Isla del pig

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
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Trip End Oct 01, 2015


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Flag of Peru  , Puno,
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The bus journey and border crossing were fairly un eventful and after being stamped out of Peru and crossing no mans land on foot we were stamped into Bolivia. We were only given a 30 day visa and we had a lot to do so knew the next few weeks we would be moving fast.
Thankfully copacabana was only a few more km over the border and we arrived there in no time and checked into a hotel- our cheapest yet at around 6 pounds for us both.
Copacabana is a fairly small place and consists of mainly one road which is lined with restaurants and bars and leads down to the lake.
We'd lost an hour as the clocks had changed and so we headed straight out to explore. We booked our ferry for the next day to take us to one of lake titicacas other islands- Isla del sol, the biggest island on the lake. We then settled into a bar grateful to find out how cheap Bolivia is and excited to start exploring.
After making the most of our free breakfast which consisted of stale bread and cold coffee we headed down to get our ferry, it took around 3 hours to get across to the north side of the island after a few drop offs that confused everyone on board. We arrived on the north side to find a part built town, everything was under construction. We looked at a couple of hostels but decided there must be more to this place so decided to head off on the path that lead up onto the cliffs and came across lots more ruins as well as deserted beaches and little coves with turquoise water all framed with terraces and cliffs either side.
We headed towards some ruins and passed a stone table which apparently the incas used to use to sacrifice animals, a mini inca development and then hiked up to the highest point where we were surrounded on all sides by bright blue water. At the top there was lots of stone offerings- as there was on the inca trail- so we all left one and made our wishes before heading back to find some lunch. On the way back we met an English couple who recommended a hostel to stay up on the hill by the north beach.
We got back and were all starving so we headed to the only place which seemed open and for around 2 pounds got a 2 course menu consisting of packet soup followed by trout and puréed potatoes. We then went off in search of the hostel and found a mix of half built huts up on a hill overlooking two different beaches. We settled on a price of £1.50 and headed back to the beach for a well deserved drink. We managed to get a bottle of rum for fairly cheap and sat drinking until the sun went down, we couldn't face the cold anymore and were being attacked by wild pigs! They are everywhere on this island, so many in fact that we tripped over a few without realising they were there.
Freezing cold we ran for cover in the only other open restaurant on this side and had the best meal we have had since arriving in south America! Already the food in Bolivia was looking good.
We sat in the restaurant sheltering from the cold until we were asked to leave. The walk back to the hostel was quite scary, pitch black with just four little head torches bobbing along we were probably top targets at that point for being robbed. We made it though very out of breath but safe.
We climbed the rocky pathway up to our cabin which was the highest on the top of the hill and climbed into bed feeling a little hazy from the rum, within minutes we were asleep. In the middle of the night we awoke to the loudest bang you could imagine, we were both unsure what had happened, then another loud crash and then the whole room lit up, it was only at this point that we noticed that it was raining very very heavily, then the room lit up again followed straight away by another crash of thunder. We were in the middle of a huge storm. We watched out the window and saw the whole island light up and before it had even gone dark again another deafening crash of thunder, there wasn't even seconds between it. This went on for the next couple of hours and I (Sarah) was getting extremely nervous that as we had the highest hut we would get struck by lightening or our hut would was away down the hill. Luckily neither of these things happened and we awoke the following morning to perfectly clear blue skies!
After we had a surprise breakfast ( we didn't know what we ordered and much to Tai's delight the guy kept on bringing out more food) we began our walk to the south side of the island ready for our boat back to the mainland.
We were told it would take around 2.5 hours and so off we went into the midday sun. We had to climb more or less the same way as the day before but instead of heading towards the llama sacrifice table we turned off and headed up to the ridge of the hills and followed that along. It was stunning, we were surrounded by lake on every side. After walking half an hour or so we got to a check
point for someone to check our tickets and were told these were not valid for this section of the walk and we would have to buy another one. This same thing happened about 5 times, we began to thing these locals with there bits of cardboard with tickets written on them in felt tip pen weren't legitimate ticket collectors at all the swines!
During our walk we passed more ruins, terraces and villages, it was truly breathtaking and by the time we got to the south side we were luckily greeted with an array of restaurants so we could feed our grumbling tummies. The south side was much more built up and it was a shame to think this is how the north may eventually become. We happened to bump into JB in the restaurant and we swapped stories of our past few days. Lunch took longer than we thought and by the time we'd finished we only had half an hour to get down to the port (more steps) and buy our tickets in time for the last boat back. Thankfully we made it but the only boat left was slightly lacking in the comfort factor. It had metal school chairs bolted down to the floor - most of the bolts were coming lose so some chairs fell over and people fell to the floor when we went over the crest of a wave from a neighbouring boat. We also had the pleasure of 2 little brats sitting behind us rocking backwards and forwards on our chair backs whilst there parents sat looking the other way. Oh and we were moving at an incredibly slow place, everything moving was overtaking us. At one point it seemed as though we were taking some kind of shortcut through a gap in the rocks about 2 inches wider than the boat itself. Everyone closed there eyes but we made it and even got back to the mainland before some of the other boats!
Tired, sunburnt and in need of a shower we headed back to the hostel and then out for dinner.
The following day with a few hours to kill we decided to look round the markets, both touristy and local. All the touristy markets are the same here and they all sell exactly the same things, tai purchased his first of many douche bag attire pieces, a stripy flat cap. The local markets on the other hand are an enigma, you never know what your going to come across, it could be anything from lady gaga notebooks, to fried unidentified meats, to 5 seasons old fashion, or sometimes just to throw you completely off there'll be a stall just selling tinsel and a man will walk passed draped in a million shoelaces screaming angrily at anyone that walks past him- a very weird selling technique which we have seen a lot of.
Copacabana definitely lived up to our expectations and pig island was so super awesome we didn't want to leave, but at 1.30 our bus for la Paz arrived and off we went in search of new experiences.
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