First steps in BoliviaFebruary 14, 2017 in Bolivia
Copacabana and isla del sol
Copacabana...sounds exotic doesn't it...this was far from where we were dropped off drowsy 💤 from the bus journey. Whilst we lugged our bags trying to find our next move (I sound like I'm playing snakes and ladders - which honestly...at times this is what it feels like ...in a foreign land where we don't speak much of the language)
We approached by a lady (speaking English) selling boat tickets to Isle del Sol. We purchased 4 tickets (one way) from her without shopping around. (We were drowsy, tired and didn't have the stamina to tackle the language) a good sell for her!
She told us the boat leaves at 13:30hrs. Bolivia is 1hr ahead of Peru - so that left us just 45 mins to find and get to the port.
Again - we trudged our bags to the port through the chaotic market streets (I say trudged because it began to rain heavily) I wasn't liking Copacabana at the moment and was hoping for Isla del sol (Island of the sun ☀️) to live up to its glorified name.
Hannah and I sat on a small sized boat whilst the boys went out to buy food and get cash 💰
There are no atms on Isla del Sol so be sure to withdraw cash from Copacabana #BoliviaTravelTip
We waited on the bus with a group of hippies and were wondering what we getting ourselves into
We hadn't eaten since yesterday evening so we were extremely grateful for a chap boarding our boat to sell vegetarian/vegan burgers - it was delicious!
At times like this - we feel gods grace - thank you for our daily bread 🍞- and vegetarian food which is always limited here in South America
The boat eventually sailed off towards the sunshine! 🌞 (duration of journey 1hr and abit)
Upon arriving on the island (south) we were greeted by two gentlemen on the pier to ask for tax. (Keep hold of this ticket #BoliviaTravelTip.
This is mandatory for the up keep of the island. We were told that you don't need to book any hostels (especially in low season) hostel/guesthouse owners come looking for tourists/backpackers
This was the case for us also - we (girls) sat with our bags whilst the boys scoped out a guesthouse- it's quite a steep difficult climb (particularly difficult with body-sized backpacks) - we decided to settle for this small family run guesthouse upon the recommendation of 'Frank' a French traveller who checked in earlier that day.
The guest house was nice - private rooms and bathroom but one of them didn't have a sink/basin and the other room didn't have hot water for the shower.
The guest houses were situated on a cliff side and around a small area of grass owned by the owners (who also relaxed outside on the tree/stone stumped tables and chairs)
We showered up (cold showers typical of the island) and went for a walk at around 6pm
There was a chill in the air which was felt a lot more by the eerie quietness of the island
Where is everyone we thought?
It was still quite a steep climb - we decided to stop for dinner (pizza and pasta and chips) in a small family run restaurant.
We felt quite guilty asking for food since the lady was cooking all by herself and took ages.
By the time we ate, it was complete dark outside. We needed to make our way back down the rustic steps and paving stones (thank god we packed our headlights!)
The next day we planned to walk up this way so that we can walk on the north island (3hrs there 3hrs back)
We took the early morning sun to wash our clothes (basic basin style wash with a tap/brush and soap) Indian village style, have breakfast courtesy of the family costing us $15 sole per person) then set off our way to the north of the island.
This was a long walk with a mixture of both warm and cool climates
We walked through the barren lands, rocks and dry fields passing villages, important ruins, peaks and checkstops (again paying a small fee - keep hold of this ticket and the tax ticket you paid when you arrived on to the island!) #BoliviaTravelTip
It was a long walk by the views were lovely.
Upon arriving at the north of the island we realised why the South Island was so quiet. The beach was littered with many tents ⛺️ propped up by backpackers
There seemed to be more 'life' on this side of the island compared to the south where we were staying - but I imagine it would get more rowdy in the evenings
We spent some time here before we commenced our 3hr journey back before nightfall
Again this was a long tiresome walk back (around the other side this time) but we made it back in time for dinner (pizza again) and straight to sleep 😴
The next day we chilled out a little before catching our boat back to Copacabana at (what we thought was 1pm) it transpires that there is no boat at 1pm! It's 8am and 3pm! We were stuck! (Do you recall the snakes and ladders game I referred to earlier) we were puzzled as to what to do ... we couldn't wait till 3pm as we need to get to Lapaz (bus yet to be booked)
We couldn't do this before hand because internet is scarce on the island - hostels/guesthouses quite often advertise free wifi but the internet runs off a mobile phone which gets switched off or inaccessible most of the time.
Luckily - we managed to find a group of French travellers (who were in the same position as us) who decided to hire a private boat for a higher fee.
It worked out being only a little bit more but convenient for us.
We happily sat on the small yacht-shaped boat 🚣🏻 thankful for being at the port at the right time
Though again, we hadn't eaten or have any food for our journey - we had a lot to cram in before finding and boarding a bus to Lapaz!
We managed to book a bus to Lapaz (blindly booking the last tickets on the bus) leaving us 45 mins to find food and a loo break
We were overcome by numberous hurdles (no ladders just snakes! 🐍 ) we struggled to find food and toilets! Leaving us on a countdown of minutes. We ended up (reluctantly) opting for (as a last resort) crisps, water and a avocado 🥑 and tomato sandwich which had already been claimed by a fly (sat in the locked refrigerator) we could only hope and pray that the fly had clean feet! 😖
We quickly dashed for the loo and then the bus 🚍- to our 'luck' it was the last two seats in the corner right at the back (ooof! I looked at Dipesh) this is going to a bumpy ride!
I felt more for the pregnant girl who as sat a seat away from me - it was a bumpy uncomfortable ride for me - I can't imagine what she must have felt.
We were sat on a bus with locals (plus a couple of dogs) part way through the journey they all stepped the bus - be known to the four of us, we were to cross lake Titicaca by a barge-type equipment.
We sat quietly and eagerly whilst the coach bobbed along across the lake. We were eventually joined by our fellow passengers
Four hours later...we were dropped off (in the middle of nowhere) in Lapaz (world most dangerous city) with no accommodation booked 😧
Apparently the bus doesn't (or decided not to) drop us off to the bus terminal - again no one tells us this until we are the last ones left on the bus wondering what is going to happen next
We managed to locate a hostel and hoped that they would take the four of us in this late in the evening.
We nervously hailed a taxi with our big backpacks asking him to take us to
I felt safe once within the doors of hostel BacabooRead more