So you know that big fiery ball that the earth rotates around? according to Incan mythology, it was born here, at Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), on Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. It is said at one point, long long ago, the ancient people were starved of light for some time whilst also enduring a great flood. They were frightened and suffering a great deal. What broke their misery was a great light which appeared out from behind a rocky crag on Isla del Sol. This life giving light was later identified as the sun AKA Manco Cápac. Due to this event, Isla del Sol became a sacred place for the sun worshipping Incas.
Upon finding this out, we knew we had to give this mystical place a visit. The ferry from Copacabana dropped us off at Cha’llapampa (the northern port of the island) to begin our four hour long hike to the pick up point. In these four hours we were smacked with beautiful sun soaked vistas of endless lake and rocky outcrops. As Isla del Sol is situated 3800 metres above sea level, as we walked along we could see snow peaked mountains and volcanoes in the distance.
Cars have no place on Isla del Sol and people still live in traditional houses made from mud bricks, wood and rock. The 800 families that live on the island grow vegetables such as beans and potatoes (over 400 varieties of potato are grown here). Sheep, llamas and chickens are also farmed and then grilled to perfection.
To supplement their income, many of the locals also have different wares they sell to the tourists that visit the island. Women and children sell fossils, handmade blankets and necklaces on the side of the road. An easy buck is also made from pedestrian tolls along the hiking trails which the men look after.
With no shade at all for four hours, and at an altitude where there is 60% of the oxygen that normally exists at sea level, this hike felt longer than expected. At the hike’s weary but satisfying end, we were happy that we had now visited the birth place of the sun. At the pick up point, we hungrily ate up a fried egg sandwich with tomato sauce each and got back on the hour long ferry back to Copacabana.
You’d be excused for assuming this is the ocean.
On the island’s northern side we found an ancient Incan Ceremonial Table and a labyrinthine temple called Chincana. It wasn’t difficult to imagine the animal sacrifices and human blood offerings that took place here back in the day.