Paradise in the Titicaca Lake
Together with the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, and Ollantaytambo in Peru, the Sun Island is high up in our favorite places so far in South America. The island is just about one hour away by boat from Copacabana, and among the many attractive points it has no roads and therefore no traffic (and no noise, no pollution, no road rage,…). It is also filled with interesting ruins and history, and to top that it offers plenty of options for trekking.
We wanted to visit the island anyway, but the fact that Copacabana was fully booked for the weekend made the decision easier and we spent there three days. The Sun Island is called like that because the Incas believed the Sun was born there.
We first went with a boat to the northern tip of the island, to a village called Challapampa. It has a very nice beach where you could camp, but it was too cold to do it now, in late Autumn, with the kids. A local guide was waiting for the visitors to take us to Titi Qala, a place considered sacred by the Incas as there is a rock where it is believed the Sun was born. In its heyday it was also a pilgrimage center and people would come from everywhere in the Inca empire.
The climb is moderate and no longer than 45 minutes, but still some people in our group struggled. Thomas also required some help, but Simon managed to do the whole way on his own. We then arrived to a big rock where a hole symbolizes the place where the sun came out, although now it is slightly less impressive since a thunder destroyed part of it a couple years back. Later we visited a huge Inca building complex called Chinkana, where the kids loved to play hide and seek.
The guide explained a few facts in a not very academical fashion, and also complained that the pandemic had done a huge damage to the little tourist industry of the island.
He also claimed the Incas considered the island sacred because the weather was mild all year round despite of the altitude, allowing for all kinds of crops to grow here.
After that we took the boat back to the main village in the island, Yumani, where our hostel was. But first we had to climb the Inca stairs, going up a steep hill all the way to Yumani.
Normally I don’t name our accommodations, but in this case the owner was excellent, taking great care of us, giving us tips on where to go or what to eat, and she even gave little toy presents to the kids, so a big recommendation to Palacio del Inka.
The next day Susanne and the kids took it easy while I did the long path connecting the south and north of the island all along the ridge of the mountains. It is a two-three hour walk with great views on both sides, and you arrive again at Titi Qala, the big rock where the Sun was born. This time I had it all to myself (and the few souvenir sellers already there) since I was early. For the way back I was planning to take again the same boat as yesterday, but I would have to wait more than one hour so I decided to take the coastal path back, which links all the villages. It is a continuous up and down, but I enjoyed it even more than the panoramic path on the way up. Happy but tired I came back to Yumani a couple of hours after lunch time.
The next day we just did small side trips to the nearby Sun Temple in the southern tip of the island and spent a bit longer walking around the small alleys in Yumani.
We also wanted to visit the Moon Island, about one hour away from us, but it was very hard to find a boat, you need to be on an organized group. Otherwise you can hire a boat taxi, but they are quite expensive to see yet another Inca ruin, so we let it go.
And then it was time to go back to Copacabana. A bit sad of leaving Isla del Sol, but excited to see if we could still enjoy some of the party of the Senor de Colquepata festival!
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