Lake Titicaca, big stuff. South America’s largest lake, the world’s highest commercially navigable one. And if you take it all in from Bolivia’s Isla del Sol, something beautiful. Deep blue skies hang above inky fresh waters, clouds pop over a lonely landscape, and the whole scene is wrapped by the 20,000 foot snowcapped mountains of the Cordillera Real.
It’s one thing to admire the lake from the shores of Copacabana, Bolivia’s main outpost on the lake, but it’s another to hike the length of Isla del Sol. Breath-taking, quite literally.
Panorama: Lake Titicaca from Isla del Sol, Bolivia
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Because of the altitude — a lung-aching 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) — you can feel the burn. Go slow, appreciate the villages, the people, the donkeys, the llamas, the history.
Our suggestion: take a boat from Copacabana to the northern side of Isla del Sol and hike to the village of Yumani on its southern edge. The walk offers great views of the lake and a few sites of reconstructed Incan ruins.
Although Yumani has experienced a bit of a boom in guest house construction recently, you can still see pack donkeys carrying supplies through town and young girls shepherding llamas from the fields.
After an overnight stop, hire a boat in the morning to take you to the village of Yampupampa on the mainland. From there, hike the remaining ten miles back to Copacabana. Along the way, it’s a different world: villagers rely mainly on agriculture, livestock and trout fishing.
So if you find yourself in Bolivia, take in Lake Titicaca. And if you find yourself at Lake Titicaca, be sure to take a long walk.
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