Sunday, October 4, 2009

Isla del Sol

The biggest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world, lies at 3,810 m, its 196 km length spanning the Andean border between Peru and Bolivia. Lake Titicaca is the cradle of Inca civilization and Ilsa del Sol is the Incas’ holiest site. Today most things about lake Lake Titicaca are at odds with the modern, technological and politician world. The Aymara people who farm Isla del Sol grow barley, quinoa wheat, potatoes and maize on harsh, rocky terrain.

The island is part of Bolivia, but power and ownership simply don’t matter when you are actually there. It’s the resident Aymara who guard the spiritual continuum of the place. Their fishing, fields and alpaca herds allow no development of tourist amenities or roads, and the way of life is indifferent to visitors who pace and race.

When to go: October to March, when the days are warmer. Nights are always cold. Population:5,000. How to get there: By ferry boat, via several of Titicaca’s islands, to/from Puno (Peru) from/to Guiaqui (Bolivia). Backpackers can reach the small Bolivian lakeside village of Copacabana bu bus or car, then take an open boat for the 1-hour ride to Isla del Sol.

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