Sometimes you need a vacation from a vacation. It sounds a little bit silly considering the amazing journey we are on, but believe it or not, travelling can be exhausting (tough life we know).
We breezed through Peru and whilst we enjoyed every single moment of the country and experienced almost everything we wanted, there’s’ no denying, it was full throttle.
Once arriving in the busy city of La Paz, we decided we wanted to go somewhere remote, peaceful, Wi-Fi free, quiet & relaxed. So we jumped on a bus from La Paz, Bolivia and headed for Isla Del Sol, which is also known as Island of the Sun.
Getting to Isla Del Sol
Isla Del Sol is the largest of the Islands in Lake Titicaca and is easily reachable from Copacabana, which is 4 hours from La Paz. Many bus companies run daily departures there. We booked our tourist bus through the online travel agency Kanoo Tours, however, Bolivia Hop and Vicuna Tours also organize reliable safe transfers. Don’t jump on any bus in Bolivia, some companies have a very bad reputation with unsafe drivers so be sure to know who you are booking with.
Meanwhile, halfway through the trip, the bus stops at a lake and you’re all told to hop off the bus. The bus then drives onto its own ferry (and by ferry we mean some wooden logs nailed together) and then you’re told to cross the lake on another boat, before jumping back on board on the other side. A small but interesting detour! Bring some small change as this isn’t included in your bus ticket. It will set you back a whopping 2 Bolivianos (USD $0.30!).
Once at Copacabana, daily ferries run to and from the Island. Very, very slowly!
The times below are the time to and from the South side.
- TO Isla Del Sol – 8:30am & 1:30pm
- FROM Isla Del Sol – 10:30am & 4:00pm.
Tickets can be purchased the day of travel for 20 Bolivianos (USD $3) to the South side and 25 Bolivianos (USD $3.60) to the North side.
Note: There are 2 parts to Isla Del Sol. The North (Challapampa) and South (Yumani) sides. Ferries drop people first in the South before heading to the North.
Most of the hotels & restaurants are on the South Side but the nicest beaches to swim are in the North. It is popular and common to hike from the North to the South (details below).
Hiking across the Island
If you intend to walk from North to South, expect to take enough cash with you to pay the toll points along the way for the various Inca sites. You will need around 30 Bolivianos (USD $4). The walk will take anywhere from 3-4 hours depending on how well you do with the altitude and how often you stop to take in the scenery or swim. A good excuse to suck it in. It’s best to reach the south side by dark as the island isn’t lit up at night time.
There are a few places to stop and eat along the way but don’t rely on them, hence it’s recommended to bring a packed lunch from Copacabana or snacks.
Staying on the Island
We knew heading here that we wanted to stay the night on the Island. There isn’t much to do here at all so it’s not for everyone.
The hotel standards on the island are of island standards, but there is still a decent selection. We stayed at Hostal Del Sol which was basic, but enough. The views were absolutely breathtaking with views of the east and west of the island.
The breakfast was set in the beautiful garden overlooking Lake Titicaca, surrounded by donkeys and llamas. We were also close to a cluster of cafes and restaurants for perfect sunrise/sunset views.
Be prepared for the epic 30-40min walk up the hill to reach the hostel though. Thankfully we left the bulk of our bags back in La Paz but if you didn’t then the hostel will give you the opportunity to rent a donkey to help you out. Can’t say we’ve ever received that in a confirmation email before… “If you need to rent a donkey to help you to our property then please allow notice to arrange”!
The walk was absolutely worth it and we’re really getting used to this hiking business.
Once the sun goes down, be prepared for cold windy evenings and depending on where you stay, cold showers! This is all part of the experience. No need for high standards on this island.
Eating on Isla Del Sol
Trout is the most commonly eaten dish on the island and rightfully so. It is so fresh! Often the restaurants have daily menus which consist of a soup, main and dessert. Typically a quinoa soup, trout and then a fruit with chocolate sauce or yoghurt. They are very reasonably priced and you can eat all of it for 25-35 Bolivianos (USD $5).
A short walk from our hotel, we stumbled upon a restaurant, Pachamama, located on the top of the hill with views to give Santorini a run for its money and this is where we enjoyed one of our favourite meals.
Sometimes you forget what life is like without technology, large supermarkets and busy streets, instead sometimes surrounding yourself with simplicity, roaming animals, stunning views, and peace and quiet is often all you need and really, it is quite refreshing!
Married days survived: 305