A lake that is shared between two countries, that itself was motivation enough for me to visit this place. Also, it was on my way up North so I decided to navigate this lake on my way.
The enormity of the lake enables you to visit it from different towns located by the side of the lake. I took three stops here: Chicharro, Copacabana, and Puno
This was my first stop by the lake and it remains my favorite one mostly because of the lack of tourists. The entire time I was there, I felt I had the lake to myself (Selfish, I know). It was peaceful, no touristy activities happening around. But I was Couchsurfing there and there were no hostels or commercial residential areas in that place as it was a really small village by the lake.
I was in Copacabana on a long weekend so it was unimaginably crowded. People were camping by the lake, It was just too touristy. I couldn’t have one moment of quietness with the lake. I’m pretty sure my opinion would have been different had I visited the place any other time.
It was so busy that it took me hours to even find a place to stay. Almost everything was booked out. I eventually found a really good place though. By good I mean the people running the place were really nice. We had no conversation for me to understand why was the owner so generous to me. She gave me access to her personal kitchen that no one else was allowed to enter, let me use her washroom where the shower worked better, and when it was time to leave, she was in tears. It’s moments like these that make me wonder if language is really that important in communicating your feelings.
It was a really good place to buy souvenirs as well, Lot of variety and good prices. I was really tempted to buy the Bolivian chompa (A Sweater) but eventually decided not to as a favor to my shoulders.
There’s nothing much to do around there except going to Copa del Sol and I didn’t want to take any more tour so I had nothing much to do. Fortunately, there was a festival going on while I was there. The entire town was participating in whatever capacity they could and beer was flowing in the streets. I tagged along with a German girl from my hostel and went around dancing in the streets in this carnival that we liked to call ‘Oktober fest of Puno’. That amount of beer also meant, that amount of pee on the streets. People were pissing in the lake with absolutely no hesitation. It was stinking around there in most of the places.
In such situations, I guess it’s better for you to keep drinking till you start to not see these things!