The Place Where the World Began (Maybe): Lake Titicaca

lake

There are some places in world where I just can’t believe I have really been to. For example, as I stood on the banks of the mythical Lake Titicaca I had to pinch myself. I had finally arrived to the place where the world began and where Atlantis quite possibly lay beneath the water.

As a kid I used to love reading books about unsolved mysteries and weird stuff from around the world. Heck, I might as well admit that I still do. One of my most well thumbed books included a section about how Atlantis might just possibly maybe have been situated here. I can’t remember much about it now but I can remember that it just seemed like an incredibly exotic place where I couldn’t imagine ever being. In fact, that book was probably one of the main reasons I started travelling in the first place.

Peru for Floating Islands

urosI first arrived to the lake on the Peruvian side. In case you don’t have a map handy I should explain that Titicaca is placed right on the border between Peru and Bolivia. The Peruvian town is called Puno and it is a bit less interesting than Copacabana on the other side. However, one of the great things about staying here is that you can take a boat ride out to the floating islands of the Uros people. These are bizarre islands made of reeds which need to be re-built every year. The islands are interesting but far more spectacular was the sunset over the lake as our boat pulled back into Puno. There is also the chance to head out to the fascinating but sadly non-floating island of Taquile. I got some great pictures with a llama here but walking up the steep paths at almost 4,000 metres of altitude is a punishing way of getting around. Puno itself didn’t seem to have a lot to it, although I remember eating a pretty tasty pizza and buying some great little handicrafts. This is a nice stop over if you are travelling from Cusco to La Paz, for example, but I would also recommend heading over to the Bolivian side as well before you move on.

Bolivia for the Place Where the World Started

iuslaI think you can cross directly from Puno to Copacabana but I did a strange loop thing which I can’t even begin to explain the reasons for. Anyway, it resulted in me arriving to Copacabana from La Paz about 2 months after being in Puno. It struck me right away as a more welcoming and interesting town. For a start, there are some great craft shops with a bigger selection of stuff than I had found across in Peru. There are plenty of restaurants here offering trout from the lake cooked in a number of different ways. To get a boat trip all you need to do is wander down to the water’s edge and wait to get besieged by boat owners and tour guides offering you a place on their trip. I opted for a trip to the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol). After all, this is only the place where the whole flipping world started. According to Inca legends (and who am I to doubt them?) someone called Manco Capac was born here and became the first Inca ruler. It is one of the most remote places I have ever been to. The only problem with going to this great island is that the boat journey is incredibly slow and pretty horrible. When we finally arrived to the island and were greeted by the local kids my face was green and I just wanted to lie down as far away from plates of trout as I could. Still, it is a wonderful destination for anyone who has dreamt of exploring exotic places.

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4 Responses to The Place Where the World Began (Maybe): Lake Titicaca

  1. Linda Bibb says:

    Thanks for this post; we are planning to visit Lake Titicaca this year and I’d totally forgotten about the floating islands. How long did you spend in Copacabana?
    Linda Bibb recently posted…Looking Back on 2013 – Our Year in ReviewMy Profile

    • Robert Bell says:

      The floating islands are great Linda, although the local kids begging for money is a bit disconcerting. I spent a couple of days in Copacabana and a night on the Isla del Sol. It’s a small place so there isn’t really all that much to hold you there much longer. A walk up to the viewing point which overlooks Copacabana ( I can’t remember the name but it must be easy to find if I got there) is one thing not to miss, while the stores are pretty interesting too. There isn’t much at all on the Isla del Sol but it is a fantastic place to spend a night away from the modern world.

  2. 2wisemonkeys says:

    Great post!! Uros Islands are one of our favourite places in the world :)
    2wisemonkeys recently posted…tassie here we comeMy Profile

    • Robert Bell says:

      It’s a magical sort of a place, isn’t it? I honestly didn’t know what to expect before I got there, which is always a great way to arrive to a new place

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