After our crazy journey just to get there, we crossed our fingers that it’d be worth it. Luckily, that it was.
Although disappointed we couldn’t explore Isla del Sol for 2 full days, spend the night, or check out its ruins, at least we’d get there. On the flip side, now we had a whole afternoon to see what Copacabana had to offer. Our delicious lunch of grilled, fresh caught trout and ice-cold beer definitely re-started our experience off to a positive note. After filling our completely empty stomachs, next stop was definitely a shower (albeit cold, like all showers we had in Bolivia). We found a hostel, freshened up, and then briefly napped – that unexpectedly long morning wiped us out mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Because all our walking that morning wasn’t enough (ha), we met back up with Patricio to climb the big hill/mini mountain. Copacabana’s Virgin Mary statue and 12 commandment plaques are the reason why so many Bolivians and Peruvians make a pilgrimage here every Easter Week – and that’s why the strike was so strategically initiated early during Holy Week. Many tourists = money.
The way up wasn’t so easy. Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake. That means altitude really gets you (and why the walk to Copacabana was even more difficult)… just a few steps and your heart feels like it will pound right out of your chest. However we got to the top and the view was so calming. The city dotted the shoreline, boats sat still in the water, and nothing else but lake and clouds stretched as far as we could see. We purposefully climbed in time for the sunset so, after taking hoards of photos, we found a place to sit and waited for the show.
It was definitely one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever witnessed. We were blessed with the perfect amount of clouds to create interesting dynamics on the lake, and the whole sky lit up in the deepest shades of orange/red imaginable. It was breath-taking to watch the lake, the sky, the clouds, and the city transform with the changing light. It got better with every minute.
Afterwards, we climbed down and ventured around the village a bit. Patricio coincidentally saw a girl he had traveled with in Uyuni a week or so back, and we all agreed to meet up for dinner. We found a cute little place with an open table near the wood stove – woo hoo, score!! Sharing a beer, conversation, and tasty food, it was a nice end to our stressful day.
Heading to the Island
We woke up early to find out if the strike was over, and, since it wasn’t, we packed our bags so we could book out of Copacabana as soon as we got off the boat that afternoon. Being imperative to get to La Paz that night, we didn’t have time to waste. The boat to the island left at 8:30am and Teresa, Patricio, and I went to a cafe for the traditional, and downright scrumptious, breakfast – fresh bread, homemade jam, tea/coffee, and fresh blended juice (just choose from whatever fruits are in season).
The boat ride itself was maybe 2 1/2 hours. Finally we arrived to the island and took off on some of its paths, up the hills, following the coast, around the curves. The homes on the island were very modest, most people making a living off tourism (restaurants, selling food, drinks, etc), farming, or raising livestock.
The island was very green and offered many rewarding views. We walked a couple hours in one direction, looking for some nearby ruins, but realized we had gone the wrong way. That was definitely a bummer, but the scenery was pretty so it wasn’t all for lost. We turned around and spent some time in the other direction but, since we needed to catch the 1:30 boat back to Copacabana, we didn’t have time to make it to the ruins. Sad, but we just took our time and fully enjoyed the areas we could.
There were pigs and goats randomly walking everywhere, and, near the beach, some people were camped out while others played the guitar. It was quite the peaceful environment. When the boat came to take us back, we climbed on the top, laid down, and rested our bodies in the sun.
It was the perfect cap to the peaceful part of the trip, kind of like the calm before the impending storm (aka, our adventure back to La Paz).