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Isla del Sol - Island of the Sun
Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is one of the most sacred places in Bolivia. According to Inca legend it is where the sun god's children, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo ("Adam & Eve" of the Incas), emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca and found the Inca civilization.
Isla del Sol is the largest island on Lake Titicaca, measuring in size of about 10km by 7km (6 miles by 4 miles). The island contains few small villages, that are home to about 5,000 mostly indigenous people who farm the lands, fish or raise alpaca.
The island's landscape consists of steep, rocky hillsides with green, scrubby bushes. Many hills on the island are farmed on the steep terraces. There are numerous sandy, isolated bays and coves. The island offers amazing sights over the lake and the distant Andean Mountain range.
On the north end of Isla del Sol is the village of Challapampa. Boats also arrive to this village. Just north of this village you'll find the famous Chicana ruins, which is a maze of interlinking rooms and passageways built around a sacred rock. Just a few hundred feet from the Chinaka ruins you'll find the sacred "Rock of Puma", which according to Inca legend is where the Inca civilization was born.
The island has a magical feel to it and is a good place to spend a day or two to check out the sights. The island hosts over 150 ancient ruins, which date back to the Inca and pre-Inca period. Even though there are no paved roads or vehicles on the island, you can still explore these ancient ruins by using the many trails.
Most travelers only spend a day on the island, however most of them leave wishing they could spend another day hiking and exploring the Inca ruins. There are some small hotels on the Isla del Sol that travelers can stay at, if they wish to stay longer.
Getting ThereFrom the beach in Copacabana, there are tour agencies and boat owners that go to and from Isla del Sol. A one-way ticket cost about US$1-2. You can also buy a round trip ticket but it is hard to link up with your original boat if you decide to stay longer. It is best just to get a one-way ticket and it is easy to find a boat for the way back.
Another option to getting there is booking with a tour agency out of La Paz. They offer a tour of Lake Titicaca and many of the island around the lake. These guided tours begin in La Paz, where they pick you up at your hotel with their bus. You then drive to Lake Titicaca and get on a little cruise boat to check out the Inca ruins at the main Islands. The guided tours include a stop in Copacabana to see the church. Lunch and snacks are served on the cruise boat. Most these type of tours are a day trip around the lake.
Places to StayIf you're true backpacker and looking to sleep under the stars or in a tent, there are plenty of deserted beaches and uninhabited land, where you can set up and camp for the night. The best places are away from the villages.
Hotels are another option and probably the first option for most people or you can head back to Copacabana by boat for a place to stay.
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