We took a boat early in the morning from Copacabana across Lake Titicaca to the north side of Isla del Sol. On the 1.5 hour boat ride we sat next to our friends from Virginia that we had met the night before. The husband was half Chilean and fluent in Spanish so they decided to travel to South America after graduating from college and ended up living in Bariloche, Argentina for 2 years. Amanda was a teacher and artist and Victor worked as a trekking guide taking tourists to the nearby glacier. As they traveled they sold post cards that Viktor photographed and Amanda painted over to fund their adventures.
We left our big backpacks with the hostel in Copacabana so we didn’t have to carry them while hiking across the island. Amanda and Victor had their packs and camping gear and offered us to spend the night in their tent if we wanted. We didn’t really entertain the idea until we finally arrived at the majestic camping area. The spot was a bit further from where the boat dropped us off than we expected, but at least we weren’t the ones carrying large packs.
We stopped a few times along the way to explore ruins and take pictures before making our way down the bluffs to a calm inlet where a few cows were grazing near the beach. The sun was deliciously strong so we immediately began removing layers of clothing. Once the tent was setup we sat next to the water, ate sandwiches and crackers with jam, and sipped on our own handmade pisco sours. We couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable day–sun on a pristine beach, delectable drinks, music, solitude, and exquisite company. At one point Ryan and Victor even jumped into the frigid water of Lake Titicaca, while Lisa and Amanda wisely and held things down from the dock.
Around 5pm we decided we would abandon paradise to get started on the hike to the other side of the island before it became dark. It took us about 2 hours to reach the south side of the island and while enjoying a beautiful sunset, the temperature dropped drastically, and strong winds rolled in. We passed several checkpoints which we would have had to pay tolls at if we came earlier, but no one was collecting money at this time, so we continued on in solitude. The sun continued to set behind the hills and the sky changed to a variety of spectacular colors as around every bend was another inlet or mountain.
Once we had made it to civilization we ran into a group of Brazilians who gave us advice on where to find a cheap hostel. We checked-in at the hostel, put some warmer clothes on and went to find something for dinner. It was very dark out now, and we were forced to use our headlamps as we walked through the dirt and stone streets of this tiny farming village. We made it back to the main road that we had come in on and found a cute restaurant nestled on top of a hill overlooking the massive lake. An older lady greeted us at the door and set the table with several candles to provide heat and light. We were the only customers so she took her time making our pizza. After what seemed like hours, she served us our pizza, and we devoured every crumb. We carefully made our way back to the hostel just a few blocks away and passed out immediately. In the morning we made our way down to the port to wait for a boat back to the mainland. Before boarding, Lisa spotted our German friend Christian and we reunited with our travel companion without having planned it.