Situated on a peninsula a mere ten kilometres from the border between Peru and Bolivia, Copacabana is a logical stop off point between Cuzco and La Paz. For those wanting to completely escape the cities or towns it’s also a jump off point for Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun).
Steeped in legend and being considered the center of the cosmos by the local population, according to Incan mythology, it was from Lake Titicaca that the creator god Viracocha rose up to create the sun, moon, stars, and the first human beings. Unhappy with the greed that had overpowered the new race, Viracocha sent a flood that killed all but three of them. From here the human race flourished.
Although Copa maybe a transit point, it still has a number of great restaurants (La Corza does a juicy Filet Mignon cheap) and hotels, though definitely shop around as they vary in quality for the same price range. Sleeping the night at Puerto Allegre (there’s better value elsewhere), it’s an early start for the ferry to Challapampa along the East coast of Isla del Sol, passing the villages gently starting to spread up the hillsides.
Shopping around for accommodation had us settling on the backside of the island at Hostal Cultural, chosen for its first floor patio that basks in the afternoon sun (sorry kids no WiFi). With the view over the back beach studded with tents full of stinking hippies we note the ‘others’ gazing up in jealousy at our sunny roost above the alleyway as they walk by. That evening we find that the wine, even out on the Island, is CHEAP. At USD$2.50 a bottle it’s inevitable we’d end up on the beach with a few English lasses annoying the locals with raised voices of mildly intoxicated conversations.
Next morning after a cheap filling breakfast at the friendly Restaurant La Nustra, we take the walk along the tranquil cove, past the school and on to the ruins of a settlement and the epicenter of the birth of the Inca Empire. Roca Sagrada (the Sacred Rock) is technically Ground Zero where the legends begin, followed by the fountain of youth and Rock of the Puma. The walk back over the ridge evokes memories of the deserted coves filled with translucent waters broken only by the local runner boats which only the Greek Islands could possibly imitate. It is possible to walk the length of the island if you have more time though we opted for lazing about instead.
Back into reality, still a beautiful one at that, the only ferry back is due any moment now.
Back in Copa there’s loads of buses plying the road to La Paz. In possession of this knowledge we sit dock side for a feed at El Fagon. The drive from Copacabana to La Paz hugs Lake Titicaca as it winds down to the shore with snow-capped mountains off in the distance on the way to a small ferry across the lake.
No chance that it’ll take the bus
Booted off the bus for a reason, the beast is loaded onto a less that reliable looking timber vessel to be shuffled across whilst we’re separated into the passenger ferry. Waiting on the far side there’s a look of panic amongst all those not accustomed to seeing this mode of transport, hoping their belongings don’t end up at the bottom of the lake. We’re less that fazed having put Porkchop on something similar months back.
Back on the bus we eventually arrive to begin our stay in our first brew hostel in Bolivia’s Capital La Paz.