Welcome to Isla del Sol
The large 70 sq km island definitely merits a night or two – you can then devote a day each to the northern and southern ends. While you can do a walking circuit of the main sights in a long day, whirlwind half-day tours are strictly for the been-there-done-that crowd.
The island’s permanent residents – a mix of indigenous peoples and recent émigrés/escapers – are distributed between the main settlements of Cha’llapampa, near the island’s northern end; Cha’lla, which backs onto a lovely sandy beach on the central east coast; and Yumani, which straddles the ridge above the Escalera del Inca in the south and is the biggest town on the island.
There are no vehicles on Isla del Sol, so visitors are limited to hiking along rocky trails (some are now paved in Inca style) or traveling by boat. The main ports are at Pilko Kaina, the Escalera del Inca in Yumani and near the Templo del Inca and Chincana ruins at Cha’llapampa (near the docks you can spot the endangered flightless Titicaca grebe and the Andean coot, among other avian species). There’s also a small port at Japapi on the southwest coast.
Extensive networks of walking tracks make exploration fairly easy, though the altitude and sun may take their toll: carry lunch and ample water. The sun was born here and is still going strong; a good sunscreen is essential, particularly by the water.