Bolivia Categories Collaborations South America Top 10

Sacred Waters of Isla Del Sol

Friday, September 12, 2014
Sacred Waters of Isla Del SolLike0

Sacred Waters: Isla Del Sol – Travel Junkie Diary

By Sarah Freeman 

There are islands and then there are islands. Isla Del Sol (Island of the sun), located in the Southern part of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, isn’t any ordinary island. Amongst the rocky, hilly terrain are perfectly preserved Inca ruins. It is here, according to legend, that God Viracocha, creator of the universe, emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca and created the sun. And this is no ordinary lake – at 3,200 square miles in size and up to 1,000 feet in depth, Titicaca is one of the largest, highest and deepest lakes in the world. I took an hour-long, very calm and scenic boat trip from Copacabana on the mainland, to explore this ancient holy site of the Inca. Surrounded by the azure Lago Titicaca with the imperious peaks of the Cordillera Real rising above the shore on the mainland to the east, there is no denying the island’s great natural beauty and tranquility. Life here is very simple – no noise, no motorized traffic, no rubbish on the streets, and, wait for it, no wifi! This is a place to (literally) switch off, and breathe. And the locals preferred mode of transport? Donkeys of course! With a population of around 5,000, Isla del Sol is dotted with several villages and two small towns – Challapampa in the north and Yumani on the south end. Some people choose to do a day trip from Copacabana and take the ferry to either the north or south of the island, and walk the length of the island in either direction. If you want to really ‘escape’ and take at least a few days here, I recommend staying at one of the many ‘hospedajes’ in either of the towns. You just turn up and ask for lodgings, reservations don’t exist here! I stayed in Yumani, also the site of the island’s famous Inca Steps, which descend down to the lake. 206 stone steps (believe me – you will feel every single one of them!), built by the Incas, lead up into the town and to a sacred fountain, made up of three separate springs and are said to be the fountain of youth. If you enjoy a spot of hiking and breathtaking views, you can walk the circumference of the island in a day, and be back in time to watch the sunset over the mythical Lake. There is very much an indigenous culture that exists on the island – expect to be meeted and greeted by young children with herds of donkeys and women (or cholitas) wearing the traditional belled skirts and ‘bombin’ bowler hats. It is possible to get a map of the walking route from the ferry dock at Copacabana, but the path is very navigable. On the north end of the Island of the Sun is the town of Challapampa and a series of ancient Inca sacred sights, the highlight of which is the fascinating Chinkana (labyrinth). A massive stone complex full of mazes, it was thought to be an ancient training centre for Inca priests. A natural spring begins here, runs under the island and appears again in the sacred fountain in Yumani. Heading back to Yumani in the North, there are plenty of opportunities to take a dip in the clear blue waters, explore forgotten villages and exchange greetings with the locals. Don’t expect wild entertainment in the evenings though! The most magical thing you can do (and it’s free) is star gaze. This is some of the clearest sky in the world. As for dinner, restaurants are still a pretty new concept here, but you can’t go wrong with some of freshly caught trucha (trout) at your lodgings. Just like thousands of pilgrims flocked to the shrines and temples on this very special island years ago, the spiritual and non-spiritual are now drawn by Isla del Sol’s tranquility and unique, un-spoilt beauty. Go now, before the secret gets out…

How to get There

American Airlines flies from Dubai to La Paz (the capital of Bolivia) via London and New York. Copacabana is four hour drive from La Paz.

Lifestyle
Lifestyle
ISLA DEL SOL walking from North to South
ISLA DEL SOL walking from North to South
ISLA DEL SOL tranquil waters
ISLA DEL SOL tranquil waters
ISLA DEL SOL - NORTH ISLAND
ISLA DEL SOL – NORTH ISLAND
COPACABANA
COPACABANA

BIO PIC Sarah Freeman‘s professional background is as a Magazine Art Director, working for the last five years in Dubai on high profile women’s consumer magazines, including Good Housekeeping. Alongside her creative job, she has dedicated a lot of time to photography. Food and landscapes are subjects I am particularly drawn to, “which is why I have just spent 7 months adventuring through Central and South America, documenting every step of the way on her blog!” Find her on Instagram too Here.

 

Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler

Leave a Reply

Follow @ traveljunkiediary
  • Let’s go somewhere far away where there is only static on our radios. Join me on the 2-7th April 2020 on our @travelwithtjd road trip journey to Iceland. Message me for details or click the link in bio 💫 #CreateYourReality #TravelwithTJD
  • Our @travelwithtjd season has started and we have started to take bookings for 2020. Join @dennisstever and I on the 2nd - 7th of April in Iceland on a beautiful road trip to explore lagoons, waterfalls, horseriding, northern light hunting, glacier hiking, Icelandic cuisine and incredible landscapes! Direct message me for more info or click the link in bio💫 #TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality

Photo by @dennisstever
  • Leaving Northumberland and back to Dubai!
Join me tomorrow, I will be in @uterqueofficial at @thedubaimall with @louisenichol at 4pm to 6pm, talking about how I turned my passion into a reliable and profitable business on @travelwithTJD @TJDHospitality.
In recent seasons, Uturque has been championing women empowerment by hosting a series of panel talks and discussions across the globe led by women who are experts in their professional field and it gives me great pleasure to be part of it.
  • A little gem in Newcastle...
Have a beautiful weekend everyone ❤️
and thank you @visitbritaingcc @wegoarabia and @visitneengland for designing an incredible itinerary for me and for taking so good care of me during my bucket list trip.
  • Northumberland originally meant 'the land of the people living north of the River Humber'. The present county is the core of that former land, and has long been a frontier zone between England and Scotland. 
Caught moments before the tripod tumbled and turned thanks to that slight countryside breeze 😊 
I travel for that breeze :)
@visitbritaingcc @visitneengland @wegoarabia
  • Any Vikings fans here?? I’ve ticked a bucket list place! Lindisfarne – also known as Holy Island – is one of the most important places of early English Christianity. Irish monks settled here in AD 635. 
To get here, there is only one road and that is covered twice a day by the North Sea at certain time of the day. About three miles of road disappears by the high tide and you can’t leave or get there until the tide changes back and the road re-appears.
Many visitors will attempt the ‘Pilgrims Way’ the ancient route across the sands marked by wooden posts. 
June AD 793 was destined to be one of their darkest days... it was here where the Vikings invaders from Scandinavia first landed in England on the shores of Lindisfarne, and launched a deadly attack on the church and the inhabitants. You can follow @visitneengland and @visitbritaingcc to see more on North East England.
  • October has been a tough one, but things are slowly making their way back to alignment... and a road trip to the countryside helped me clear my mind! 
I’m happy to be working with @visitbritainGCC and @wegoarabia on a beautiful campaign highlighting what we search for when we travel, and, my search took me to Northumberland, the northernmost part of England. 
I’ve always wanted to visit northern England & learn more about the history of Northumbria and the Anglo-Saxon period. 
Road-tripping in the countryside the past 4 days has been an incredible experience! 
I’d love to know what is it you look for when you travel?
  • My heart is heavy. My heart is full. My heart is with you. 
Lebanon is not just a country on the map, but made up of stories of people you meet and homes you visit, food you share together, music you dance with together. 
I prayed for this day. But I didn’t expect to have my heart spoken by so many of you. 
We all may be living in different countries, geographical areas, and time zones but one thing which unites us all is that we all belong to one race which is humanity!
To the voices that resonated with me:

Thank you @eliefahed for the video

@ginoraidy I don’t know you, I don’t know your past I don’t know your future, but I love you with all my heart and soul and I will never forget you. 
I will never forget how you made us feel during the protests, being my voice when I couldn’t speak, the voice of many who had to live abroad for many years yearning to return home to stability and freedom. To give our children a chance to learn the language, to feel the warmth of the Lebanese homes and to have an identity. 
To the old man crying in relief in the corner watching as the world finally woken up. Thank you, I love you. 
To the soldier who couldn’t hold his tears when the people begged him to walk hand in hand with them. Thank you, I love you. 
To the brave men and women who stood against those against us. Thank you, I love you. 
To the mothers who left their children at home to protest on the streets for their children and mine. Thank you, I love you. 
To those far away with a heaviness in their heart because they can’t physically be there, but know that you are. We see you. Across the world. We see you. We are one and I love you. 
To @ghidafarhat who made my heart ache and spoke to truth on who we are not. 
Thank you, I love you. 
To my friends and family who has dropped everything to fly to Lebanon to stand in unity with everyone because every single soul counts. 
To the @lebaneseRedCross,  we see you, we feel you, we know you and you are Lebanon. Thank you. 
To my parents. My heroes. Thank you for giving me and my sisters a safe place to live in. Now, our generation will fight back on what’s rightfully ours and we will fight for you! #livelovebeirut forever
  • The Norwegian Vikings arrived in Iceland in open Viking ships in the 9th century and settled on this cold volcanic island in the north. 
All the energy of the world comes from the north, and you can sense it here. ‘The land of the Gods’. If you are anything like me, who is addicted to history books, fantasy worlds and photography, then you will love it here. A huge thank you to @hertziceland for supporting us on @travelwithtjd with a beast of a car the first few days because it just made our road trip so much more fun!
  • I’m lovin that bunny... (A little inside joke just because... ☺️) Thank you @dennisstever for the pic
  • “If two points are meant to meet, the universe will always find a way to make the connection... even when all hope seems to be lost - the journeys we take will define who we are and who we become. Across space, across time, amongst paths we can never predict, nature always finds its way. Trust the universe - have a little faith “ 💞 
#TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality
  • 7 days in Iceland and it was never enough! I can happily stay a lifetime here exploring and shooting. 
On our @travelwithtjd Iceland Series, we spent a couple of nights at @radissonblu1919 exploring Reykjavik during the day and the long nights!!
The rest of the week we spent on the road in different guest houses exploring many waterfalls, lagoons, volcanic landscapes, black beaches and tasted the Icelandic cuisine. 
We have few spaces left for our next @travelwithtjd trip in April 2020! Get in touch if you like to join us 😊#TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality