Isla del Sol is not just an ordinary island. It’s situated in Lake Titicaca, so on the way there and also from the island you can enjoy the view of snow-capped mountains, green hills and the blue vastness of Lake Titicaca. Furthermore, the island is home to cute llamas and other animals. You only have to enjoy this sacred atmosphere, get ready for high altitude and walk slowly. Check out how we spent our 1 day trip in Isla del Sol, Bolivia.
How to get to Isla del Sol, Bolivia?
Isla del Sol is located in Lake Titicaca, close to its Bolivian lakeshore. The easiest way is TAKING A BOAT FROM COPACABANA and in 1,5 – 2 hours you can reach the island.
Boat tickets can be purchased at many places in Copacabana, though at tourist agencies it might be more expensive. We bought our return tickets in a kiosk at the lakeshore (at the end of Av 6 de Agosto) one day in advance.
The seller said that the boat will arrive at Porta Sur, the harbour of Yumani village located on the southern part of the island. However, our boat stopped at the Temple of Sun, which is more south from Porta Sur. This way was even better because we just needed to walk north and didn’t need to go back and forth (see it on the map below.)
Going to Isla del Sol by boat from Copacabana
- Return ticket price – 30 BOB/person (purchased in the harbour)
- Boats depart from Copacabana at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm
- Boat trip takes around 1,5 hours to reach Temple of Sun harbour (south part of the island)
- Boat goes back to Copacabana at 3 pm from the port of Yumani
How many days to spend in Isla del Sol?
We visited the island during our stay in Copacabana at the lakeshore of Lake Titicaca. Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is the birthplace of the Sun and the Inca dynasty. More than 80 Inca ruins are located on the island.
During our Bolivian trip (March of 2020), ONLY THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE ISLAND WAS OPEN FOR VISITORS. Unfortunately, the northern and southern part had some differences again, so sometimes the northern part can’t be visited.
Before planning your Bolivian itinerary, make research about conditions of visiting Isla del Sol. You might be luckier than us 😉
After a 1,5 hours boat ride, we arrived at its harbour and spent around 5 hours on the island, which was enough to climb 2 mountains, make friends with a baby llama and have lunch with a view. Walking and climbing weren’t effortless at an altitude of 4000 m, so we kept many breaks and we walked slowly.
Our 1-day trip to Isla del Sol was perfect like this, though IF THE WHOLE ISLAND WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO VISIT, 1 DAY WOULDN’T BE ENOUGH TO DISCOVER ITS WHOLE BEAUTY. In peaceful times the boats also stop at the harbour of Challapampa, on the Northern part of the island. From there you can walk south and take the boat from the harbour of Yumani back to Copacabana.
This is how our day trip to Isla del Sol looked like…
On the following map (My Maps by Google Maps) you can see the harbours, viewpoints and restaurant we visited on our day trip and the routes we took.
By clicking on the tab next to “A day trip to Isla del Sol, Bolivia”, you can see the actual points, and it’s also possible to turn off and on layers. Furthermore, you can also save this map (if you have My Maps account) by pressing the star next to the map title.
Where to stay in Isla del Sol?
If you decide to spend a night on the island and stay there more days, you’ll find many hostels on the island. Though don’t expect luxury and high-speed wifi.
On Booking.com, there are hostels in Yumani and a few in Challapampa. Most of them provide gorgeous views of the lake. Make sure to not bring heavy luggage because carrying our small backpacks and ourselves on this high altitude was enough…
How to spend a day in Isla del Sol?
Our small boat (which doesn’t have a toilet) left Copacabana harbour at 8:30 am, just next to the kiosk, where we bought our tickets the previous day.
We sat on the top of the boat to enjoy the view, though it was a bit cold because the morning was rainy in Copacabana. Make sure to have a light jacket and wear layers.
After a 1,5 hours boat ride, we arrived at its harbour at Temple of Sun, which is located on the southern part of the island. At Temple of Sun, everyone had to pay an entrance fee to the island (10 BOB), which was the only one for the day.
The viewpoint of Cerro Queñuani
We started to walk north to visit a viewpoint called Cerro Queñuani. The walk on the eastern side of the hill was very scenic, overlooking the lake and the snowy mountains on the other side of the blue lake. On our way, we also met horses, donkeys and could spot a few llamas in the distance.
Before taking photos of animals, ALWAYS ASK THE PERMISSION OF THE OWNER. I was thinking about taking a photo of donkeys, but before I could turn on my camera, their owner said it’s not allowed… Usually, they ask for money, so don’t be surprised if posing with llamas will cost you a few bolivianos.
Finally, we reached the woods, where the viewpoint can be reached. On the top, we had to catch our breath, have a longer break (on the way we had multiple small stops) and recharge ourselves with some biscuits.
FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF CERRO QUEÑUANI, THE PANORAMA WAS FASCINATING to the peninsula of Copacabana, other islands and the deep blue lake. A stone mausoleum was also located on the top and cute llamas were eating grass next to the path. A baby llama was very interested in us, it even came close to us. Closer to me, I guess it could feel my admiration for llamas 🙂
We also realized that the peak could be reached via a shorter (but maybe steeper) way if we would walk straight up at the harbour of Temple of Sun (see the route on the map above).
After resting and taking photos, we headed to the direction of the village through the forest. Just follow the path in the woods and after reaching the village choose the western road for restaurants with terraces and panoramas.
The viewpoint of Cerro Palla Kasha
Before having lunch, we climbed another hill called Palla Kasha. You’ll find signs, so you won’t get lost. From the village, the slope looked steep, though hiking for us took around 30 minutes (including breaks). The panorama from the viewpoint totally compensated us for the suffering at high altitude.
Cerro Palla Kasha is the highest point on the southern part, so from there you can even have a view to the northern part of the island and the village of Yumani.
Where to eat in Isla del Sol?
After the hike, we deserved lunch with a view! So we headed back to the village to find a perfect lunch spot. On the western road of the hill, there are many restaurants with a panorama to the lake.
Our chosen restaurant was Restaurant Pachamama with its fantastic terrace and colourful flowers. THE MUST-TRY DISH IS THE LOCAL TROUT in Isla del Sol and around Lake Titicaca, so we had trout for lunch, which was served with quinoa, fries and vegetables.
Yumani harbour and the Inca Steps
After the tasty trout and sunbathing, it was time to go to the harbour and leave this paradise. The road took 25 minutes to the port of Yumani through curvy streets and stairs of the village.
The last part was the Inca Steps, more than 200 steps leading to the lakeside. When we reached the harbour we were super happy that we didn’t have to climb up on those steps…
The boat departed at 3 am with us sitting on the upper deck again. That time we didn’t need our jackets, only a cap to cover our head from the strong sunshine.
What to bring to Isla del Sol, Bolivia?
- LIGHT JACKET AND LAYERS to be ready for wind, sunshine and shadows. The weather is warm thanks to the powerful sunshine, though in the shadows you might need an extra layer against the cold.
- COMFY SHOES are required for walking all day long on the island.
- You’ll need SUNSCREEN AND SUNGLASSES to protect yourself from the intense sunshine. The sunshine is stronger at high altitude, so make sure to use your sunscreen every 2-3 hours. I’d suggest using lip balm providing sun protection as well.
- Have a lot of water to hydrate your body. DRINKING WATER AND COCA TEA are also good to prevent altitude sickness.
- Bring snacks to provide you with some energy during hiking.
- Cash to pay your entry to the island and lunch in the restaurant.
Expenses during our 1-day Isla del Sol trip
On the island, we spent money only on the entrance fee and lunch. Our day trip cost 162 BOB for the 2 of us, which is around 24,3 USD (if 1 BOB = 0,15 USD). See our expenses below:
- Boat return ticket – 30 BOB/person
- Entrance fee to the island – 10 BOB/person (the only fee you have to pay on the southern part)
- Lunch at Restaurant Pachamama (2 trouts (35 BOB/portion) + coke) – 82 BOB
This is how we spent 1 day in Isla del Sol. Don’t miss this magical island if you’re in Copacabana or the area of Lake Titicaca or La Paz. The scenery and the panorama to the blue lake will provide a memorable adventure for you.
Interested in more Bolivian and South-American landscapes?
- How to pick the best Uyuni Salt Flats tour to Bolivia?
- How to plan your perfect trip to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile?
- Ilhabela travel guide – what to do and where to go
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