Lake Titikaka – where time has stopped
“You can have 3 wishes and for each of those you need to circle the Inca temple anticlockwise”, said our local guide through lake Titikaka.
I couldn’t think of 3 wishes so I went for 2.
First wish was for TIME. Time to do what I want, with people I love, time to get bored, time to read all the books, time to take time, to take things slowly. I somehow still don’t know how to do that.
Second wish was for FREEDOM. Freedom of choice for everyone, freedom to do what you like, freedom to love anyone you want, freedom from expectations I put on myself, freedom from judgment.
This is my memory of lake Titikaka - very quiet, very philosophical.
At 3900m above the sea level Lake Titikaka is the world’s highest navigable body of water and is said to be the born place of Incas. You can definitely feel the energy in the air.
Titikaka is like a little sea with its own microclimates, communities and floating islands.
It rains a lot but when the sun shows up, it’s much sharper than your senses in this altitude.
We have spent a week both on Peruvian and Bolivian side and are keen to share our experiences as we enjoyed it very much.
Peruvian side of Titikaka
We took a night bus from Cusco for 50 soles pp (first time in the VIP section) and arrived short before 6am to Puno. We had some soles left so decided to spend them in Peru rather than changing them to Bolivianos. At the bus terminal are several agencies, already open at the time of the arrival. Although we have heard some not so positive reviews, we agreed to take a rest and have someone else look after us (and think for us) for 2 days. We paid 85 soles per person for 2 days/1 night experience on the lake. It included pick up at the bus terminal at 7.45am, boat ride for both of the days, lunch, dinner, breakfast and accommodation with a community at the island of Amantani, visit to floating islands of Uros and lunch at island of Taquile.
Although we don’t like to go with organised tours, and although the first part of the trip (Uros floating islands) felt like a tourist trap (trying to get us buy stuff everywhere we went), in the end we felt it was well worth the money. Once we got to Amantani, met our host, it became truly nice and peaceful trip. After having late lunch we met with our guide who was explaining the customs, history and culture of the communities living on the island. We slowly climbed to Pacha Tata and watched the sunset. After vegetarian dinner there was a “dance session” where our family has shared some local clothes with us, so we represent 😉
The next day we had pancakes for breakfast at 7am and by 8am our boat was already leaving to get to the island of Taquile. After a beautiful 30min hike to the main plaza we had the best views and were happily chatting with fellow travellers, sitting on the sun. There are more souvenirs you can buy but the highlight for us was how clean this island was, the beautiful streets made out of stone, it somehow reminded us of Italy. The lunch we got served in a restaurant in their outdoor area was really great (trucha a la plancha with quinoa vegetable soup, just perfect and included in the price)
After that it was relaxing 3 hours by boat back to Puno.
One thing to note, you are not able to cross the border to Bolivia after 6pm. Therefore the last bus to Copacabana leaves at 2pm. We had to stay 1 night in Puno and left for 7.30am bus.
Bolivian side of Titikaka
Crossing the border was super easy, the bus driver and his assistant navigated us through money exchange, fees to enter town, paperwork etc.
Copacabana is ready for you and all the other gringos who have heard about this gateway to paradise aka Isla del Sol.
There are plenty of hostels, restaurants, bars to choose from. We paid 100BOB/15USD for clean room with private bathroom and breakfast, smiles from the owner not included 😉
We’ve stayed 2 nights and head out to Isla del Sol by a 8.30am boat. One way ticket was 20BOB per person.
We checked some accommodation on the island on booking.com but once we got there, plenty of options were on offer. You could get a private room for as little as 60-70BOB. After climbing a very steep hill, we found a room with private bathroom and terrace for 100BOB and stayed for 2 nights.
The island itself is very quiet, people simply go there to watch the views, read books and do little bit of hikes.
When we were there, it wasn’t possible to access the south part of the island as there are some conflicts between communities. That doesn’t mean any sort of danger, just that you won’t be able to walk around the whole island. Once there is no conflict, you can visit all these places.
There are Inca ruins that you can check out, you can do half a day trip to Isla de Luna and of course watch the sunset.
It is the most relaxing place that you can think of.
The connection to Lap Paz is very easy. Take a boat back to Copacanaba and catch one of the myriads of minibuses or buses leaving any direction (Peruvian or Bolivian).
Slovak online magazine Aktuality.sk wrote an article about us and our trip to Lake Titikaka. You can read it here.
We've been to Lake Titikaka in late December 2017. If you have more accurate information about the current situation, especially about the conflicts between communities, please do share them in comments. Thank you.