Fearless Explorer

15.0 Isla del Sol, Bolivia

The first time I passed by the famous Lake Titicaca I was a little under pressure, due to some appointments in Cusco and unfortunately didn’t have time to do all the sight-seeing I was hoping for. However the next time I was there I was under no time pressure and decided to tick a off a few of the sights. The most important one was La Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), located near Copacabana on the Bolivian side of the lake. Most of the vast lake is actually situated on the Peruvian side of the border, but the Bolivians are lucky enough to posses what is really the most important part—including the famous island itself.

So, what make this island so special and important? Well, it has to do with Andean folklore and religion, a rich and deep tradition, which holds that the island was where the first Inca, Manco Capac emerged along with his wife. The spot is marked by a large stone, stone sacrificial table and extensive ruins of the original temple of the sun.

My trip to the island began early on Saturday morning, setting off by boat from Copacabana with a large group of fellow tourists. After a two hour boat journey we disembarked on the Island  and began exploring with our guide, arriving at the above-mentioned ruins after a couple more hours. I became aware of the fact that the tour was progressing very slowly and that we would need to get moving if we wanted to catch the boat back from the other end of the island in a few hours. I had befriended a couple more Brits and couple of Americans and we decided to hike along the length of the island together in order to catch our boat later that afternoon.

Based on the already late hour and the distance yet to be covered, we all agreed that we had better get a move on if we wanted to make it on time and not be left snoozing on the island for the night, since there would be no more boats until the following day. After figuring out the route we set off at a brisk pace and felt that we should be able to complete the hike with plenty of time to spare. However, after an hour or so we reached a fork in the path and it wasn’t at all obvious which was the correct route. Based on my (as it later turned out incorrect) intuition we took a left and promptly found ourselves even more off- track, oops my fault.

We finally got back on course but the two Brits were now quite exasperated and apparently irritated with me for having screwed things up. The two Americans were cheerful and unconcerned as they had brought all their camping gear and were quite prepared to stay the night if need be. We were supposed to be on the boat for 3pm and it was already 2:30pm with still no sign of the port as yet. I decided it I would run ahead, as I was the only one not carrying much gear and see if I could get there in time, and hopefully get the boat crew to wait a while longer for my new friends.

I ran ahead down the rocky path and soon spied the small port and its piers below, managing to arrive just in time and had a few words with the captain. I could see my friends a good 5 or 10 minutes behind me, with the two Brits looking particularly stressed out. Fortunately, the crew were very laid back and had no intention of setting off until the boat was full anyway, so it all worked out okay in the end!

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