Copacabana, touristy but adorable.

Isla del Sol Travel Blog

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The Basilica Of Our Lady Of Copacabana. Taken from the front courtyard.

Hello all,

I woke up very refreshed and ready to go, in part thanks to the ear plugs and eye mask that have followed me on my trip.  The hostal I'm in happenes to be on the main drag coming into town, and even though the 3rd floor front room view is great, it's also right next to a blind corner at which trucks and buses honk before proceding around.  But, I slept the sleep of the dead, and woke up around 9am.  I ran into Francious in the lobby, and he asked if I felt ok.  Apparently the trout didn't like him nearly as much as he like it.  He had been sick all night.  Maybe my stomach is rewarding me for the conditioning of having dirty water ice when it's available for my drinks.  Maybe I'm just lucky.

My first thought was that another night here would be just fine with me, so I told Sonia at the desk I'd be staying another day.

The main altar of Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana.
  Then I hit the town to see what there was to see.  Copacabana is made for cameras!  It is made for the tourists, backpackers and South American vacationers both, but is really just breath taking.  Set on the shore of Lake Titicaca, it is the embarcation point for excursions to Isla del Sol, the most holy site in the old Inca religion.

It is also the site of the Basilica Of Our Lady Of Copacabana, a holy building dating to the 16th century, that looks to be designed for a city 25 times larger then Copcabana.  Externally it has alot of the Moorish influence of the Spanish arcitecture of the day.

Trout was introduced into Lake Titicaca in 1939. This one was eaten by me.
  But the interior is a mixture of styles, with Baroque pushing most of the others out of the way.  The complex is so large I have been unable to photograph the whole thing in one shot, and the individual shot don't really do it justice.

While snapping pics around town I made my way down to the lake shore and back, and ended up booking my ongoing bus ticket to Cuzco, Peru for tomorrow (about $11.25/10 hours).  I also booked the boat ride to Isla del Sol for under $2.

I had about a 75 minutes to get some food, return to the hostal for day trip supplies, and make it back to the dock.  Well, that meant more trout.  I had la plancha today, as opposed to the lightly fried version I had had last night.  It was also delicious, but not as large a portion.

I'm pretty sure this parrot wasn't native, but it was adorable.
  Perfect, who wants to be all bogged down for climbing anyways?

We left at 1:30pm just as it started to rain steadily.  I got one of the last covered seats on the boat, and was very thankful for that.  I had left my hat at the hostal, and it was a bit chilly.  The rain thankfully mostly let up by the time we arrive about 70 minutes later, and aside from the group staying on the island overnight, we had about 90 minutes to explore the island.

Isla del Sol is an island in Lake Titicaca.  The terrain is harsh, rocky, and hilly.  There are no motor vehicles or paved roads on the island, and walking around is a very vertical task.  Climbing the rough trails on the island are lung sucking, exhausting experiences in the high altitude.  Titicaca itself is at 12,507 feet, and apparently my six days or so at elevation hadn't made up for years of laying on couch watching television.

A re-creation of a native type vessel in the harbor at Isla del Sol.

I was determined to get as high as possible, and I was very proud of myself as I seemed to be higher then anybody else from the boat.  I was getting close to the top and was anticipating being rewarded for the climb by a spectacular 360 degree vista.  Then I turned a corner and saw I was far from the top.  Oops.  My mental clock also told me I should be heading back down to meet the boat also.

Aside from a few donkey, pack mule traffic jams, and a bickering American couple on the way down, things were much easier descending for certain.  Big surprise there, eh?  We left the main dock, and docked 10 minutes later at a small park with some ruins inside.  We were told we had only 15 minutes, and after a five minute climb to the site I didn't feel like paying the small entrance fee.

The main steps up from the Isla del Sol harbor.

We then headed back for Copacabana, this time under glorious sunny skies and perfect temperatures.  I got one of the last seats on the roof of the boat, and the assemblage of hippies and day trippers refilled their lungs by collapsing of the roof in exhausted fashion.

Altogether in the 1.5 days in Copacabana so far I've taken over 110 pictures.  My laptop now has over 500 megabytes of pics at 3 megapixels.  I find it hard to believe that everything has gone so well so far.  I keep hearing pickpocket, and other petty crime warnings about Cuzco, my next destination.  Let's hope I keep my string going.

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The Basilica Of Our Lady Of Copaca…
The Basilica Of Our Lady Of Copac…
The main altar of Basilica of Our …
The main altar of Basilica of Our…
Trout was introduced into Lake Tit…
Trout was introduced into Lake Ti…
Im pretty sure this parrot wasnt…
I'm pretty sure this parrot wasn'…
A re-creation of a native type ves…
A re-creation of a native type ve…
The main steps up from the Isla de…
The main steps up from the Isla d…
A bit of a traffic jam about 2/3r…
A bit of a traffic jam about 2/3'…
A beautiful, private courtyard on …
A beautiful, private courtyard on…
The Bolivian Navy works out on Lak…
The Bolivian Navy works out on La…
Isla del Sol
photo by: Paulovic