Lago Titicaca is the largest navigable lake in the world and one of South America’s largest lakes. It is also said it may very well be the birth place of the Incas.
So. Naturally, I had to pay this place a visit.
I took an early morning bus (about 06:00) from La Paz’s Terminal El Cemeterio (I bought the ticket there as 1. I was too lazy to do it the day before and 2. there are insane numbers of buses going to Copacabana every day). After three hours of bus drive, some serious napping time later and having the passenger next to me bum a banana off of me (odd) I finally make it to Copacabana. The first thing you’ll notice when there is the main street clogged with tourists and handsome Argentines trying to lure you into the various hostels. I headed straight for the tour agency with the original intention of checking out Isla del Sol. This did not happen. I knew I only had two days as I had already semi-booked my trip for Huayna Potosí there days later and as the bus schedules around Lago Titicaca are not all that convenient I had to opt to either go to Las Islas Flotantes de Uros or Isla del Sol. So, I find myself minutes later purchasing a bus ticket for Puno to visit the floating islands on the Peruvian side of the lake. Oh the joy of traveling alone and being able to change your plans whenever you want!
Prior to departure I scout the place for some trout. And I find it. In all seriouslessness it was the absolutely best trout I have ever eaten. So tender, full of flavor, melt-in-your-mouth, fall-off-the-bone, ever-so-slightly-fried trout. And it cost me $2 at the local market.
The bus ride to Puno is another 3-4 hours. The landscape is gorgeous on the way there so I have an extremely difficult time napping. It basically did not work out at all. Now, crossing the border was a bit of an adventure in itself. The bus drops you off on the Bolivian side, where you get your exit stamp only to walk to Peru and again get your stamp of entry. BY far the smoothest border crossing I’ve ever experienced.
Well in Puno, I get picked up for my tour of the Islas Flotantes (which I had booked in Copacabana to make things more smooth- highly recommended). I take the boat out to the islands, only thing is, the sun sets fairly early in this area so the visibility was not the best. Also, with the sun setting comes the chilliness. It got very, very cold. We visit a few of the islands and I am quickly turned off by their commercial nature. Of course, it was certainly an experience to set foot on an island where the “floor” is made of 3 meters of hay but less cool to realize the second that you get there, the people are trying to sell you souvenirs. The tour lasts about 2 hours after which I head back to Puno and grab the first cheapest hostel I can find.
The next morning I catch a 07:00 bus back to Copacabana. There, I start a smaller hike to get to the highest viewpoint overlooking the lake. And what a view it was! I had to keep reminding myself that this was in fact a lake and not an ocean. It’s that big. On the hike, I run into a fellow traveler from Brazil who I end up spending the rest of the day with. I told him I had found gold in this previously Inca town and lead him over to the market for some more well deserved trout before catching the bus back to La Paz to book my Huayna Potosí trip.
“Cool story, bro. But how much did it cost?”
Bus from La Paz to Copacabana: 20 Bs
Bus from Copacabana to La Paz: 20 Bs
Bus from Copacabana to Puno: 60 Bs
Bus from Puno to Copacabana: 40 soles
Tour to Islas Urus: 70-90 Bs (I can’t remember the exact price)
Bus terminal usage fee: 2 soles
Lunch: 15 Bs
Lodging: 15 soles
Total: 195 Bs and 57 soles