After an early morning in Puno, Peru rescuing my debit card from the ATM and getting my visa for Bolivia, I finally boarded a bus for Copacabana, Bolivia. After about two hours we arrived at the border, where as long as you have your visa already, all you need to do is get your exit stamp from the Peruvian side and your entrance stamp on the Bolivian side. From there, it’s only 15 minutes to Copacabana.
Unfortunately for US passport holders, one of the visa requirements is to have a hotel reservation before arriving. That means reserving online, and although there are a few cheap places to stay in Copacabana, none of them seem to be online. The cheapest place I found was $12/night which is very expensive for Bolivia. I cannot urge you enough not to stay at Hotel Las Brisas in Copacabana unless you absolutely can’t find an option similar or cheaper in price. The place smelled like mold and the staff was very unfriendly.
But at least I found the market a few blocks up from the waterfront where I could get a dirt cheap meal.
The next morning, I hopped on an early boat to La Isla del Sol, Island of the Sun a couple of hours offshore from Copacabana on a VERY slow boat. Finally arriving on the north shore of the island, the boat announced that we had 4 hours to hike to the south shore of the island where we would get picked back up and taken back to Copacabana.
The hike was stunning. You have to hike uphill for a while and the high altitude made breathing a bit harder, but having been in lots of altitude already on my trip, I was better off than most. That was, until I started having some gluten related issues! Luckily, they didn’t last long, just a few trips behind some giant rocks. I’ll keep this short and sweet, it was unpleasant and I unknowingly defecated on the backside of a sacred rock.
Once you get to the top of the first climb, the hike is gradual ups and downs for the next 2-3 hours depending on your pace. Along the way you pass a sacrificial table, a sacred rock that could really be mistaken for just a huge boulder (I mean seriously guys come on cut me some slack I didn’t know!), and the ruins of a small temple.
In my opinion, the hike itself was much better than the ruins in the north of the island, and if you aren’t into small ruins, you could skip the north section and just spend more time taking in the magnificent views that the south has to offer.
Arriving an hour early at the south shore of La Isla del Sol, I sat on the dock and relaxed while doing a little writing until it was time to board the boat for a two-hour ride back to Copacabana, from which I hopped a bus right to La Paz, where some great adventure was to be had!