Copacabana, Bolivia, South America
I went to the Isla del Sol today, and it was a little disappointing. The day started out with a great breakfast at the hostel of cereal, yogurt, bread with jam, eggs, and a pancake. It was a pretty good breakfast for a hostel, especially one in Bolivia where I heard the food is disgusting. Good start Bolivia, one point for you.
It turns out that I’m in the same hotel as Gino, so we met for breakfast and then walked down into town together. We got to the tour agency that Jason had booked through at about 8am, and got a couple of tickets for the boat over to Isla del Sol. It was only 35 bolivianos ($5), for the round trip boat, so that was a good deal. We met up with Jason by the port and got on the boat to go to the island. It was a two hour journey and they really packed us into that boat like sardines. Unfortunately I chose one of the worst seats on the boat, where I had a slanted window above me, so I couldn’t sit up straight for the whole ride. It killed my back. At one point I asked a lady if I could sit next to her in a normal comfy seat, and she said it was “occupado”. I then watched that seat for the next 45 minutes sit empty while I sat in pain.
We got to the island around 11am, and had to go through this whole rigamarole of buying a ticket for a museum, even though we didn’t want to go to the museum, because apparently it was also entry to the island. We decided to ditch the guide and head off on our own with a nice french couple we met. So the five of us walked north to the end of the island to see some sacred rock, that was unimpressive, and then some more ruins. The ruins may have been more impressive if I hadn’t just come from Machu Picchu, so I’m a bit difficult to impress at the moment. We then headed south to get to the south port for 3:30pm. The weather was pretty crappy all day, not quite raining, but threatening to the whole time. There was no sun at all despite the name Isla del Sol (Island of Sun), so that was disappointing.
The whole walk was pretty blase, and the weather certainly didn’t help. Neither did all the hills that the path took us to the top of. It’s like the people who constructed this path were playing a horrible joke on the visitors, by making the path go to the crest of every hill on the island. This wouldn’t have been so annoying if we weren’t at 4,000m, so the altitude was really a factor. All five of us walked at a pretty decent pace and didn’t make many stops along the way. Even still, we only made it down to the south port for about 3pm, so we didn’t have that much time to wait for our boat to leave at 3:30pm. I have to assume that there are a lot of people who can’t make it to the south port for that time and possibly miss the boat back to Copacabana. I’m so glad that didn’t happen to us.
I got a normal seat on the boat on the way back, so it was much more comfortable and I spent most of the ride trading travel tips with Annaleah and Nathan, the french couple. They are doing the opposite route from me, so they’ve already been where I’m going, and vice versa. The boat ride was painfully slow, and it always felt like the driver could have moved it into another gear, but he never did. It only took 1.5 hours to get back to Copacabana, but it felt like a lot more.
Jason caught a bus to La Paz at 6pm, so we said bye to him, and Gino and I went out to get dinner in town. We found another little restaurant that was recommended by Lonely Planet and I had some pretty good fajitas. They weren’t quite to Hard Rock Cafe standards, but still pretty good. I’ve still not had a bad meal here in Bolivia, so that’s a good sign. We ended up meeting up with Annaleah and Nathan at the restaurant, so we chatted with them for a bit and then headed off to another place to get some dessert. The wifi at our hostel is painfully slow, and sometimes nonexistent, so we went to a cafe where we knew we could use the wifi, and get a pretty good pancake for dessert.
After all that I was exhausted so we headed back up the hill to our hostel and I’m going to try to crash early tonight. Gino and I are both getting the bus to La Paz at 1:30pm tomorrow, so I don’t have anything to wake up early for. Fingers crossed I can sleep late and then enjoy that awesome breakfast again tomorrow!