More than just a mountainous outpost, there is a certain allure about Lake Titicaca which has given the area nearly mythical status among travelers. In addition to being known as the highest navigable lake in the world (it does, after all, sit at an elevation of 12,500 feet), arguments could be made that Lake Titicaca is also among the world’s most scenic. Rung by the snow-capped peaks of the Andes for most parts of the year, standing and watching the sun set from Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is an experience akin to standing on top of the world.
When exploring Isla del Sol, a rocky island which sits just offshore of the port town of Copacabana, the hardest part of the journey is climbing the stone stairways in the thin and brisk mountain air. There are no motorized vehicles or roadways on Isla del Sol. It's the type of place where you could easily see a traditionally dressed Aymara woman driving home her two llamas while you’re stopped on the side of the trail catching your breath.
Other Bolivian islands within the lake include Isla de La Luna (Island of the Moon) and the island of Suriqui. Though these are lesser visited than the postcard-perfect Isla del Sol, it isn’t to say that they aren’t equally worth a visit. Like the neighboring Islas de Uros in Peru (better known as “The Floating Islands”), the people of Suriqui still practice the ancient craft of constructing boats made out of reeds in order to navigate the cool, 53-degree lake waters.
The scenery, altitude and islands aside, what gives Lake Titicaca its undeniable magic is the strong sense of indigenous culture so firmly rooted around this lake in the sky. It’s a part of South America where Spanish is still a second language for Quechua or Aymara speaking villagers, technology is less prominent than in other parts of the country and the soaring vistas stretching to the Altiplano make it easy to imagine Lake Titicaca existing now as it always has been.