En route to the Isla del Sol
La Paz to Copacabana
Dr. Berrios lined up a guide for the trip to the Isla del Sol, a fellow by the name of Martin who was a wealth of knowledge of the archeology of the island and not a bad Spanish coach at that. Martin met us at the Hotel Calacoto at a bit after noon and we met up with the driver who was going to give us a ride to Copacabana. The plan called for us to go from La Paz to Copacabana and spend the night on the shore to Lake Titicaca. The next morning we would catch a launch to the Isla del Sol and hike across the island, literally end to end, and the stay the second night on the island. The third day we would cross back to the mainland and then catch an afternoon bus back to La Paz.
We took the short route up the switchbacks to El Alto and through the police benevolent society donation station to the open highway. We sped on out the two lane and our driver managed to make the perfect swerve when the car coming in the opposite direction inconveniently came into our lane. Having avoided bringing the other guy's death wish to fruition, we turned off the main road and headed along the lake to Copacabana. The road rises and falls as it skirts along the lake before coming to the ferry crossing at the Straits of Tiquina where the lake divides San Pablo from San Pedro. The ferry crossing is accomplished by putting the cars, buses and trucks onto barges powered by fairly good size outboard engines. In the case of buses, the passengers disembark and ride across in launches. in our automotive case, we just drove onto the barge and were on our way across the straits.
The crossing takes about 20 minutes and we got out of the car and leaned against the rail of the barge to take in the scenery. To the north, one can see the Isla de la Luna and on both sides there are other barges moving vehicles of all description. We landed on the far side and drove about 45 more minutes of winding two lane to arrive in at the top of the hill above town. We pulled over and looked down on Copacabana as it lay between two hills and on the shore of the lake. We drove on into town, around the main plaza and up the Avenida de 16 Julio to a new hotel across from the Hotel Gloria. The hotel was newly constructed and the room was clean and had a great view out onto the lake. The sunset soon followed and after a bit of a rest, we met up with Martin to find some dinner.
The three of us wandered about, first to a restaurant that didn't have any cooking gas for the evening and then down to a gringo populated place that served more kinds of trucha than I have fingers and toes. Butter trucha, lemon trucha, cheese trucha, wine sauce trucha and just plain trucha. Trucha is trout and that is what you eat when near the Lake Titicaca. We did the trucha dinner, a brew or two and then headed back to the hotel for the night. We were to be ready to go to the Isla at 7 the next morning.