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Best Summer Trips 2012

Mythological birthplace of the omnipotent sun god, Inti, Isla del Sol is the largest island in Lake Titicaca (pictured here near the town of Copacabana), one of the world’s highest navigable lakes at 12,500 feet. Rocky trails shared by hikers, the local Aymara community, and pack donkeys and llamas (no cars allowed) link dozens of pre-Inca and Inca ruins. Winter (June to September) is dry season: clear skies, bright sun, and high temperatures in the 50s. Slowly acclimate to the altitude in sprawling La Paz, the world's highest capital city (11,800 feet), before catching a bus to Copacabana, Bolivian departure point for Isla del Sol ferries. On the island’s north end, explore the courtyards and rooms of Chincana and visit nearby Titi Khar’ka, the revered Rock of the Puma. Head south to climb 206 steep, Inca-built stone steps (Escalera del Inca) to a fabled “fountain of youth.” Spend the night at solar-heated Ecolodge La Estancia—15 adobe-brick, thatch-roof cottages constructed over restored pre-Inca agricultural terraces and surrounded by high-Andes fields planted with quinoa, lima beans, and potatoes..

 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, 1 OF SEPTEMPBER 2012

Heiko Meyer Redux