Boliva: Lake Titicaca – Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is the place where according to the myths, the first Inca – Manco Kapac, the son of sun god Inti – appeared from a mountain craig. There are over 90 various archeological Inca ruins on the island, including the ruin of a statue of a puma – a stone or grey puma that went by the name of Titi Caca, giving the entire lake its name. There is also the Inca temple Pillkukayna on the south shore which was a retreat for Inca kings for centuries. The temple’s few windows look out on the Island of the Moon, which was where the best looking young Inca women were taken into a convent-like seclusion to later mate with the king and propagate the royal line (nice to the the king!). Multiple hiking trails criss cross the island, requiring some strenuous accent in thin air, but the panoramic views are well worth it. Ancient Inca agricultural terraces cover most of the slopes. There is also an Inca staircase and an Inca fountain of youth. Recent archaeological studies have discovered that there was a pre-Inca civilization on the Isla del Sol.