Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca

Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca between history and myth

It is in places like Titicaca that one feels the need to leave the thoughts of every day behind to abandon oneself to the immaculate and apparently immobile beauty of nature.

Energetic Titicaca! The highest (navigable) lake in the world where traditions, myth and history intertwine and lead the beginning of the Inca civilization right here, on the Sun `s Island the mystical place par excellence.

Legend has it that the first Inca, Manco Capan son of the sun god Inti and emperor of the Inca dynasty and the Cuzco Dynasty in Cuzco, was of Sun `s Island. The waters at its bottom hide cities, and no inhabitant of the island really wants to know what’s down there.
The lake is sacred you don’t touch it, you respect it for what mythology says is the place where the Inca civilization began.
Sun `s Island it is the largest island of Titicaca, it stands a short distance from the coast of Copacabana and dominates the waters in front of the island of the Moon that the myth describes as a woman.
The positive and the negative man and woman, the sun and the moon, the large and the small, the opposites that look at each other and attract each other, rising in this lake at 3812 meters above sea level.

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It is enough to put one foot on dry land and I realize that we are no longer there tourist Copacabana, here there are no well-furnished bars or restaurants with wifi. There are not even paved roads.
A Cha’llapampa, a city in the north of the island, children and women wait for the arrival of tourists to take them to their hostel. I haven’t even put my backpack back on my shoulder before a child asks me if I need housing. He tells me: 15 bolivianos. I follow him.
2 minutes from the pier, I find myself in a bay where the water is so blue and brilliant and the sand is white and fine that I forget I’m on a lake and not at the sea. My room is right there, overlooking the bay. I accept even before seeing it.

It’s low season so there aren’t many tourists in town and those who are are not part of the backpackers who are looking for bars and nightlife entertainment.

We go to sleep following the rhythms of the sun. There are no street lights in the streets and at night the only lights are those of the moon and stars and some light coming from inside the houses.
The day, although cold, is always warmed by the sun which beats down even in winter and gives a touch of fairytale to this mystical and energetic place where you can savor life and the beauty of the simple and industrious life of the Bolivians.
The perpetually working women never seem to get tired, on several occasions I have thought that they are the true driving force of Bolivian society, you see them at dawn and then meet them again at sunset returning home, bent over, with their colored bags full of shrubs or at the command of a flock.

Unless you want to the walk from the north to the south of the island beyond the beautiful Inca ruins about a 40-minute walk from the town center, there isn’t much to do.
You relax on the beach, read under the sun, walk along unpaved roads and follow mountain routes, learn and give way to herds of cows, sheep and pigs.
I spent the last hours of the early afternoon simply lying on the beach not far from the shoreline, reading a book and letting scenes of daily life pass before me, imagining the lives of these imperturbable and tireless workers so the little is enough to move forward without letting anything affect you.

Despite constant growth in tourism, time seems to have stood still. Here for the first time I saw the girls in typical clothes.
There are no cars, no transportation of any kind other than boats and I saw a bicycle.
You walk bent over and slowly up the mountains in the company of silence and the wind which is the only noise that breaks it.
We work until the sun goes down, when the island acquires colors that make it different.

Isla del Sol turns pink delicately greets the sun, whose god plays a fundamental role in mythology as creator and protector of the Incas.
And while the sun slowly disappears behind the mountains of the island, one after another the flocks return to the sheepfolds.

Isla del Sol invites you to meditate, to tranquility, wherever you land on the island.

But it is only when you climb up the mountain and arrive at the Inca ruins overlooking the sea that, if alone and in silence, you feel like you are in an important and positive place, one of those where it is nice to waste time.
Or rather, it’s beautiful take time to think, what was, what is and what will be.

Day tour to Isla del Sol or stay over?

It is worth staying on the island at least one night rather than taking the boat in the morning at 8.30am and returning with the boat at 1pm, considering that it takes at least 1 hour to arrive.
Only by stopping for a while can you savor it beauty and energy of what is considered the mystical and religious center of the Inca empire.
A few days here allows you to walk to the ruins in peace, enjoying the beauty of the place without getting lost in crazy races to get there and back, stay under the sun in one of the splendid bays, or walk from the north of the island to the south following one of the two marked paths, along the coast or on the tops of the mountains. The walk in total takes 4 hours one way.

How to get to Isla del Sol

To get to Isla del Sol there are boats from Copacabana every day (at 8.30 am and 1.30 pm).
The cost is 20 bolivianos. The return if not purchased before, bought on the island costs 25 otherwise if bought in Copacabana 20.
To go in Peru (Puno or Cuzco) there are daily buses. For Puno at 9.30am, 1.30pm or in the afternoon. In the low season it is not necessary to compare tickets far in advance. Many companies cover the same routes and it is easy to find a seat.

Copacabana Bolivia

Where to sleep in Isla del Sol

In 2012 Isla del Sol was certainly a place not frequented by tourists, at the time there were not many hotels and guesthouses.
I know things have changed in recent years, prices have increased, there is wifi but the quality has also improved a lot. When I was there everything seemed rather improvised and novice. Happy to know that in 4 years giant strides have been made and that infrastructures, including tourist ones, have been developed which allow travelers to enjoy this island to the fullest and locals to be able to have some extra income.

The best options for all budgets are the following:

Willka Back Hostel – This small, family-run hotel is located in the north of the island right on the beach.

Hostal del Sol – This small family-run hotel is located in a wonderful place, but you will have to walk a little, from here you will see both sides of the island and probably enjoy the best Bolivian sunrise.

Eco Lodge La Estancia – For those who want an authentic experience and can also spend a little money this place is the best on the island in an incredible location. Beautiful rooms, welcoming and kind staff, unique location.

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