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Isla del Sol & Lake Titicaca

Added: July 10, 2010

Tags: Bolivia RTW SouthAmerica lake photos ruins
Trip to Isla Del Sol, important place in mythology of Incas, deserves whole day. Or two. We had only one, but it was enough to say this place is amazing. Rugged rocks, green terraced fields, cacti, dark blue water of Lake Titicaca, small settlements and most important of all pre-Inca and Inca ruins.

Day did not start with nice weather, but to our pleasure it changed quickly and stayed nice for rest of the day.

Northern part of Isla del Sol

A tourist boat from Copacabana leaves at 8:30 and returns at about 17:00. It stops at southern end, near Inca Stairway and then continues to north - Cha'llapampa. It has another, longer stop near Inca Stairway afternoon, so it allows for different plans and routes on the island.

Our boat did not make stop at nearby Isla de la Luna. BTW, there are more operators in Copacabana, so their itineraries might differ. We used boat Andes Amazonia.

We climbed on its roof and waited for departure. Clouds behind us were rather dark, but we could see blue sky ahead. Of course, the boat did not leave at 8:30. It took another 20 minutes. In the meantime it started to rain slightly, so we went inside the boat.

We decided to go to Cha'llapampa, make a walk there and return. Zuzka felt better, but she was not ready for longer walks. The walk we made took much longer than it usually would take us, because she needed to rest a lot. I am proud of her how well she managed though.


We arrived to rather small village. Nevertheless it is one of 2 largest ones here. All other settlements are pretty small.

Some guy herded us together and waited until all people got off the boat. We concluded he is a guide. But he spoke only in Spanish, and I am pretty sure he did not say anything like following: "Where is toilet?", "How much does it cost?", "Bus leaves in 2 hours", "I will have chicken" or similar. In other words I did not understand anything. I got bored and went away to take a few photos. When I was done crowd started to move. I suggested to Zuzka we should separate, but we met another guard, telling us we need to buy tickets and follow the first guy. At least that was my impression.

Apart from tickets to see ruins we bought also tickets to local "museum" - big room full of broken pots excavated from underwater place. Without any English texts and English commentary I did not enjoy it much. So immediately after we left the museum I told our guide he is waste of our time and we are going alone. It seems he understood and let us go. But Zuzka was not happy with my decision. Due to being weak from illness she preferred slower pace. So it seemed I angered 2 people before noon.

port in Cha'llapampa, Isla del Sol




port in Cha'llapampa, Isla del Sol

Walk to Chincana

We started our walk going through sand beach at Cha'llapampa. Rest of group was ahead, but we caught them eventually. It was nice there were information tables along the walk so we did not miss much from commentary (I think).

Weather got much better and it started to be hot. Sun was shining and the colours surrounding us were fantastic.

The first part of walk is slightly up hill. We passed along terraced fields, rock walls and occasional settlement or souvenir stand. Our tickets were checked at about 2 places. So it would not be possible to go without them.

It was not strenuous walk, but Zuzka needed to rest often. Her mood was not very good and that did not help with my mood much too. Most of the way we were silent.






Looking back to Cha'llapampa.

Isla de la Luna in the back. That tree is on the 3rd photo here and whole scenery always looks differently. It is enough to walk couple of hundred metres more and it will provide another interesting view.
Isla de la Luna from Isla del Sol







Templo del Inca, Puma Rock, Chincana

Country slowly changed from lush green to rocky, earthy coloured and dry. But it was still very nice.

Finally we could see kiosks at archaeological site(s). There is the big rock named Puma Rock (it should remind a puma, but I could not see it), it was sacred place of Incas. I am not going to show it, because I don't like resulting photos.

Sacrificial altar is nearby and couple of hundred metres ahead is Chincana. Finally something that looks like ruins.

It was possible to follow the path further, but it seemed Chincana is the last ruin here and we were running out of time. We decided to go back to Cha'llapampa by the path we came here. It was possible to go differently, but I thought it is longer way and I was not sure Zuzka would manage it well. Better to see the same place again and knowing how long it will take us to get back, than to have problem to catch our boat.


We are getting there.



Incan sacrificial altar
Incan sacrificial altar at Isla del Sol


A boat "parked" below Chincana.

Maze-like ruins of Chincana.


We returned just 10 minutes before scheduled time of departure, but we again forgot we are in Bolivia and timetable works differently in this region. We were again sitting on the roof of boat and waited for other tourists to return. Following page will show you what we have seen afternoon.