Thursday, 5 March 2015

Isla del Sur – Copacabana, Bolivia

Copacabana is a quiet town, the main street is lined up especially for tourist and they would love to sell you a tour and a ticket out of Copacabana. I join the line of suckers I guess and went for the day trip to Isla del sur before getting a ticket out to La Paz. 

Main Tourist Street of Copacabana
Although Copacabana is a very small town there were still a few things to see and I manage to burn a good 2 hours just walking around. First off, is the main street which is full of restaurant, souvenirs, tours agency, bus agency, a cathedral that looked like a mosque and one walking trail up a steep mountain for a viewpoint. There was also banks with atm or just atm and they work nicely with international cards so I was now relief of worry of being stranded in Bolivia with no access to money.

Cathedral at Copacabana - Bolivia
At the main square at the first glimpse of the cathedral I thought I saw a mosque. Upon closer inspection it was indeed a cathedral. Upon closer inspection I saw the cross above the dome shaped building and wonder for a moment if it was a converted building. :)

The beach (if you could call it that since this was a lake ) was worth checking out with a large crowd of people during Sunday just out for a picnic or just plain lazing about taking a duck boat out to waters or a kayak. Highest Navigable lake in the world and for a moment you might just think you are down at the seaside at the beach. Waters were azure blue being so high up near the sky and the sun burn you quickly without you even realizing due to the chill wind of high altitude.

Lake Titicaca - Copacabana

Isla Del Sur -Island of the Sun - Inca

The thing is, Bolivia is so cheap that people (Tourist) dun care if you get ripped off. That’s what I felt but is still got annoyed because it’s about the principle not the money sometime. Don’t get me wrong thou for I liked Isla del Sur for its serenity and the people’s tranquil lifestyle, while I just hate being herded as a tourist.

I got sold a day tour to Isla del Sur for 30 Boliviano which was equivalent to a night stay in a hostel, where they lady said there will be a guide that speaks English and to my dismay the guide barely speak two words of English. All explanation was done in Spanish but to my surprise I think I could just barely make out the jest content of what the guide was explaining in Spanish. I guess my vocabulary is really expending after so many tours in Spanish or my illusion is entertaining myself.
The lady also said there would be a stop at Yumani for some picture taking or sightseeing. The boat never stop …. Head back straight to Copacabana from mid island so all I saw was the north and the central of Isla del Sur and never the south. Got cheated for a tour but not a lousy tour really for it was a pretty interesting for even the north and central part but just the principle of anticipating the things that never happen makes a small part sour. For 30 Bol … about SGD 6 I guess I could live with it.

Isla del Sur is the largest Island on Lake Titicaca. The island is full of Inca ruins and the tour dropped us off at the furthest north section of the island where a local old ranger guide was waiting. He gave a great explanation of the history, culture, believes and how the people of Inca lived in the island and of the religious significant of Isla del Sur. For finer details thou I would have to google it since my Spanish was yet to be that great.

Medicine Well at Isla Del Sur
One of the interesting part of the explanation was about the medicine hall where he showed us a well not less than half a meter deep from the ground which was on a hill. Scared water as a far as I understood and everyone got a taste and a blessing from it. The well was interesting to me for it was high up on a hill with no water source, or catchment in sight and of course surrounded by a lake. I had to wonder how the ground water reached that high.
Once the first northern part explanation was done the guide bid us farewell after extracting tips from us and we set out on a hike along the old Inca trail to the central portion of the Island. 2 hours of slow hiking gradually uphill reveal a beautiful landscape with deep blue waters from Lake Titicaca as a backdrop.

I could see why people choose to live on the desolated island. It was serene.

Isla Del Sur - Lake Titicaca

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