Before starting my trip, I had a brief chat with a friend of mine who had recently done backpacking across South America.When I asked her what was her most memorable part of the trip,she said- “Without doubt,it was the night I spent in Isla del Sol'”.
That was when I knew,I had to find out for myself what was so amazing and unforgettable about this particular island.After spending a night at Puno, the next morning I hopped on to a bus which would take me across Bolivian borders(thanks to the fact that I already had my visa,things went very smoothly at the immigration office
is a small town around 20 minutes away from the border.This in my dictionary is a complete touristy town, with zillion restaurants,cafes,souvenir shops etc.I was glad I had decided to spend a night at the island instead of this town, as I wasn’t very impressed with Copacabana.I mean it is fine for a short halt, but definitely not worth spending a night at.I decided to have lunch before taking the ferry across to the Island.The meal was basic but tasty.I had made up my mind to try the fresh trout at a restaurant called Las Velas
in the Isla. I had read great reviews about the fresh trout and thus did not order one at Copacabana(though I was very tempted to do so
The boats to the island leave at 8 am and at 1.30 pm.The boats can take you either to the South or the North of the island, but most of the tourists prefer going to the South of the Island.This area is called Yumani and has the Sun temple which is a famous tourist spot(frankly I don’t know why because there is nothing to see in it and I almost missed it).
I actually took the tour and thus the boat after around 1 and a half hour drops you at a place from where you have to walk another 40 minutes across what is called ‘The Donkey Trail’
to reach to the other side of the island which is Yumani. This is also the place where all hostels are located. The boat then picks you up back after an hour from Yumani boat and returns to Copacabana. But since I was spending a night in the Isla, I left my backpack in the boat and decided to collect it from the other side(Yumani
).No ways could I have managed to carry that 12 kg bag across the donkey trail.
The view on the trail was beautiful.Since you have to climb up quite a bit, the view of the highest lake in the world-Lake Titicaca
is breathtaking.I must have clicked a zillion pictures on this trail.In about 40 minutes we reached the port and I collected my backpack from the boat.Now came the difficult part. For a change I had not booked a hostel, and had to go look for a place to spend the night in.What I hadn’t realized was that all the hostels were right at the top or the mid of the hill in the island.Thus it meant I had to carry my backpack all the way up.I had an option of staying at the hostel which not very high up, but the tour guide told me that I would have a better view of the lake if I went up higher.
And that was all I needed to get motivated.I decided to climb up and stay at a hostel from where I could have a great view of the lake.I started climbing and soon I realized that this was going to be a super tough task.My back started hurting with the weight and I couldn’t wait to get the weight off my back.It must have taken me around 35 minutes to make my way up to a hostel called Palacio del Incas
a.k.a. Palace of the Incas
.The rooms though was very basic, but were clean, cheap and had a great view.I immediately took it(also because anyways I had no strength in me to go any further.
After leaving my luggage, I decided to have an early dinner since I was very tired and also that there were no street lights on the island making it difficult to walk around in the dark.I found a small restaurant(I had to climb a little more for it, but this time thankfully without the weight
) and had a hot cup of coffee and a chicken sandwich.After my meal I quickly returned to my room, took a bath and got into bed.It was only 6 in the evening but already it was getting dark outside. Thanks to the fact that I had the whole evening to myself, I finally managed to finish a book which I had been reading for ages.I think that evening I must have slept by 9 pm which has been the first in many years. But before I went to sleep, I stepped out of my room to have a look at the sky.Jet black sky with sparking stars all over it.I now understood why my friend had fallen in love with this place.
Even though I had slept really early , I didn’t wake up next morning till the lady who was the owner came knocking on my door, telling me it was check out time.I looked at the watch and realized I had slept for 12 hours straight and if she hadn’t woken me up could have gone on sleeping a few more hours.Guess I had been more tired than I thought I was.
I quickly freshened up, packed my bags and checked out.I knew exactly what I wanted to do now,since I been planning it about it since the time I had decided to stay at the Isla.I had read on Tripadvisor that there was a small family owned restaurant called Las Velas, which served the best trout in all of Bolivia. Fresh trout would be the perfect brunch and so I enquired on the whereabouts of Las Velas. What I did not realize was that this particular restaurant happened to be right at the top of the hill where we currently were.Fresh trout was going to make me work too hard before I finally got to it.
Hence, I left my backpack at the hostel and started walking up.Up,up and more up.I just kept going.The climb was very steep and also had a lot of steps.Finally I reached the top and there I was told that right between the trees, I will find what I had been looking for.Yipee..It’s trout time.
It was a small wooden house with wooden chairs and tables placed outside.But I noticed that the door of the restaurant was locked and the curtains were drawn.Please don’t let it mean what I think it means….No,no, noooo…
|Fresh trout..finally 🙂
Alas, my worse fear came true.There was no one around and the place was completely deserted.All this effort for nothing it seemed.But then I turned away from the door and the sight I saw when I walked to the edge of the hill was what made it all worth it.It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.Even better than any painting.What I was seeing was the other side of the lake and this side was gorgeous.
I sat down there for almost an hour before I realized that it was time that I grabbed some lunch from a local restaurant,collect my bag and then rush to the port to catch the ferry back to Copacabana.
It was now time to move to La Paz, but I was a bit upset leaving the beautiful Isla behind.
Thanks for such a beautiful start to my trip to Bolivia- Isla del Sol. I will cherish it forever.Will be back soon with my next blog on La Paz.