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Secrets of Bolivia's Isla del Sol

Abscond on a remote Bolivian getaway to the Island of the Sun on Lake Titicaca

Guides based in Copacabana or La Paz, Bolivia, can take you on escorted trips to sites on the island via private boat.
A trip to Isla del Sol, on Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca, is a welcome respite from the hubbub of La Paz. Hiking is the main attraction, in part because there are no paved roads. Hikers follow in the footsteps of the Inca, along ancient stone trails. En route, local people—members of the pre-Incan Aymara culture—some in colorful traditional dress, tend sheep and work the fields of quinoa and corn.

It’s possible to hike the length of the island in a day, but allow two or three days for a leisurely pace and to make up for the lengthy journey to Isla del Sol from La Paz. The trip requires a 3½-hour bus ride to Copacabana, then a short walk followed by a 90-minute boat trip to the island.

The reward for your efforts is the views: the hilly island has multiple lookouts over the crystal-blue waters of Lake Titicaca with the snow-capped Cordillera Real mountain range beyond. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular—another reason to spend more than a day here.

Several Inca ruins lie along the trail, including the labyrinthine Chincana temple and the Pilko Kaina temple, on the island’s southern tip.
Restaurants and lodgings are humble, but many have million-dollar views. The popular Las Velas, in the village of Yumani, serves organic pizza and is a gathering point at sunset for photos over the lake.

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