(Island of the Sun, Copacabana, Bolivia)
June 12-13, 2019 Bolivia Hop from La Paz to Arequipa via Copacabana and Puno
I was picked up on time in La Paz by the guide from Bolivia Hop at about 7:15 am. They were originally scheduled to pick me up by 6:45 am and I would have missed breakfast at the hotel, because breakfast is served starting at 7:00 am. So I was able to eat something quickly! I had almost 24 hours of bus travel ahead and I did not want to be hungry. Also interesting was that the guide picked me up in a taxi and then we met the bus. It would be a recurring theme throughout my journey through Bolivia and Peru. It’s mainly because some of these cobblestoned roads are too small or congested to accommodate big buses.
We were in a caravan of two buses because there were a lot of people heading to various places. I was headed to Arequipa and there were some headed to Cusco.
First we had to cross the Lago Titicaca – the buses would be ferried across as the passengers took little boats across.
After driving for a few hours we arrived at Copacabana at about 11:30 am. This is where we had the option to take a four hour tour of Isla del Sol. I had reserved it in advance but the boat would not leave until 1:00 pm, so I would be able to get a nice lunch. I recognized Danya from the Netherlands from the night before. We were sitting next to each other at dinner at the Higher Ground Cafe the night before and had exchanged a few friendly words. People with good energy always find themselves! We had some nice conversations during lunch and then I caught my boat to Isla del Sol, while Danya stayed back to relax in Copacabana. The boat ride was about an hour and fifteen minutes long. We were on Lake Titicaca. I had been here in 2004 and it just seemed so different. There seems to have been an explosion in tourism in the last decade and a half! Nevertheless Lago Titicaca was beautiful as ever and there were plenty of Andean gulls keeping us company on the boat ride.
Once at the island it was a short trek up the hill. And at the top of the hill we were greeted with some local folkloric singing and dancing! What was great was that this was a purely local thing and not aimed at tourists but I felt lucky to be privy to this ritual.
I am guessing from the type of hats the women were wearing that these were Aymara people. I remembered those bowler hats quite vividly from my trip in 2004.
I hiked down a different path to catch the boat back from the main pier. Once back in Copacabana we were back on the bus for a trip to the Peruvian border and then on to Puno. The border crossing was really so so easy. Stamp out – stamp in. And I was in Peru. Changed some dollars into Peruvian Soles at the border and was back on the bus to Puno.
We stopped at a decent restaurant in Puno. I got a chance to chat with Danya again and her friends, a couple from Portugal. It’s always nice to have good company during meals – it beat’s eating alone 🙂
At Puno we said our goodbyes – I was on a bus to Arequipa. My new friends were headed to Cusco. This was going to be a bit of a long night! But I fell asleep right away as the bus pushed off at 9pm! I woke up at 3:30am when we had arrived in Arequipa. We were to sleep for a couple of hours more on the stationary bus and dispatched off on various vans at 5:30am to our respective hotels.
I was at the Casona Plaza Hotel in the center of Arequipa by 6am and was able to get an early check-in for an additional fee of $20 – priceless 🙂
I was excited to explore the city after a shower and a couple hours of rest.