At the Copa..Copacabanaaaa!

After a lazy start by yours truly, I checked out of the Cozy Hostel and headed into the main square of Puno in search of coffee. I had a few hours to kill before my bus to Copacabana left so I wandered the streets of Puno and found a café to spend some time in.

Around 1:30pm I headed to the bus station with some others from the hostel and found my bus to Copacabana. It was only a 3 hour journey through the Peruvian countryside and I actually managed to stay awake for the entire journey for once. We reached the border of Peru and Bolivia and were all herded out of the bus and put through customs. It was an uneventful affair, but hilarious as they make you walk up the hill to the Bolivian border while the bus to drives straight on through. As i stepped into Bolivia and I was super excited to add another stamp to my passport but as I was travelling alone, I had no-one to share the moment with. Sadface 😦

The drive into Copacabana took another 15 minutes and before I could stash my belongings back in my bag I was being ushered off the bus and onto the street. It was nearly sunset and I still had to find my hostel. ‘Safety-first Jess’ had pre-booked a hostel online because she didn’t want to roam the streets at dark in search of a bed and because her parents 10,000km away would worry. It seemed like a good idea in theory however after passing a couple of other hostels on the way to mine,  I was paying way, way too much for it! Patting ‘Safety-first Jess’ on the back, I forked over the credit card and called it a luxury treat. Then I converted it back to Aussie dollars and realised I was only paying about $30 for a private room, so I didn’t feel so bad.

Settling into my own room (I had two beds!) I promptly flung open the curtains, took off my bra, emptied my bag on the floor and watched the sun set over the water. This private room business wasn’t so bad after all! Hunger kicked in within 10 minutes so I changed clothes and headed out to explore the little town of Copacabana.

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Beautiful way to end my first day in Copacabana

I’m gonna be the first to admit it, I did initially think that this Copacabana was the one infamous for parties and glorious beaches and had that irritatingly catchy song written after it. Though I was quickly mistaken as learnt that the famous Copacabana was the beach in Rio, not Bolivia. Ahh well.. The Bolivian Copacabana was a little seaside hippy town that’s main purpose was the starting point for those travelling to Isla Del Sol. It’s laid-back vibe is alluring and before you know you’re running on Bolivian time, not really worrying about a thing. I found dinner at a little cafe and then headed back to my private room ready for a solid night of sleeping.

The following morning I slept late again (see Copacabana does relax you!) and reluctantly packed my gear up and changed to a cheaper hostel. This hostel wasn’t quite as fancy as the other one but I had a twin room sharing with another girl for a mere $5AUD per night – can’t complain with that!

I spent the day wandering around Copacabana and just generally chilling out. It had been ages since I’d had a lazy day so it was lovely to just hang out and do my own thing. Late in the afternoon I met a trio of travellers (Alex, Lottie and Matthias) also staying at the hostel so we went out to dinner and organized a trip to Isla Del Sol for the following day. I had the most delicious garlic trout that topped the trout I had on Isla Taquile easily. Bolivian cooking was turning out to be better than I expected!

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Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana
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Streets of Copacabana
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View from the wharf
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Bienvienados to Copacabana!

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The following morning we woke early and grabbed breakfast before jumping on the boat to Isla Del Sol. This island – which translates to Island of the Sun in English – is the largest island on Lake Titicaca and has no motorized traffic. It took about an hour and a half to get there but it felt way longer. The boat was going so slow I reckon I could have swum faster than it! But the views were spectacular. The sapphire coloured water shimmered in the sunlight and in the distance we could see snowy peaks. I may have lost it a little bit, snowy mountains are still a huge novelty for me – I can’t get enough of them!

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Boating to Isla Del Sol
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Snowy mountains! What! How?!
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Arrived – still can’t deal with the snowy peaks

We reached the south of the island and paid our 5 Bolivanos to enter the island and off we set on our hike. We planned to hike across the island to the north side, which was about 8km, and then stay the night. The north side was supposed to be the better place but after seeing the south it had some stiff competition! The start of the hike was an absolute killer – stairs after stairs after stairs, however once we reached the top we were rewarded with a killer view! The lake was absolutely glorious and there was hardly a cloud in the sky, it was a perfect day for a stroll.

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Reached the top of the island and scored some amazing views

DCIM102GOPRO

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South side of Isla Del Sol
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Isla Del Sol
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Traffic on Isla Del Sol

It took us about three hours to get to the north side. We passed small villages, lots of sheep and lots of beautiful views. I think my favourite was the last part of the hike as we hiked down towards to the north side. The white rocks glowed under the hot sun and made the water seem even bluer. As we got down towards the small town of Cha’llapampa it seemed a little quiet and desolate. After the stories we’d been hearing about how the north side was amazing, we were a little disheartened to find not much happening there. Plonking ourselves down by the beach – which was pretty gorgeous – we took off our shoes and rested our weary feet. Matthias jumped in to test the water whereas the three of us girls settled for sunbaking by the shore. While it wasn’t quite what we expected, it was still lovely to just chill out by the water.

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Across the island
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Making friends (aka trying to steal piglets!)
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Almost at the north side!
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The beach on the north side – super chilled!

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Deciding to head back to Copacabana we just made the last boat leaving the north side. It took an hour to reach the south side where we had to stop for an hour before making the journey back to the mainland. Taking the opportunity for lunch on the south side we had quinoa soup and chicken before jumping back on the boat. Another slow (very slow) boat ride back and we were in Copacabana in time for the sunset. Grabbing a couple of cervezas, we perched up in the sunroom of our hostel and watched the sky turn from light to dark.

Tomorrow we’ve off to La Paz! I’ve wanted to go to this city for so long so I’m super excited!

J. x

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