Lake Titicaca.. and we’re in Bolivia :)

From Arequipa, we boarded our bus that would be a 6 hour bus ride to Puno, Peru. This is the coastal town on the Titicaca Lake. Upon arriving to the town, we were hoping that we would be able to catch a connecting bus to Copacabana, Bolivia, but because Peru is literally on their own time schedule “Peru Time”, we were unable to catch this bus and had to stay a night in Puno. At first, we were really upset about the whole situation and then quickly made the best out of it. We knew there was a really good hostel in the town, but we had an extremely hard time finding it without wifi. So we resorted to a no name hostel off the main drag. It wasn’t too expensive and the lady who was working the desk told us that they had great wifi so we didn’t think twice and quickly booked with her for the night. As we started getting settled into our room, we began to notice how things were extremely dirty, broken, not functioning properly, no kitchen to cook our own food, and how bad the internet was no matter where we went in the building (even though we have had internet at both places in Bolivia, we weren’t expecting this, so we knew how important it was to have internet in our last hostel in Peru). We decided to then go on a little mission in the city to see if we could find a better hostel or the one that we originally wanted to stay at. After about an hour and no luck, we turned back to our first dump hostel. After a little discussion we decided that if we were unable to connect to the internet we would be leaving and trying to find “Inkas Rest B&B”. Sure enough, we were quickly on our way out the door with our refund. With a dinky map in Lonely Planet and a map on the iPhone called maps.me, we found Inkas Rest in a matter of 15 minutes.

A backpacker's life.. waiting for the bus :)

A backpacker’s life.. waiting for the bus 🙂

As we arrived we instantly got a better vibe from this place and said that no matter the price we were going to stay here for the night. Although this Hostel was a little bit more expensive, it had a wonderful kitchen to cook our dinner, had amazing internet, and it included an all you can eat breakfast consisting of eggs, bread, juice, tea, and coffee. In the long run, we actually spent less money here than if we were to have stayed at the other hostel.

{Traveler’s Tip..Stay at Inka’s Rest B&B!! The front desk ladies are amazing, the breakfast is really good, and you get duvet comforters on the nice clean beds!! And all this for only S/. 26… totally worth it!!}

Funny story about dinner: we went on a little hunt for dinner in the night market on one of the main streets in town. As we were picking up different veggies, Heather decided that she wanted to have sweet bell peppers with dinner. We couldn’t find them anywhere except at a little booth a young boy was running. We asked if it was a hot pepper or a sweet pepper in Spanish and he said it was a sweet one, so we got four of them and were really excited to be putting into a little stir fry.

As Heather was chopping up the carrots after chopping up the peppers, she tried a carrot and her mouth instantly was on fire because the oils that were left on the cutting board from the peppers made their way onto the carrot that she just ate. Carrots and onions for a stirfry it was! All in all, dinner was fabulous and we saved the peppers for a couple other meals in the following days.

Back to Inka’s Rest—as we were checking in to the hostel, they were explaining to us that we could book through them to go check out the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca for only S/. 20 per person. We had a great time out there seeing how the people live there and how they made the islands. So at the end of the day, not making the bus to Copacabana turned into a wonderful two days in Puno and on Lake Titicaca.

All the boats down here are the same.. and all named Lake Titicaca.. a bit different than paddle boarding through the Newport Harbor.

All the boats down here are the same.. and all named Lake Titicaca.. a bit different than paddle boarding through the Newport Harbor.

Puno Harbor

Puno Harbor

{Traveler’s Tip… bring money with you to the floating islands! The people you meet have great stuff to sell! We were bummed we didn’t have money on us! Also, at least for our tour, you had to pay an extra S/. 10 for a reed boat ride from one island to the next, so be sure to ask the people you are booking with about this!}

S/. 20 or about 7 USD for a relaxing boat tour to the Floating Islands.. don't mind if we do :)

S/. 20 or about 7 USD for a relaxing boat tour to the Floating Islands.. don’t mind if we do 🙂

Lake Titicaca :)

Lake Titicaca 🙂

The Ticket station on the ride to the Floating Islands.

The Ticket station on the ride to the Floating Islands.

One of the Floating Islands

One of the Floating Islands

On the island the food consists of fish that the catch and the reed snack!

On the island the food consists of fish that the catch and the reed snack!

This sweet little lady passing out a snack to all her visitors!

This sweet little lady passing out a snack to all her visitors!

Typical snack on the island.. The bottom part of the reed.. It's like a sponge with no flavor!!

Typical snack on the island.. The bottom part of the reed.. It’s like a sponge with no flavor!!

On the first Floating Island that we visited they did an awesome demonstration of how the islands are made. This is the small scale vision of the islands! 3 meters of roots on the bottom, 2 meters of reeds on top of that, then they build their houses, and boats. They also build a cooking area outside with roots under it so it doesn't catch the island on fire!!!

On the first Floating Island that we visited they did an awesome demonstration of how the islands are made. This is the small scale vision of the islands! 3 meters of roots on the bottom, 2 meters of reeds on top of that, then they build their houses, and boats. They also build a cooking area outside with roots under it so it doesn’t catch the island on fire!!!

This sweet little lady welcomed us in her home on the Floating Island that we visited. Her her son that she is holding and her husband all live in this little house. It contains one bed, and clothes that just hang on the walls. It's a reminder of how simple life should be!

This sweet little lady welcomed us in her home on the Floating Island that we visited. Her her son that she is holding and her husband all live in this little house. It contains one bed, and clothes that just hang on the walls. It’s a reminder of how simple life should be!

Reed Boat ride.

Reed Boat ride.

Buildings on the Floating Islands.

Buildings on the Floating Islands.

Market island of the Floating Islands.

Market island of the Floating Islands.

This is where they farm their fish!!

This is where they farm their fish!!

Typical Reed boats at the Floating Islands.

Typical Reed boats at the Floating Islands.

The woman of the floating island we went to!

The woman of the floating island we went to!

Leaving the floating islands

Leaving the floating islands

After our tour of the islands, we returned back to Inka’s Rest to make lunch and grab a taxi to the bus station to catch the 2:30 bus to Copacabana.

Peru was good to us.. now on to new countries.. up first. Bolivia.

Peru was good to us.. now on to new countries.. up first. Bolivia.

This was the sign at the border crossing!! Right before we went through a disaster of a mess trying to get across the border. Praise the Lord our visa was less than half of what it should have been!

This was the sign at the border crossing!! Right before we went through a disaster of a mess trying to get across the border. Praise the Lord our visa was less than half of what it should have been!

The Peru/Bolivia border!

The Peru/Bolivia border!

Immigration.. Pain in the butt, but it all worked out in the end.. Our bus driver was so mad that we were the only American's on the bus.. so we were the only two that needed visas. He failed to give us the paperwork that he was supposed to give us, and so it took a bit longer at immigration than it should have. Then he told us we needed to get a cab because he didn't want to wait for us.. and we said, no.. we paid for the bus already.. Then he insisted that we pay for the paperwork he was supposed to give us.. again we said no.. long story short. we made it to Bolivia!!

Immigration.. Pain in the butt, but it all worked out in the end.. Our bus driver was so mad that we were the only American’s on the bus.. so we were the only two that needed visas. He failed to give us the paperwork that he was supposed to give us, and so it took a bit longer at immigration than it should have. Then he told us we needed to get a cab because he didn’t want to wait for us.. and we said, no.. we paid for the bus already.. Then he insisted that we pay for the paperwork he was supposed to give us.. again we said no.. long story short. we made it to Bolivia!!

We arrived in Copacabana right at sunset and knew that we wanted to stay at Hostel Sonia but wanted to check to see if we could get maybe a better deal somewhere else before committing to Hostel Sonia. We ended up going into this hostel a few times and each time the receptionist lowered the price a little. So we ended up getting a private room with a private bathroom for a total of 70 Bolivianos, which is only $9.80. Bolivia is super cheap!

{Traveler’s Tip.. Hostel Sonia is great.. it has a kitchen, decent wifi for Bolivia, and nice clean rooms! Breakfast is not included here, but that’s a common thing for hostels in Bolivia.}

We ended up staying in Copacabana for two nights because we met a French lady, Cecile, who convinced us to stay a whole day there to explore the town before heading out to Isla Del Sol. During the day, we made the trek up to a small peak called Cerro Calvario, which is 13,200 feet above sea level! It was a short hike because we started at 12,500 feet where the Lake Titicaca shoreline is, but at that elevation 700 feet to climb is brutal!

Taking a break before getting to the top of Cerro Calvario.

Taking a break before getting to the top of Cerro Calvario.

Cerro Calvario

Cerro Calvario

Cecile. Jason. Heather.

Cecile. Jason. Heather.

The view from the top of the Cerro Calvario! Great small hike in Copacabana!

The view from the top of the Cerro Calvario! Great small hike in Copacabana!

The colorful city of Copacabana, Bolivia.

The colorful city of Copacabana, Bolivia.

Sweet building

Sweet building

City center in Copacabana.

City center in Copacabana.

Lake Titicaca looks like an ocean at the end of this road.. it's a HUGE lake!!

Lake Titicaca looks like an ocean at the end of this road.. it’s a HUGE lake!!

At the local market in Copacabana.

At the local market in Copacabana.

The church in Copacabana.

The church in Copacabana.

Construction time down here in Bolivia.

Construction time down here in Bolivia.

What is this a picture of you ask?? They are baptizing the cars... like for real.. the priest comes out and they pray over the cars and he splashes water over the cars baptizing them.. It's a tradition they do in Copacabana when people get new cars.

What is this a picture of you ask?? They are baptizing the cars… like for real.. the priest comes out and they pray over the cars and he splashes water over the cars baptizing them.. It’s a tradition they do in Copacabana when people get new cars.

After the hike we made our way over to a little shack on the shoreline to have trucha (rainbow trout) that was literally just caught that morning from the lake. All the different ways that they prepare the fish are amazing and each of our dishes were great! In the evening, we made pasta and veggies with Cecile and her friend Clare who had just arrived that night.

Trucha!! Amazing..

Trucha!! Amazing..

Fried trucha.. literally the morning of the day we had this we were craving some fish and chips from Brookings.. then we came across this!!

Fried trucha.. literally the morning of the day we had this we were craving some fish and chips from Brookings.. then we came across this!!

Copacabana :)

Copacabana 🙂

A date with God painting the sky!

A date with God painting the sky!

Had to get a picture of the little kids on the boats at sunset!! These two kids were probably four and seven just paddling around by themselves!!

Had to get a picture of the little kids on the boats at sunset!! These two kids were probably four and seven just paddling around by themselves!!

Enjoying the sunset in Copacabana.

Enjoying the sunset in Copacabana.

The next morning we woke up without an alarm and gracefully packed our belongings and what we would be bringing to Isla Del Sol for the two nights that we would be out there. We caught the 1:30 boat to the island. It took a mere 2 hours to get out there, the boats here are blisteringly slow, but it was a good time to sit on top of the boat, take in the Lords beauty and chat with fellow travelers. In the time it took us to get there, we quickly made a couple friends and ended up staying at the same hostel the first night and again stayed together at a different hostel.

{Traveler’s Tip.. the boats leave for Isla Del Sol at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm. If you want to hike across the island take the 8:30 boat, if not, you can take the 1:30 boat and hike the island the next day. You can simply go down to the shoreline and get your boat ticket at any of the booths. They cost B 35 for round trip, or B20 for one way-this is what you do if you’re staying on the island. Then you can pay B20 to get off the island!}

Cerro Calvario.. the hill we hiked to the top of!

Cerro Calvario.. the hill we hiked to the top of!

Copacabana from the boat!

Copacabana from the boat!

After getting settled in, we all made the hike to the top of the hill which was 13,150 feet high. Our new friends, Alex and Jackie were hungry and got dinner at 4 o’clock, while we hung out and explored a little before heading back down the hill to our hostel. It was very peaceful out there. No cars, no hussle and bussle of the big city life, just us and God’s creation! We went down to one of the docks and spent about an hour there just admiring what our Lord created! Off in the distance you can see the Cordillera Mountains that peak out at over 20,000 feet. They were all snow capped mountains of majesty and serenity! We both could have sat there for hours and hours, but unfortunately our bellies started grumbling and knew that we should go find some food. We heard that there was a restaurant on the island that is supposedly the best restaurant in all of Bolivia, so we had to go there. We thought the pizzaria was just a few minutes walk up the hill, but boy were we wrong, it was literally at the top of the hill, the 13,150 foot hill and it wasn’t any bit easier to hike up the second time!

The harbor

The harbor

Don't see a llama packing often.. a bit nervous the llama was going to spit on Jason while taking this picture!!

Don’t see a llama packing often.. a bit nervous the llama was going to spit on Jason while taking this picture!!

The women are so strong! The amount of things they carry on their backs is incredible!

The women are so strong! The amount of things they carry on their backs is incredible!

Island Living :)

Island Living 🙂

The view from our first hostel on the island.

The view from our first hostel on the island.

As we arrived to the restaurant, the sun was just about to set so we quickly went in, ordered a couple drinks, our vegetarian pizza and waited the hour for it to be prepared out on the front lawn watching our Creator paint the skies with the sun’s light rays.

And we had a donkey even pose for us!!

And we had a donkey even pose for us!!

Sunset from night one!!

Sunset from night one!!

Before we knew it, it was dark out and a little old voice from the restaurant was shouting, “Your dinner is ready!” We entered this little restaurant with it being totally illuminated by candlelight. This place didn’t have electricity at all and everything was prepared via fire! What a wonderful and romantic evening it was for the two of us.

Our amazing and romantic candle lit pizza dinner at Las Velas.

Our amazing and romantic candle lit pizza dinner at Las Velas.

We literally scarved down a huge family style pizza of epic proportions into our extremely empty stomachs in no time. It was absolutely one of the best pizzas we have ever had and who would have guessed it to be on an island in the middle of Lake Titicaca?

{Traveler’s Tip.. The restaurant is called Las Velas (The Candles) and is totally worth the hike and the wait for the food!! The owners are both so lovely! You have to go here for dinner if you’re on Isla Del Sol!!}

After dinner we met another couple who was having dinner as well. We got to talking and figured out that they had just come from every place we want to go in Bolivia and we had just come from every place they want to go in Peru. We then started exchanging traveler’s tips on all the different hostels, tours, cities, and so forth. We were probably in the restaurant for over three hours and were the last people there. As soon as we left the owners blew out all the candles and probably went to bed! Because there is limited electricity on the island, we were limited to the iPhones mini flashlight to get us back down the trail. It took a while, but we eventually made it without any hassle.

As we were getting settled in for bed, in the far distance near the Cordillera Mountains, there were two huge lightening storms going on! We sat on the deck of our hostel watching the storm and night sky before heading into our room for a while to continue watching the flashes off in the distance and seeing the occasional shooting star before falling asleep.

The view from our hostel!! Yes. private room for two for just 35 Bolivianos a piece.. that's like 5 USD!! Stargazing and storm watching was amazing from here!!

The view from our hostel!! Yes. private room for two for just 35 Bolivianos a piece.. that’s like 5 USD!! Stargazing and storm watching was amazing from here!!

The next morning we woke up and hiked down to the shore line to have breakfast and see what time the boats left during the day. We found out that we could leave the island the next morning at 10:30. So this gave us about another 24 hours on the island to do whatever!

We chose to hike back up to the top of the island to check into a different hostel that had an even better view of the lake and spend the whole rest of the day hiking around the whole island. Literally, the whole island. We hiked about ten miles from the south side to the north side and then to some ruins on the northwest side of the island. The elevation we were at made this hike a bit difficult, although considering the mileage and the minimal elevation gains, it shouldn’t have been too hard. We were above 12,500ft the entire day hiking and our lungs just never gave us a break! We had lunch on the north side and spent about an hour lounging on the beach before heading on to hike more. In all, we spent about six hours hiking. At the end of our hike we decided that we wanted to make a visit to the wonderful restaurant we ate at the night before. This time we had lasagna and trucha (rainbow trout) with veggies and quinoa. Such amazing food! After trying three of their dishes, we can safely say that this restaurant could easily be one of the best in all of Bolivia!

Do we need words to explain our view from our hostel??

Do we need words to explain our view from our hostel??

Isla Del Sol

Isla Del Sol

On top of Isla Del Sol.

On top of Isla Del Sol.

The beginning of our hike around the island.

The beginning of our hike around the island.

Thanksgiving table :) Okay.. just an old ruin on the island.

Thanksgiving table 🙂 Okay.. just an old ruin on the island.

Getting wet in Lake Titicaca :)

Getting wet in Lake Titicaca 🙂

Tropical Island Paradise!!

Tropical Island Paradise!!

Advertisement for the water filter??!! This thing has saved us so much money on the trip so far!! Sawyer Water Filter is a must have for traveling.. super light and rolls up small!

Advertisement for the water filter??!! This thing has saved us so much money on the trip so far!! Sawyer Water Filter is a must have for traveling.. super light and rolls up small!

Ruins :)

Ruins 🙂

Taking a break after a hill climb!!

Taking a break after a hill climb!!

Island sunset with Alex and Jackie

Island sunset with Alex and Jackie

The next morning we packed our bags, hiked down the island, ate at the same breakfast joint we did the previous morning, and bought our return ticket to Copacabana. Once arriving, we bought our bus ticket for La Paz, got the rest of our baggage, found a great menu lunch on the main drag and hopped on our bus to take the three hour ride to the big city of La Paz.

{Traveler’s Tip.. buy your bus ticket from someone on the street in front of the buses. They start cheaper than at the booths for the same tickets, and you can bargin with them to get your tickets extremely cheap!}

Traveling from Copacabana to Puno we had to get off the bus and take a boat across the water.. they also boated the bus across the water too!!

Traveling from Copacabana to Puno we had to get off the bus and take a boat across the water.. they also boated the bus across the water too!!


…Prayer Requests…

*Pray for us as we head into the jungle for a week. We’ve heard about lots and lots of bugbites to be had there.. and we are just getting over our Salkantay ones. Specifically pray that we don’t contract Yellow Fever from the bites. Heather has the vaccination for Yellow Fever, but Jason couldn’t get it because he had Crohn’s.. so lots of serious prayer that he doesn’t get contract it!!

*Pray for our safety for getting up to the jungle. It’s a 24 hour bus ride one way!! With no bathrooms on the bus, they just pull over on the side of the road and everyone goes outside!! Ha.. But really.. Pray that the Lord has His hand over the bus ride.

*Pray for Heather. She was ill for three days. Just with a bad stomachache, but not throwing up or lots of bathroom time. Pray that it was just a simple bug that she caught and that it’s gone away now!

*Pray that we continue to be diligent in our time with the Lord, and that our eyes would be open to see where He wants us to go!

GET OUR MONTHLY(ish) NEWSLETTER
Become a part of the ArboursAbroad Family! Receive our newsletter along with freebies (like our budget guide) straight to your inbox!
Here's where we tell you your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else... but seriously, who does that anyways? Don't worry about a thing 🙂

4 thoughts on “Lake Titicaca.. and we’re in Bolivia :)

  • How awesome that you guys met people coming from where you were heading! So perfect!
    We just moved back to the mainland and where we were at we met people from all over the world, a lot had similar looking situations to the people you’re meeting. Such a great reminder to focus on the simple things, and the important things and not get distracted by all the excess stuff around us.

    • Yeah it literally was so perfect!! It’s one of the best parts about traveling is sharing stories with other travelers and swapping traveling tips!! And how awesome for you to meet people from all over the world. It’s great to have connections to different countries!

  • Im so enjoying your blog! What an amazing adventure for you both. I love your photos of the areas you travel to as well as the pictures of you two. You look so happy 🙂 I’m continuing to lift you up in prayer for safe travel, good health and great experiences. Hugs to you both. Suzy Rose

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: