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Isla del Sol is a curious island in the large Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side of the lake (the other half of the lake is in Peru). The island is known for its notable Inca ruins and for its stunning but harsh terrain. While most people think of Inca ruins in Peru, there are also impressive Inca ruins over the border in Bolivia and Ecuador.

Isla del Sol translates to "Island of the Sun" in English and is a rocky and hilly island with many eucalyptus trees. One can explore the island and find over 80 ruins on the island as well as a few villages home to mostly indigenous people. Another of Bolivia's greatest attractions is the Salt Flats of Uyuni - an other-worldly attraction that everyone should see.


What Isla Del Sol Is Known For

Most of the ruins on the islands are from the Inca period and date from around the 15th century AD - although there is evidence that people lived on the island from as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. The Isla Del Sol has many eucalyptus trees and feels like a time capsule with no motor vehicles or paved roads on the island.

  • Ruins: Around 80 Ruins On The Island
  • Roads: No Paved Road or Motor Vehicles
  • Inhabitants: Around 800 Families
  • Where: Lake Titicaca

The island is also characterized by many agricultural terraces that make the steep rocky terrain arable. But the Isla del Sol is famous first and foremost for the Inca ruins and mythology.

The island held significance to the Incas in that they believed the sun god was born there. In fact, both the lake and the lake and the island were considered the birthplace of not only the Sun God called Inti, but also the world according to Bolivia Hop.

In Inca mythology, the first Inca King - Manco Cápac- was created by the Sun God. The legends stated that Manco Cápac and his siblings were sent to the earth by the sun god. They emerged onto earth out of the cave of Pacaritambo with a golden staff. They then traveled to what is today Peru and found Cusco (the Inca Capital) and the temple for the Sun God Inti.

Related: All Roads Lead To Machu Picchu? Why The Inca Roads Were The Best In The Americas

Isla De La Luna

While there, visit the smaller island called Isla de la Luna - it is home to the ruins of the Temple of the Virgins. The Isla de la Luna has a population of only around 80 people and is also reachable by boat.

  • Population: 80
  • Ruins: Temple of the Virgins
  • Getting There: By Boat From Yumani or Copacabana

Visiting Isla Del Sol

It is easy to visit Isla Del Sol on a one-day tour. For many, the island's laid-back and slow pace is a refreshing break from the often chaotic travel of Peru and Bolivia and some may want to extend their time on the island.

Most people get there by boat from Copacabana, and it is possible to take a half-day or a full-day tour of the island. Another option is to just get dropped off on the island and then make one's own way around the island.

As there are no cars on the island there is only the option of exploring it on foot or by donkey.

  • Get Around: By Foot or Donkey
  • Get There: By Boat From Copacabana

One option is to walk from the North to the South. One can walk from Challapampa in the north to Yumani in the south which is about a 3-hour walk. Typically, visitors stay on the southern part of the island and take a boat to the north, and from there they hike back down to the south.

  • Tip: Enjoy A Swim In The Lake

The easiest way to access the area is with the bus companies Peru Hop and Bolivia Hop who operate via Puno and Copacabana.

Related: Introduction To The Inca Sacred Valley: Home Of Machu Picchu, Cusco, And The Heart Of The Empire

What To See On The Isla Del Sol

There are a number of Inca ruins on the island but plan one's trip about these:

  • The Inca Steps: 206 Stone Steps Built By The Inca Leading To The Town Of Yumani
  • Rock Of The Puma: Said To Be The Place Where The Sun And Moon Were Born (Lake Titicaca Is Named After It)
  • Gold Museum: A Small Museum With A Collection Of Inca Treasures And Artifacts
  • The Inca Table: A Stone Platform Used For Human Sacrifices and Still Used By Shamans

So next time in Bolivia, learn how it is the home of the Inca's origin mythology.