After returning to Puno from the Uros Island trip in the morning, we directly boarded the Bolivia Hop bus. Bolivia Hop is a reputed Tour Agency, offering comfortable, reliable, affordable and safe travel in a Bus around Tourist centres in Bolivia. We availed their services for Puno – La Paz Transfer. They also help to ensure a smooth border crossing between Peru and Bolivia.
Crossing Peru-Bolivia International border by land
Our first stop was border town of Yunguyo. Here we alighted from the bus and carried our belongings to the Peruvian Immigration office (See Control de Migratario office below). Unfortunately there was no power and we had to wait for a while before we could finish our exit formalities. So we exchanged our Peruvian Soles and US Dollars for few Bolivars at the Exchange nearby. Once we got the seal on our Passport, we grabbed our luggage and walked towards the border (the Arch you can see in the distance). Pushing and Pulling heavy luggage at this altitude is no easy task mind you! Both of us were panting vigorously by the time we reached the gate.
Once we crossed the arch, we were received by the Bolivia Hop guide and escorted to the Bolivian Immigration counter. It is possible to get a Visa on Arrival for Indian citizens here. However we had managed to get a free Tourist visa from the consulate back home, so the process was same as in any other airport – Fill the Entry form, submit the same with Passport and get the stamp.
Once everyone in the group got their Passports stamped, we boarded the bus on Bolivian side. Now this bus was a different one than the one in Peru side, as vehicles cannot cross here. Slightly lesser in terms of comfort. In an hour or so we reached Copacabana, a small town on the shores of Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side. We had arranged a Tour to Isla del Sol, one of the Islands on Lake Titicaca. First we had our lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake and then set off to Isla del Sol.
Visit to Isla del Sol
We boarded the boat at 2pm for Isla del Sol. We cruised through at a steady pace and reached the island in 30-40 minutes.
We got down at this small jetty on the southern side of the island.
The water was very clear near the shore, and dark blue from a distance. Although it looks tempting for a swim, water here was cold <10°C!
The boatman gave us 1 hr on the Island. We had to walk across the whole island, through the pathway to Yumani village on the northern side where he planned to pick us up at 4pm, for the journey back. At slowest pace he said we wont require more than 45 mins, including time for photo stops. But what we didn’t factor is that the lake is at an altitude of 3800m and the island is at a higher level than the same which meant some climbing.
But it was worth it. The first stop on the way was the Incan Ruins of Pilka Kaina, a two level stone complex which you can enter.
Afterwards the path cut across the island in a more or less same level. So we utilised the time for some photo-sessions! The view of the lake from here was stunning!
We were able to make time and soon the village came in sight.
When we saw the jetty, our boatman was already waiting there, waving vigorously at us asking to come down fast! Looked like he wanted to go back home fast – in factwe reached back in lesser time than before 🙂 We observed the sunset on lake Titicaca from the jetty and soon the bus arrived to pick us up for our onward journey to La Paz, capital of Bolivia.
After 3~4 hours, we reached La Paz. The bus dropped us in front of the hotel where we were staying for the night.