Isla del Sol, Bolivia

You know that feeling when you climb up a lot of stairs, like a lot, and you’re out of breath but that’s ok because it was a lot of stairs… well, when you climb up three steps and you are just as out of breath then it’s a weird feeling. That’s what happens when you visit Isla del Sol (Island of Sun) in Bolivia as it stands at an altitude of 3,000m.

Isla del Sol is a rocky, hilly island in Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. It is given it’s beautiful name as Incas believed that the sun god was born there. It can be reached by an hour long boat trip from Copacabana (in Bolivia not the famous Brazilian beach) which is around a 4hr bus ride from the Bolivian Capital of La Paz. The island is sparsely populated and the main income is farming, which is evident when you reach the island, and tourism is also now a source of income for the island.

We took a small boat from Copacabana to Challapampa on the island. That was when we saw the steps and underestimated how tiring they would be to climb. We watched as the owner of the guest house we were staying in ran up the many tiny steps up the hill while we had to stop midway to catch our breath back. We left our bags at a hostel in Copacabana as the steps are too much to take with a huge travelling backpack.DSCF3766DSCF3767

We checked into the guest house and had a little sit down to recover from the altitude. Then we took a wander around and saw the sun set over the beautiful island. It was one of those sunsets where it feels like somebody just flicked a switch to turn the light off and with not very many lights around it really was dark. Isn’t it something special to see real dark? I feel like we don’t have many moments in life where it is well and truly dark, especially when living in a city. We ate dinner at the guesthouse and headed to bed. It gets very chilly at night due to the altitude so we wrapped up warm.DSCF3774 DSCF3779 DSCF3783 DSCF3784 DSCF3785 DSCF3788DSCF3776

The next morning we woke up and walked to the other side of the island (Yumani) and took in all the gorgeous views around us. The sun was streaming over the bold blue lake; the air was fresh and crisp and there was a scattering of pure white clouds. Farmers worked on terraced terrain while sheep peacefully grazed. The views from the island were stunning. We timed our walk so that we reached Yumani in time for the boat back to Copacabana.DSCF3807 DSCF3814 DSCF3823 DSCF3842 DSCF3844

So, what do you think of Isla del Sol?

Marcella xx

This first appeared on Adventitious Violet


15 thoughts on “Isla del Sol, Bolivia

  1. I visited it years ago and loved it. Your pics make it seem like it hasn’t changed much over the years πŸ™‚ I can feel the huffing and puffing as that clearly hasn’t changed. The altitude was tough and even when I had been there for a longer time, it still affected me somewhat. Great post! Cheryl

    • Thanks so much πŸ™‚ Isn’t it so beautiful. These photos are from 2010, so I’m not sure if it’s changed since then or not, I hope not! I actually found that I struggled a bit more with the altitude in La Paz than Isla del Sol.

      • OH my La Paz is the worst. We just went back to Peru last year and my husband struggled in Cuzco. Both countries are tough that way. But I think La Paz is the worst by far.

  2. Wow, what a gorgeous place! I have to admit, I usually dislike hiking in the moment, but when a climb results in such great views it makes it all worth it, and it feels like you really ‘earned” it. Looks like it was a rewarding experience despite the effort to get up there!

  3. So pretty! I love that picture with the farmer and the sheep! The views were so worth the climb, though I hate the kind of hiking where it’s just climbing stairs too. I love your description of the sunset that’s like someone flicked a light switch – it’s so true that living in cities, we never experience true darkness!

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