Located in the department of La Paz and with 176 kilometers long by 70 kilometers wide, it is the highest navigable lake on the planet, with an average height that is higher than 3,800 meters above sea level.
This great lake divides its extension between Bolivia and the neighboring country, Peru. In his domain the mysterious Tiwanacota culture developed, one of the most representative of Bolivia. It is a place full of history and mysticism; I invite you to read «Ecos del mar de Bolivia» to learn more about this tourist attraction.
Interesting Information about the Island of the Sun
On the Bolivian side of the lake, the main riverside town and the main tourist population center is Copacabana. Located 155 kilometers from the wonder city (La Paz), which involves three hours of travel and an expense of 30 Bs. (€ 3.3 or US $ 4.3), it has as one of its main attractions the image of the Virgin of Copacabana, one of the most important marian admirations in the country.
The town itself has only 3,000 inhabitants, although it encompasses 33 pediatric communities as a municipality to complete a total population of 15,000 inhabitants.
Copacabana is a place specially prepared for tourists and has a great variety of hotel offerings, although according to Pablo Petraglia, told on his blog, it is more expensive than the rest of the country; it can be understood, as it is a tourist area …
A point that we recommend, and that is unavoidable in your visit, is the Isla del Sol, which you can reach by boats that leave from Copacabana at 10 am. and at 1:30 p.m., for the modest price of 25 Bs. (3.6 US $ or 2.8 €).
Maybe you want to know
With an area of ??just over 14 km², it is the largest island on Lake Titicaca.
Inhabited by indigenous people from the Quechua and Aymara communities, it maintains the use of both languages, in addition to Spanish.
Legend has it that the god Inti (Sun) brought Manco Cápac (who later founded and ruled the Inca Empire in the city of Cusco) and Mama Ocllo, his wife (who surely had something to do with so successful), so that they civilized humanity. It is believed that it was on the Isla de Sol where the Inca culture emerged.
The Altitude on the Island of the Sun
Island of the Sun is the highest island in the world. With 4,075 masl at its highest point, it is necessary to follow certain tips to prevent altitude sickness or soroche.
Before your trip to this area, you should know about this disorder and find out what you can do to avoid it. A poor adaptation to altitude conditions can bring you problems that you will surely want to avoid.
What to see on the Island of the Sun
As we have already mentioned, our visit had to be limited to the south of the island, to the Yumani community. If you have better luck when you go and they have lifted the restriction on tourism, know that you can do a route of about 4 hours through the highlights from south to north.
We can tell you that the main attraction, in the far north, is the Rock of the Origins or Sacred Rock. It is said that it was from that place that Macon Cápac and Mama Ocllo left for Cusco. Very close, also in Challapampa, you can see the Labyrinth or Chinkana. As we could not approach these places, so far we can tell you.
What we can assure you is that to be able to travel the island in conditions, you will need a full day. To enjoy it 100%, we advise you to stay two nights.
The first stop of interest in Yumani is the Inca staircase that gives access to the upper part. The climb is steep and the altitude works against you. Take your time to rest, hydrate, and don’t gain too much weight.
You will see local people, especially women, walking up and down the stairs loaded up to the eyebrows while you lose your liver in each section. Yes, we are nobody, face it!
Right away you will find the pre-Columbian fountain with three different watersheds, another of the attractions of this area.
How to get to the Island of the Sun?
The boats that connect Copacabana and Isla del Sol (and de la Luna) leave at two times every day:
- Outbound – Copacabana – Isla del Sol: 8.30am and 1.30pm
- Return – Isla del Sol – Copacabana: 10:30 and 15:00
As you may have already imagined from the frequencies of the boats, it is not worth going and coming back in the same day: you would not have time for anything. Furthermore, Isla del Sol is a place where you want to stay one or two nights.
These speedboats that are taken from Copacabana beach, take a little less than 2 hours to disembark in Puerto Yumani, in the south of the island (currently the only access point) and take the opportunity to make a stop at Isla de la Luna.
Tickets can be purchased at the port itself or at the Avenida 6 de Agosto operators (who usually make offers if you book the Copacabana exit with them). For the return from Isla del Sol you must get the ticket at the Puerto Yumani booth. If we remember correctly, they put them on sale around 9:00.
The price per journey and person ranges between 20 and 30 bolivianos.
We leave you a link in case you want to know how to get from Puno, Cusco or La Paz to Isla del Sol and Copacabana.
In our case, we arrived in Copacabana from Cusco (we spent one night in Copacabana and another on Isla del Sol) and we left Copacabana for La Paz.
Where to sleep on the Island of the Sun
As I mentioned above, I did not stay to sleep on the Isla del Sol and it is something that I should have done to be able to make the visit more calmly and enjoy the Island more.
For this reason, I leave you in this section a Booking link so that you can take a look at the accommodations. Prices are from € 20 for a double room.
What’s on Isla del Sol and why is it so important? Isla del Sol is in the southern part of Titicaca and is the largest of the islands of Lake Titicaca. There is no motorized transport on the island, so you will have to walk (and a lot) if you really want to soak up everything it has to offer. We highly recommend it.
Island of the Sun or Island of the Moon?
As with any trip, the answer depends on the time you have and your priorities. In our case, and to give us time to do everything planned in the itinerary, we had one night to spend in Copacabana and another to spend on one of the islands.
In view of the boat schedules, visiting the two islands in one day and spending the night on one of them could become crazy. There are tours that take you to the two islets and return you to Copacabana in one day, but we are not very fond of this option unless it is strictly necessary.
We had read that Isla del Sol was a charming place, with a lot to see (not so much if the visit is limited to the southern part due to tourism restrictions) and with views of the lake and the sister island worth seeing.
On the Island of the Moon we read that it had some beautiful ruins (the Palace of the Virgins of the Sun) and that, in general, they recommended going to the Island of the Sun in case of having to decide.
Perhaps we could have hurried the times and visited both before our departure to La Paz, but we would not have enjoyed the moment, nor the place.