Isla del Sol: A Hilly, Traditional Island on the Highest Navigable Lake in the World, Lake Titicaca.
If you like to delve into ancient legends and explore the places where those legends come from, your next stop might be Isla del Sol in Bolivia.
How to get there?
The easiest way to get to Isla del Sol is by taking a boat from Copacabana, which will take you there in about 1-hour ½ to 2 hours. From the port, it takes one and a half hours to reach the village of Yumani, the largest and most developed settlement located on the south side of the island. The only way to reach the village is by hiking up the Yumani steps, which can be a tiring walk, considering its high altitude.
What to do
Since February 2017, the southern side is the only part of the island which is accessible to visitors. Despite the restricted access, there are plenty of places to visit.
The island boasts stunning landscapes and great lookout points – also called miradores – where you can unwind and enjoy this calm little escape and its natural treasures.
If you would like to get a 360-view of the island, you can walk through a small forest approximately 15 minutes from the village and reach Cerro Queñuani. It opens up to a breathtaking view of the southern part of the island and Chelleca island.
Another stunning panoramic view can be found at the top of the mountain Cerro Palla Khasa, which is also the highest peak to visit in this area. You also don’t want to miss the Inca ruins and two-level palace of Pilko Kaina – meaning “the place where the bird rests” – This is the only Inca temple in the southern part of the island. The stone terraces are used for agriculture and are also recommended for a visit. There is also a trail leading to the northern border, but keep in mind that crossing the border is prohibited. And keep in mind that while hiking through the fields, you might have the opportunity to spot some alpacas too!
Where to stay
Since the island is not that big, you can visit everything on a day trip. However, if you would like to spend a night in a quiet spot, watching breathtaking sunsets and interacting with the local communities, we would highly recommend staying at Comunidad Yumani. Accommodation is rather spartan as it consists of rural houses, limited electricity and hot water, and no Wi-Fi connection. This is perfect for a digital detox and should persuade you to leave your room, explore the island and make some unforgettable memories.
During the day, temperatures vary between 15°C and 22°C but during the night it could drop to 0°C. Therefore, make sure to bring also warm clothes when spending a night on the island.
What to keep in mind before your trip
- As you will be almost 4000 meters above sea level, be prepared to cope with the new climate conditions
- Be aware that you will spend about 4 hours on a boat, so make sure to bring some medications in case you might get seasick quite easily
- Pack light because carrying heavy luggage up the stairs can be tough!
- Ask for permission before taking pictures
- Trout is served almost everywhere, so if you like fish make sure to try it
- If you can, travel with some locals, or ask them for tips and guidelines on the traditional customs, food, or handcrafted clothes and jewelry
If you have any more questions about Bolivia, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. See the real Bolivia with Gulliver Expeditions!