The views were lovely. I wouldn´t have ranked this as one of the most awe-inspiring lakes I have ever seen and in some ways I didn´t think the area met the hype. We did enjoy a very nice day out and admittedly one of our highlights for the area is the long argument that we had with the “assistant to the secretary general of Isla de Sol”. If nothing else, it made us realize how much our spanish has improved since our arrival in Lima.
We arrived in Copacabana on Friday, settled into our hostel (our cheapest hotel ever), enjoyed Trucha carillo (the local trout grilled with garlic), bought our bus ticket for La Paz, booked a boat trip to Isla de Sol for Saturday, hiked upthe small hill adjacent to town with the stations of the cross and enjoyed some nice views, and had dinner at a restaurant not -to-be-recommended.
Saturday was a bit more of an adventure. We set out in the morning and landed on the northern shore of Isla del Sol at around 1000. We opted out of the local guides and fees for ruin viewing. It was a beautiful day with beautiful views. We chatted with an Aussie on the trail for a bit who was heading gthe opposite direction and in general enjoyed a peaceful day…until we came to the toll. yes - the toll.
So, the main trail across the island - which is considered a public road (even to the guy we argued with). It does, however, cut through this guy´s property. He was charging 10Bolivianos per person to cross through. We argued for a long time. Not at the value of the money but on both principal and the fact that our Bolivianos were running low and we would have no way to get more in town in order to get dinner (no atms in town).
The long argument included the guy pointing out the “Secretary General” who wanted to record our information and passport numbers along with collecting the fee (and we watched other people obligingly do this). With our refusal to do this, the guy then asked where we were from. When we told him the US, he then said it was discounted for us and we didn´t have to fill out the paperwork. At the sound of 5Bolivianos each, we finally gave in, paid, and went on our not-quite-as-merry way to catch the boat at the south end of the island.
We were back in Copacabana for dinner and went to La Orilla. If you are ever in Bolivia, go to Copacabana and have teh nachos here! The food was outstanding and the owners were very nice. We chatted with the guy for a long time. He grew up in the US, served in the US military for a bit and worked in northern cal for several years as an eye laser surgery technician before returning to his home country where they now own the restaurant. He seems to have had quite the interesting life.