The perfect trip for those who really want to get off the beaten track, a hike from Copacabana to Yampupata traverses along a pristine peninsula home to little more than local farmers and fishermen. Upon arriving to Yampupata at the tip of the peninsula, simply pay one of the villagers to ferry you across to Isla del Sol in a rowboat to continue your journey.
Widely agreed to be the most picturesque part of the Titicaca, Isla del Sol enchants visitors for its stunning lake views, sacred Inca sites and a sensation of serenity that is all too rare in Bolivia. Guided tours offer half-day, full-day or two day excursions, the latter being the best option to truly appreciate everything Isla del Sol has to offer.
Ancient indigenous inhabitants originally built these floating totora reed islands hundreds of years ago in an attempt to escape the onslaught of the Inca. These days, the islands are meticulously maintained to welcome camera-toting tourists who arrive by the boatload each day. Although it may feel a little contrived, the story behind these incredibly resourceful people make it a must in the region.
Those with the time to spare should opt for a two day tour of the Peruvian side of the lake. The journey stops at Uros before continuing onto Amantaní Island, home to a fascinating rural community who fiercely cling on to their ancient customs and traditions. After a brief hike to watch the sun set over the lake, visitors return to the village for a traditional dinner and dance before calling it a night in the home of a local family.
The second day stops by Taquile, a nearby island famous for its incredibly skilled male textile weavers. Beginning the craft as young boys, these artisans are known throughout Peru for producing the best quality handicrafts in the country. After enjoying lunch and a wander around some ancient pre-Colombian sites, guests wave goodbye to their newfound friends and sail back to Puno.
Scattered around a hill overlooking the lake are a series of mysterious ancient funeral towers known as chullapas. Built by the Aymara people before the arrival of the Incas, the chullapas are believed to have been constructed as burial sites for the most noble families of the community. Some have been partially destroyed by dynamite-wielding grave-robbers, while others remain almost perfectly intact.