Luxury lovers eager to spend the night on one of Lake Titicaca’s magical islands may be put off by the prospect of the basic hotels and even simpler homestays that make up most of the lake’s lodging. There is, however, one private island that is home to a truly excellent hotel, part of the Casa Andina chain of five-star properties.
Suasi Island (Isla Suasi) is lovely little (43 hectares, or 106 acres) isleta, the only private parcel on the lake. Its rocky outcroppings, stunning vistas and cascades of flowering bougainvillea are patrolled by wandering vicunas and alpacas, as well as guests of the hotel.
Though luxuriously appointed, the hotel’s rustic flagstone-and-adobe architecture, thatched roofs and commitment to ecofriendly amenities such as solar power and wood stoves, stay true to the Earth-conscious spirit of Titicaca tourism. Whitewashed rooms all enjoy panoramic views across the lake and Bolivian Andes, as well as large bathrooms, fireplaces and skylights; some rooms have balconies, while a larger cottage offers more romantic accommodation. Note that rooms are not heated; instead, they’ll place hot water bottles in your bed as part of the nightly turndown service.
Guests are free to wander the island at will. Enjoy terraced gardens that harken to Taquila’s ancient earthworks, or the short hike to Itapilluni Hill and its fantastic sunset views. Tours in Uros-style reed boats are a fine way to enjoy the island. Afterward, you could take a tour with an expert on traditional astronomy, who will reveal the secrets of the starry night as you peer through a Bushnell telescope. The candlelit restaurant offers international cuisine with Andean accents.
Isla Suasi was originally home to sociologist Martha Giraldo, who built the original ecofriendly estate after inheriting the island from her grandmother. In 2003, Casa Andina began expanding and administering the hotel as a luxury property. The original Cultural Hut and Library is still onsite.