Our last stop in Bolivia before crossing over into Peru was the beautiful Isla Del Sol within the massive Lake Titicaca. An easy trip from the Bolivian town of Copacabana, you could spend only a day, but we spent the night to have more time to explore the 3200 square mile island. The trip turned out to be one of our highlights in all of Bolivia!
The harsh, rocky island is inhabited by 800 families who live entirely off farming, fishing and some tourism. There are not really any roads and definitely no motorized vehicles of any kind. Even cycling would be nearly impossible along the paths up and down the steep hills. Instead, locals rely on the help of donkeys and llamas to carry the bulk of their materials. The island is covered in these furry animals, and loads more sheep everywhere you look.
Life here is hard, and it isn’t much easier on the tourists. We stepped off the ferry in Yumani on the southern side of the island and onto to solid ground, only to be forced to climb 210 stairs up to the village. Once we’ve made it, though, we were rewarded with sweeping views over Lake Titicaca, the Bolivian Cordillera and Peru across the lake.
There is a clear, well-worn path up and over to the northern side of the island, a hike that took us 5 hours to accomplish. We saw the Chincana Inca ruins, a big stone complex full of mazes on the northern tip of the Isla Del Sol. The island was regarded as the home of the supreme Inca god Inti (the sun god) and it was here that, according to the Incas, the creator god Viracocha arose from Lake Titicaca to create the world. He created the Incan version of Adam and Eve, Mallku Kapac and Mama Ocllo, who went on to populate the world from here, making Lake Titicaca the true birthplace of the Incas.