Island of the sun:
The tiny boat was supposed to depart Copacabana at 08:30 but due to the torrential rain and an attempted ‘over-loading’ issue it left much later.
The captain, a boy of about 16, tried to pack more and more people onto the boat until there was a revolt from ‘the gringos’. At this point he capitulated, threw some locals off and set sail.
As the safe harbour of Copacabana slowly dissapeared the conditions deteriorated still further. The boat was now bouncing up and down with a vengeance and it wasn’t long before the effects of this rough ride surfaced amongst some of the passengers. I kept my eye on the horizon and thankfully didn’t succumb.
Challapampa is a tiny village that sits on the northern shores of Isla del Sol. There is very little in the form of comfortable hostels (or decent restaurants) but I found somewhere I liked and it was cheap.
From Challapampa, I hiked to the island’s northern tip to an ancient Incan Ceremonial Table and a labyrinthine temple called Chincana.
Geographically, the terrain is harsh; it is a rocky, hilly island with many eucalyptus trees. There are no motor vehicles or paved roads on the island. It’s a great place to improve your fitness level – everything is reached by foot. The main economic activity of the circa 800 families on the island is farming, with fishing and tourism augmenting the subsistence economy.
Myth and Mystery:
According to Incan lore, after a great flood, the god Viracocha arose from Lake Titicaca to create the world. He commanded the sun (Inti), moon (Mama Kilya) and stars to rise, then went to Tiahuanaco to create the first human beings, Mallku Kapac and Mama Ocllo. These first humans, the “Inca Adam and Eve,” were formed from stone and brought to life by Viracocha, who commanded them to go out and populate the world. Thus Lake Titicaca is the birthplace of the Incas, whose spirits return to their origin in the lake upon death.
Next stage: Hiking Isla del Sol – North to South.