hopping on a bus and heading to our first destination in Peru, Puno.
Puno was an interesting city. It located right on the lake and definitely is lacking in charm. We were pretty much only there to see the floating islands of Uros before heading to Arequipa. We arrived in the evening, got to our hostel and booked a trip for the next day to the islands. We were picked up at 6:45am and taken to the docks where we boarded our boat and headed off. This boat was a little faster yet still quite
slow. After an hour and a half we arrived. Uros is a group of 42 or so artificial islands made of floating reeds (totora, a reed that abounds in the shallows of the lake). The islands are really really cool to see. There are multiple families that live on these islands and it´s amazing to see. We were shown how the islands are built and how they live on them. Basically they tie chunks of the roots together to make a base and then layer reeds all over the island. It´s incredibly impressive. They showed us how they catch fish, hunt birds and make their crafts which they sold. It was all very impressive and was definitely worth the early start in the day. The next island we visited was called Taquile. It was really nice but wasn´t anything special other than the views. We had lunch at a local restaurant which consisted of a delicious soup and fried trout which was also amazing. That was literally the extent of our day. That evening we hung out with Krista´s Australian friend Ivo who happened to be traveling in the same area. We grabbed dinner and drinks for a bit that
night and had a great time. The following day we awoke and headed off for Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru.
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