Lake Titicaca and Isla Del Sol

Trip Start Oct 16, 2009
Trip End Nov 01, 2009

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Well the Puno part of this is going to be very short...we got in very late. Had a view of the lake from the top of the town before descending to the hotel. Our driver, bless him, took us to the wrong hotel (there are two Casa Andina Classics in town) and we had to help him with our poor Spanish and our Lonely Planet map. We got there in the end though and he was very pleased with his tip.

The hotel is lovely. Would have been really pricey but I got a good internet deal. Shame we were going to be there for less than 12 hours!

Transturin (our tour company for the trip to Bolivia) had already rung and left a message confirming pick up in the morning which was great -  I could stop worrying that they wouldn't turn up for us. Then the phone went again - Transturin were in the lobby. They had our Bolivian immigration papers. Blimey this company are organised. Have to say they were expensive but going by the organisation so far you get what you pay for...

We had a quick walk round the main street and Plaza de Armas after using the entire hotel's water supply in two long showers. We both felt so dusty after the long day. We had dinner at La Hospedaje which was fab. It had been a very long day and the next day wasn't going to be any shorter. (once again, I would like to say I don't plan these things - Ole)

26th October - to Bolivia

All too soon it was 05:45 and we were having breakfast and stocking up on coco tea for the journey. Dead on time Transturin arrived for us. They were fabulous throughout. There were only seven of us on the bus all doing slightly different itineraries.  Five of us were going on to La Paz.

I looked at lots of ways of doing this and once again with a tight schedule this worked out the most time effective way and ultimately the most fun.  The bus followed the lake shore pretty much to Copacabana - we had a very interesting comfort stop en route at Pomata where the local public toilets were locked and we ended up being escorted through the town by the local policeman who took the whole group into the council buildings to use their loos. Very surreal but just went to show how helpful people were throughout our holiday.

We crossed the border on foot at Yunguyo - and I felt like a proper traveller! - have only ever done a foot crossing once before under the relatively scary circumstances of Zambia to Zimbabwe

The officials on either side weren't worried with anything and the Bolivian one didn't even look at my ID page and there I was wondering whether I'd need my Yellow Fever vaccination certificate.
Suddenly we were in Bolivia and the bus arrived with a new guide to take us to Copacabana. The church there is beautiful and the Virgin de Copacabana was very interesting to see. Once again our guide was very good

From Copacabana we were taken through the town and down to the docks  Next door to the (now, controversially, land locked) Bolivian Navy headquarters was our catamaran. This would be what would take us to the Isla del Sol and then on to Chua.

We were fed on the boat and then sat back and looked at the scenery until the island came into view. The water was so blue and the colours really clear. Some people on the trip were suffering with the altitude but so far we were still OK. The island is at around 3800 metres above sea level. We just kept knocking back the coco tea....don't think that affected my perception of the colours at all... 

We climbed up the Inca steps leading up from the jetty and this nearly saw me off - the altitude and the heat! - still, I did make it and had a sit down at the top. We were taken round Transturin's own complex on the Island where they run projects for the local communities. They obviously provide some employment for the local community and are working on keeping some old traditions alive and restoring the ancient terracing. We saw a ceremony by an Aymara priest  and a demonstration of reed boat making.
The view from the island was truly breathtaking. It was hot and sunny and despite suncream and a hat we both burned.

We then had a quick sail on a reed boat round to where the catermaran was now docked. This was fun but a bit touristy. We did get to row though I did need a lot of help from the proper sailors! 

Lunch on the boat was nice - I finally risked the lake trout, and no ill effects. We then had a two hour journey to Chua. At the narrowest point there is a ferry crossing. We had to take a photo as the local bus went over on it. Then the journey was over it was time to get on another bus and travel to La Paz. 


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