Isla del Sol (Sun Island) Bolivia
Idyllic, peaceful, Isla del Sot rises up out of the emerald blue waters of Lake Titicaca.
There is no means of transport to carry one from the pier at the boat landing, along the winding steep terraces to the village above. The entire island is devoid of motorized noise pollution. The air is pure and sweet, and the only ‘litter’ one is likely to find is llama and donkey poop. One hears only the gentle breezes and the occasional braying of a donkey.
The ‘village’ which sits at the very top of the island, is the essence of peace and tranquility. During the day, most women, animals and children take to the terraces and hillsides – while men are engaged in doing heavy duty agricultural work, repairs and construction. As the day wanes, it’s a treat to be outdoors hiking the hillsides and to see the locals come rushing back to the village carrying their tools, leading their animals and clutching their children by the hand. The women wear layered skirts, either straw or bowler hats, and have colorful blankets strapped to their backs, which they use to carry everything from babies, to food and tools.
On one such evening – as the sun turned the terraces to gold – we set out to hike, and were greeted by the sounds of a band playing on the terraces high above us. Following the sound of the music, we scrambled upward over scrub and stones, to be rewarded by a sight that was a painting in motion: Women dressed in layered hot pink skirts lined with white lace petticoats, hot pink shawls and black felt bowler hats, twirled and spun like bright umbrellas as they danced with their male escorts.
Giant oversized rounds of bread strung with bananas, oranges and apples, hung like enormous bagels around their necks. Chicha (a corn based beer brew) was being served. The celebration to mark the end of the planting season and the prayers for a good harvest, was in full swing. What a treat it was to stumble across this extraordinary festival. Not another tourist was in sight, just ourselves and our Bolivian guide and dear friend Antonio, who lives in La Paz.
We spent the night at the magical Posada del Inca hotel, owned by the Crillon Tour Company. The Posada is a converted hacienda set in flowering gardens with a view of Lake Titicaca below, and the snow capped Andes in the distance.
We have used the services of Crillon Tours twice in six years when visiting Bolivia and have found them to be superb on both occasions. No detail is overlooked, everything moves along like clockwork and their guides are
knowledgeable and caring.