Isla Del Sol, Bolivia

Sun and an island in the midst of the worlds highest traversable lake (What does that even mean)? The lakes high and you can traverse it, ok. It’s also humungous and about 53 shades of blue. It’s beautiful and full of little treasures. One of those being Isla Del Sol, the island of sun. 

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Isla Da Luna in the distance

An easy to organise 2 hour boat from Copacabana that leaves at 8:30 Am or 1:30 Pm for 25 Boliviano’s per person will land you on the shores of the sun Island. If you enjoy walking up hills at high altitude then get ready for the time of your life. The main village sits a hundred or so metres up from the docking point on the islands south side.

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The north side was previously closed off for tourists. Lots of different speculations exist about why, the most reasonable of which being that north siders are trying to block plans to develop fancy hotels across the island. Our hostel Hostel Joshua does organise boats and accomodation to this side of the island, so it is opening up a bit. 

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Say wassup
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There are donkeys everywhere too

 

We recommend an overnight stay so that you can manage to catch the sunset at any of the islands restaurants, most of which have balconies facing the sunset. We went to Pachamama’s restaurant as the menu had the most options. Do not miss the chance to try the lakes trout, the pizza was also gigantic. Another option is to try Las Velas the candle light restaurant. Or just pick any other place that suits you, it’s your holiday. 

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Other than sightseeing, a little bit of walking and eating the island doesn’t offer much more than an opportunity to sit back, stare at the stars and think about all the things that come into your mind when you remember just how infinite the universe is. 

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Costs:-

Accomodation: 100 Boliviano’s per person

Dinner: 129 Boliviano’s for a grande pizza, milanese trout, papas fritas, glass of wine and cola.

Boat: 25 per way

Island entry tax: 10 Boliviano’s per person.

 

 

Peru to Bolivia

We left Huacachina on an Econociva bus that we paid 80 soles for.

Preparing for the worst, as we know how bad they can be, they still managed to surprise us by being 2 hours late. This would be ok if we didn’t spend an afternoon on a Pisco tour which only added to our confusion at the bus station.

The ride itself was 13.5 hours of pure joy (not really), we slept and binged watched Netflix. Finally in Arequipa (again) we bought our ticket to Puno and had 2 hours to kill so we went for açai bowls in the city centre.

We got our ticket for 15 soles at the station. Online & in tourist shops they sell them for 120 soles, talk about a bargain.

Bus number 2, a day time bus of 6 hours, piece of cake we thought. Not so much. Being awake is so much worse and the amount of times you need to visit the half dingy toilet is gross. But yet again we made it. We stayed the night in Puno but decided to skip any tours as we will be doing them on the Bolivian side. We managed to get another 15 soles bus ticket over the border to Bolivia (purchased at the station). The border was quick and easy. Thanks to our Swedish and Australian passports we didn’t needed to pay a thing and we also didn’t need a visa. A small tip is to bring a copy of your passport.

This now means we have left Peru and arrived in Bolivia!

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We are also back on high altitude. You would think we would be used to it by now. Let’s just say that we are not.

 

Huacachina, Ica Peru

Teddy was devastated when he missed the La Guajira desert on Colombia’s north coast. So of course when we heard about Huacachina in Peru, heading there was a no brainer. Huacachina sits 3 hours south of Lima and about 15 minutes from the desert city if Ica. Its easily one of the coolest places we have been. Nestled between some of the worlds biggest sand dunes (the biggest being in neighbouring city Nazca) Huacachina is a desert oasis like no other.

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Spend the day paddling a boat on the lake, soaking up sunshine on sand dunes or walking up the behemoths to sand board and ski back down again. Everything about huachina is great, our hostel was the Desert Nights Hostel, which had the feel of a Saudi Arabian desert palace.

We spent our first day tanning in the desert sun. Drinking on our rooftop bar and eating delicious desert food. We wanted to ride the buggies across the desert sands for the sunset, unfortunately that week an accident occurred and all motorsports in the area were shut down. ATV tours were still operating in the desert next door but we wouldn’t recommend. It was less ‘tour’ and more ‘drive around in a circle for 40 minutes’.

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Day 2 had us on a wine and Pisco bodega tour. we definitely recommend, the bodega street is like something out of an old western and you get great value for money. We felt the Pisco three shots in and they just kept coming our way. If you like your Pisco strong and wine super sweet, then Ica is the place for you.

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That evening we hiked up the biggest dune we could find for the sunset, finished a bottle of Lucuma Pisco and a few beers at the top and boarded down in terrible fashion.

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If you like sand between your toes (and everywhere else you can think off) you will love this little place.

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Costs:-

ATV Tour: 60 Soles p/p (Price possibility raised due to lack of buggies)
Pisco Tour: 25 Soles p/p
Board rental: 5-8 Soles per board (We did meet someone selling for 35)
Hostel: 25 Soles p/p

Arequipa, Peru

I know, I know, it’s been a while. Sometimes that happens when you spend the majority of your time on busses.

So what’s been happening (Other than the copies amounts of music and Netflix we have gone through on our bus trips)?

We left Puerto Maldonado for Arequipa on the 7th of August, thinking we had an 8 hour bus ahead. It wasn’t, the bus was 15.5 hours long and very uncomfortable. But we made it, as always. We got off the bus to sunshine and 25 degrees, do I need to tell you this made us very happy. No, no we Don’t. Naturally this required a rooftop hostel, we chose World Backpackers.

Arequipa is the Medellin Peru, except the snow stays on mountain tops here, not little bags. What we mean is that it is the city of eternal spring in Peru. Weather is amazing for 11 months of the year. The Spanish influence on the architecture is also the strongest in Peru. We recommend staying here for at least 2 nights.

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View from the hostel roof

We celebrated my birthday (9th-11th) in a Airbnb that Teddy had organised. A beautiful apartment overlooking the city. We ate, drank, danced, played cards and ended our Friday in one of the many nightclubs around Plaza del Armas. Although I have never felt so out of place before, blond hair get’s you more attention in Peruvian clubs than we expected. So much so that we ended up in the VIP section within our first 10 minutes.

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We left Arequipa relaxed and ready for new adventures (yet another 13 hour bus, however we paid the extra and went with Cruz Del Sur, and what a difference) in Huacachina.

World Backpackers Hostel: $28 Soles each. A very nice place!

Bus Prices:- 

Puerto Maldonado to Arequipa = 70 Soles (Book your ticket at the station, much better value)

Arequipa to Ica = 120 Soles with Cruz Del Sur (You can find cheaper but for this bus trip we thought it was worth it).

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Bogota to Lima, Peru

Only half of us were impressed by Bogota. Admittedly coming from Medellin makes it hard to be impressed with a city. For Teddy, Bogota offered nice cobblestone streets, lots of open park squares and nice surrounding views of mountain landscapes. For Charlie, well there was just waaaaay to many pigeons. 

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The Pigeons complete the cities European feel

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Not even 1,000,000 sky rats are going to stop us from enjoying a place, so we went out for a delicious Italian meal and signed ourselves up for our hostels ‘Gringo Tuesdays’. Free shots of Aguardeinte, a blue bus and one busy club was all it took to make sure we had great memories of Bogota. 

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Probably the busiest Tuesday nightclub you can find

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The next day, feeling very, very average it was time for us to get on a plane and head to Lima. Not expecting the trip to take the whole day we had to rush when we got Lima to make it to our dinner reservation at the restaurant Rafael Osterling. Oh man did we splurge! We had some of the best food we’ve ever tried, next time we might stay away from the sea urchin (such a strange thing to eat) including amazing cocktails, great wine and superb dessert. We left very full and also very tipsy. The result of this was us falling asleep on a bean bag outside our bedroom on the balcony. 

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Scallop & Prawn Taco

Today we are spending the day shopping. As it’s a lot colder here we are in need of a jacket, socks and perhaps a beanie. Tonight we are off to Huaraz for our first hike in Peru!