America,  Bolivia,  Country Guides,  TDM,  Tips

La Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca: How to get there, where to sleep, guide & tips

Updated September 2019 : Following an economic conflict between the Center and the North of the island, access to the North and Center was blocked / closed for more than a year and a half and tourists could only visit the southern part of Isla del Sol, among the Yumani who remained neutral during the conflict (I see many articles and comments spitting at the southerners, but they did nothing. Many negative comments also come from people who did not do any research before coming, and are offended to pay the entrance fee to the island when it has always been the case)

A peace agreement was signed in July 2019(source) and according to information found here and there on the Internet, it would now be possible to travel to the North (Challapampa) by boat from Copacabana on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays (I would like a confirmation if someone is there at the moment). Visit the ruins (3h round trip) then walk to the South (3h, as usual you have to pay between 10$B and 15$B to each community you cross: North – Center – South). However, walking from South to North is still not possible.

Some hotels in the North of the island organize private boats on condition that you book at home of course (private boat trip from Yumani – South of the island, to be paid in addition to the room), like at Willka Kuti Hostal – Lado Norte Isla del Sol (24$, link Booking)

If you take one of the boats going to the South of the island (Yumani) (departures at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm from Copacabana, 25$B), there will be a lot of people. I advise you to stay at least one night in Yumani: as soon as you get off the boat, pay the access fee (10$B), then go to the left, climb a few steps, sip a coffee while waiting for the crowd to leave. Then explore the southern part of the island an hour later, when the tourists have all left. It is strongly recommended to come with a minimum of luggage (you can leave your luggage in a locker at Copacabana at Wendy Mar (link Booking) for example) because the steps are numerous, slippery (because full of donkey droppings) and you are at high altitude. The return boat costs 30$B.

Recommended hotels in Yumani
:1. Las cabañas de Agua Dulces (Booking link, very simple accommodation with local atmosphere, very close to the port, magnificent view of the mountains)
Ecolodge la Estancia (link Booking, superb view)

Having visited the island from North to South, I found the South more beautiful, with beautiful viewpoints and varied landscapes


Admittedly, one has the impression to be a little tight, but from the departure of the tourists, it is a small paradise. The ruins in the North and in the South of the Isla del sol are very small and not very interesting compared to what we can see in Peru. If you can’t get there, frankly, don’t have any regrets. Have a good trip!

The rest of the article was written in early 2017

There isn’t much information about Isla del Sol, which is nevertheless a paradise for hikers with its “sacred road of the eternity of the sun”. After 2 magical nights on the island (read our travel diary here), we can give you our best addresses and tips to enjoy Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), the cradle of the Andean civilization. It is one of the three places where I feel the best in the world.

How to get there

The easiest solution is to leave from the city Copacabana. Boats leave every day at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm for 25$B/person . You can either take Inca Tour or Asociacion union marines directly to the port. If you miss these two outings, it is possible to pay for a private boat, in this case, get together with other tourists.

I recommend you to go to the North of the island, and hike to the South, because the hike in the other direction is full of traps and you may take a longer path.

Recommended itinerary

Here is the itinerary we recommend:

  • Day 1: Boat from Copacabana at 8:30 am to the north of the island. Round trip to the ruins of Chicana (3h). Return and lunch in the village. Departure to Cha’lla in the center of the island (1h30) and night in Cha’lla.
  • Day 2 : Departure to Yumani (2h). Visit the ruins if you still have some energy left. Night near the port of Yumani.
  • day 3 : Return to Copacabana (boat at 10:30 or 15:30)

Except for the morning of the first day, you will hardly meet anyone on the road for the rest of the trip.

Where to sleep?


Campers will find what they are looking for at the beach on the north side of the island, where there are toilets near the beach for $2B. Continuing on the road to Chicana, you will find a pay camping at a private home with a magnificent view. However, I advise you not to rent a camping car (1) the pigs are raised on the beach (2) it is very very cold at night, even in summer (3) the transport of the equipment will kill your back because of the steep slopes, and we are at high altitude


There is no lack of hostels in the north of the island and in Yumani (in the south). However, I advise you rather to sleep the first night in the village of Cha’lla, in the center of the island, where there will be almost nobody. I highly recommend you the Playa del Inca hostel which gives directly on the beach (40$B/person, private bathroom). The owner cooks divinely well for 35$B/person.

The second night, in Yumani, instead of climbing the Escalera del Inca and opting for one of the hostals at the end of this route, prefer a hostel near the port. The view is better (you can see the snowy peaks while from the hostels at the top of the stairs there are big trees that prevent you from seeing them). I recommend the hostel Las Cabañas Agua Dulce (a bit difficult to spot by yourself, ask the locals). 50$B/person, private bathroom, beautiful view from your bed.

Where to eat?

  • In the North and South of the island, there are plenty of restaurants all offering the same menu between 25$B and 35$B for lunch. And between 15$B and 45$B/dish in the evening.
  • In the Center of the island, there is less choice, dine at the inn (the owner cooks very well!)

To take with you if you stay overnight

I recommend that you leave your big backpack at Copacabana and come here with the bare minimum, namely :

  • A poncho (it often rains between December and February)
  • Water (you can buy some on the way but between Cha’lla and Yumani there are fewer stands).
  • Trail shoes or hiking boots
  • PQ (the inn does not provide any)
  • One bath towel (the hostel does not provide towels)
  • Toiletry kit, including shampoo and soap (not included)
  • Cash (no ATM on the island). Personally we spent in the 700$B for two people in 2 days and a half.
  • Lots of sunscreen and a hat
  • Breathable clothing for walking, and warm clothing for the freezing night.
  • First aid kit

Some safety instructions

  • The boats do not have life jackets (well 1-2 symbolically). Here you go, learn to swim before!
  • The road isn’t illuminated in the evening, calculate your route well so as not to walk in the dark
  • Beware of mountain sickness, it climbs a lot so spend a few days in Copacabana to acclimatize before doing the hike
  • Do not underestimate the cold felt at nightfall. Even in summer! If you camp, come with a good comforter. Jb and I slept with our fleeces despite the 3 layers of blanket provided in a hostel room.

Back to Copacabana

2 possible boat schedules from Yumani (the south of the island): 10:30 am and 3:30 pm. It is marked 4:30 pm at the port but the locals confirmed me that it was indeed at 3:30 pm.

From Copacabana, either you stay one night or you take the bus to the other destinations. Here are the bus schedules from Copacabana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *