Activities and Events near Copacabana
Day 5
SouthWind quote
  Rising early, we'll depart the city in a private vehicle for a 1 hour drive along the Yampupata peninsula. Along the way we can enjoy the region's lovely landscapes as we pass small adobe fishing settlements like Titikachi which being located on sapphire blue bays with sandy white beaches remind some travelers of the Greek coast. We might have a chance to visit with the shepherds who live in the tiny hamlets we pass, and we may see farmers working their fields with teams of oxen or hand tools or, depending on the time of year, watch as they harvest their crops of potatoes, barley, wheat, beans, and quinoa. We'll marvel at exquisite views of the lake, and possibly take a short journey in an authentic totora boat near the town of Sikuani. Arriving to the point of the peninsula, near the community of Yampupata, we'll embark in a small, partially covered motorboat (accommodating approximately 8-10 participants) for the 20-minute excursion across Lake Titicaca to the southeastern side of the sacred Island of the Sun. Upon reaching the island, we'll ascend a steep staircase from the boat dock and walk through the two-storied ruins of Pilko kaina. Afterwards we'll hike about 30 minutes along ancient terraces which are still in use by the local farmers before encountering a eucalyptus glade and the enigmatic Inca's Fountain. This seems to have originally been a Tiahuanacan structure but shows later Incan influences. After exploring this site, whose running waters are supposed to infer a blessing upon those who visit, we'll have a picnic lunch and board our motor launch to head back across the lake to Copacabana (about 2 hours). From the docks we'll walk back to the familiar Rosario del Lago Hotel (or similar) and enjoy dinner together later this evening. (CB,L,D)
email home from Copacabana
 

In Copacabana we drove on a dirt road to the end of a pensiula to take a small fishing boat to the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca. On the way we stopped at a family`s home and took a short ride in a tortora reed boat. He had a honda (incan sling shot) around his neck, so I asked for a demonstation and explained that my father played with one of those as a kid. He shot two different rocks about 200 yards into the lake. For 20 Bols. ($3) we now own one. On the island we visited Inca ruins of the sun temple and hiked along the Incan terraces still used today to a mountain spring that decended down hundreds of steps. This water was said to be the water of life. Back to Copacabana to send the previous email and visit the Modana in the hugh church in the town square, built on top of an Incan Temple. We also hike to the top of a promiant peak on the pensula, another Incan spirital site, replaced with stations of the Cross by the Catholics.

Sikuani
 
He shot a rock clear into the water.
Yampupata
 

We traded our apples for a picture. These girls were on their way to the water front to play near the boats that were pulled up onto the beach.
Island of the Sun and Pilkokaina
  According to legend, the Inca Empire was founded on these Islands when a golden rod was brought to earth by Manco Kapac and Mama Ocilo, son and daughter of the Sun God-Inti and was buried there. There are several ruins on both islands supporting this legend. On the Island of the Sun, we visit the Inca Staircase and the Inca Springs, said to be a source of eternal youth and happiness. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake, the Royal Range of the Andes and pre-Colombian Inca terraces still farmed by local natives. According to an ancient tradition, upon returning on board, all passengers are blessed with sacred water, receive a crossing certificate, and a Bolivian drink.
  The Island of the Sun was known to early inhabitants as Titicaca of "Rock of the Puma", the name which was eventually given to the entire lake. The island has been credited as the birthplace of all sorts of important entities, including the Sun itself. But the most important and enduring legend is that it was here that Father Sun summoned Manco Kapac and Mama Ocllo and sent them forth to gather the natives into communities and to teach them the arts of civilization and this was born the Inca Empire. The island remains today one of the most sacred and spiritual of sites in the Andes.
  One legend expands the legend of creation, pinpointing the Sacred Rock at Chinkana as the site. At the far northern end of the Island, Chinkana has some restored temples and nunnery. You can trek there and back or go by boat, hike uphill to the ruins and trek back. Either way take along a box lunch and make it a day. The views from Chinkana are impressive and the site is worth an hour or two.
  Yumani Village on Isla de la Sol
  Lake Titicaca from the Island of the Sun.  
Copacabana
     
  Every Sunday in front of the Cathedral a line of cars, trucks, buses and mini-buses, all decorated with garlands of flowers, wait to be blessed by the priest for a form of spiritual insurance. The Cathedral was built between 1610 and 1620 to accommodate the pilgrims who flocked to town. When miracles began happening in he Sanctuary after the presentation of a black wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, carved in the later 1570's by Francisco Yupanqui, grandson of the Inca Tupac Yupanqui. The Virgin is know both as the Dark Virgin of the Lake or the Virgen de la Candelaria, the patron saint of Bolivia. The Cathedral has a spacious atrium and four small chapels. The main chapel has a fine altar and there are 17th and 18th century paintings and statues in the Sanctuary.  
Rosario del Lago Hotel
 

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