Lunes (Monday) 21st June, 2010
Day 465

Copacabana, Bolivia
Copacabana, Bolivia
Miles: 46,349
S 16.16761°
W 69.08984°

Today was a public holiday for the celebration of the Ayamaran New Year and the winter solstice. Throughout the day we saw vehicles decorated with colored ribbons and flowers and in the town of Achacachi we had a chance to witness a colorful parade. We did not get up early enough to see any of the welcoming of the sun that we later heard about from other tourists. But I am getting ahead of the story.

Leaving Sorata proved to be a bit of a challenge. Not only did we have to negotiate the steep narrow roads back to the town center, including once again passing through the (now more) muddy ford, but approaching the main square along the only paved (with stones) street in the town we got stuck in a deep depression in the street and required 4x4 to get out. However with that little trouble out of the way we settled back to enjoy the stupendous views as we climbed back to the valley rim with Mt Illampu towering over us at every turn.

We retraced our steps of a few days earlier and eventually found ourselves traveling beside Titicaca towards the town of Tiquina. At this point the lake narrows to perhaps a mile across and vehicle traffic is transported across this narrow straight on a series of barges. These are old wooden craft that will each carry 2-3 vehicles and are powered by 40 hp outboard motors, our ride cost us 45 bolivianos - about $6. Once off the barge the road climbed up onto the upper slopes of the tall rolling hills that surround Lake Titicaca. For many miles we traveled perhaps 1500 ft above the lake surface with great views of the lake as it disappeared into the haze to the north and great views of the Cordillara Real and Illampu to the east.

Eventually after topping out at 4200m the road dropped down into Copacabana. After paying 25 bolivianos (5 bs to the police to check my drivers license and 20 bs as a toll to the town) to get into the town we squeezed our way through the throng of holiday makers and their vehicles to the lake front and Bolivia's only beach. It took us only a short while to find a hotel with a parking lot and then we went off to explore the town and be embarrassed by the weird getup of many of the western tourists


Along and near the water front in Copacabana are a number of hotels with secure parking lots. We picked the first we came to, the Chasqui Del Sol a large pink and white building just past all the food stalls. The holiday crowd was leaving and we were the only guests - US$25 per night for a double room.

We have heard from other travelers that they simply parked on the beach front. That looked like a workable solution, but we wanted a shower.