Lake Titikaka, Copacabana and La Paz, Bolivia

Lake Titikaka is enormous and stunning. By sheer volume of water, it is the largest lake in South America and forms part of the border between Bolivia and Peru.

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I went to Copacabana from Cusco ny night bus, passing through quite an easy border control to find myself in the small Bolivian town. My main reason for visiting Copacabana was to head to the Islas de Sol y Luna – two islands which were beleived by the Incas to be the birthplaces of the sun and the moon.

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The boat out of Copacabana was cheap and very rickety. There are waves on this lake, and big ones, so it’s probably not advisable if you get sea sick. Honestly, the islands are just islands, but it was nice having a walk around them, especially when it was sunny.

 

Back on mainland and I took a collectivo from Copacabana to La Paz.

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Once again I have to be honest with you here; I did not like La Paz. The highest recognised capital in the world, the Bolivian city’s altitude made me feel quite dizzy, the weather was so grey and horrible that I was unable to see the famous Mount for the time that I was there. Perhaps a trip down Death Road would have cheered me up, but with the trusted tour guides charging over $100, such a thing wasn’t possible.

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So I was cold and grumpy, and thought I would cheer myself up by going to the curious sounding “Witches Market”. But, oh god, there were dead llama foetuses hanging off the walls!

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It could probably go unwritten that I got out of there as soon as I could.

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Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

About 3 hours west of Antigua and you get to Lago de Atitlan, one of the most visited destinations on the Guatemalan backpacking trail. Indeed my guidebook tells me that Aldous Huxley, the author of one of my favourite dystopian novelsĀ Brave New World described it as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and coming down the mountainside on a chicken bus from Solala, it is easy to see why.

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Two of the three volcano peaks on Lake Atitlan

The lake is vast – there are a number of destinations which one could visit. I found a cheap room in Panajachel, but had I had more time I think I would have ventured further – I have heard good things about San Pedro and hippy things about San Marcos.

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Panajachel in all its finery

The lake itself is not the best for swimming – especially around the town it was quite full of rubbish. But I went on a 20min boat ride from the jetty which gave me good views of the three volcanoes the lake is famous for. As it was Easter Sunday, the place was buzzing with locals and the shore side was filled with vendors – people trying to sell tourist items, but also locals frying up tortillas and various pieces of indescript meats on smoky BBQs.

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The jetty at lake Atitlan

Kayaks are available for hire on the lake with the morning being advised as the water is less choppy. I also saw paragliders from the boat – if only I were a billionnaire…

A short stay at the lake, but it was time to head north through the highlands to the ancient centre of the Mayas