A Long Family Outing on Lake Titicaca

We were less than one day away from considering undertaking a bit of a, shall we say, a long family outing along the spine of Lake Titicaca’s Isle del Sol, when another traveling family said something that stopped me and made me re-evaluate our thinking.

Putting along

It had been an assumption on my part and one I felt to be a safe one since, as we’d discovered, there are essentially two types of travellers in Boliva: those either coming from or heading to the Salar de Uyuni. As such, I couldn’t help but ask the matriarch of the family in question, “So have you been to the Salar yet?”

And that’s when things got weird.

“No, we’re not going to go. We just don’t think the kids will get much out of it,” he replied. The kids inhttp://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/IMG_5100.jpg question were 8 and 11. Two aspiring young adults who mom was quick to point out had found Peru’s Machu Picchu so underwhelming the family would find themselves back in their hotel rooms by 11 a.m.

It was all a bit for me to get my head around and, as I did my best not to give in to any incriminating facial ticks, dad added even more fuel to the swirling concoction of bewilderment in my gut. “We’ll probably just come back in a few years when the kids will be able to get a bit more out of it.”

This coming from people who lived not in La Paz, Santiago, or Lima, or anywhere remotely close to South America, for that matter. No, these people lived in London and, as such, this was no quick run up the street to the corner market.

The first climb

A lot of time, money and effort had gone into making their trip materialize and, as such, I had a couple questions. A question or two. Both of which I knew better than to actually ask.

One being, when it comes to family travel and family adventure, how much is too much? And more to the point, in such endeavours, just exactly who gets to sail the ship?

I had plenty of time to contemplate these questions the next day as our own under powered ferry dawdled along at little more than two knots to our drop off point at the north end of the lake’s Isle del Sol.

Plenty of time to take in the bone dry and towering terrain as we puttered along, in

The Jump Off Point

many cases, less than a few meters away from the island’s rocky shoreline. Plenty of time to factor in a bright relentless sun and the altitude of the trail’s 4,000 meter (12,000 plus feet) hills. And, as the morning ride lingered, plenty of time to consider the ever increasing distance between the afternoon’s return rendezvous point in the southern town of Yumani and our drop off at Kollabaya to the north.

After a manageable but steady climb to the day’s first primary photo opportunity (and one that saw Kaia revelling in the journey between points A and B under her own power) we had our answer. Between the incredible beauty on display in every direction and the fact we’d come too far at that point to have to simply double back via another ferry ride, the decision was made. It was all systems go.

Away we go

And go we would for an incredibly scenic two plus hours before things began to venture into the realm of the ‘arduous’. Then, with still 40 minutes of walking remaining to Yumani—with only an extra 20 minute buffer before our ferry back to Copacabana departed—things got ‘tricky’ as Kaia revealed she’d ‘hit the wall’. This, with a level of whinging and combativeness that bordered on the need for a medically supervised sedation.

It’d be there, with little wriggle room for placating childish sensitivities that a combination of Jedi Mind tricks and drill sergeant-like authoritarianism was forced to rear its ugly head. And all in ways that probably would’ve made our traveling English family friends cringe in horror.

The fact remained there was no way in hell we were missing our ferry, having to hold

Steady as we go

up on the island overnight (in hindsight, not a bad proposition) and missing our already booked, Peruvian bound bus the following morning.

In the end, of course, we’d make it back to our rendezvous point with all of ten minutes to spare. Enough time to sit down and feel the early onset of lactic acid build up in our lower extremities while knocking the froth off what both Bec and I readily agreed was the most well deserved beers either of us had downed in some time.

Break time

Back topside aboard our Slow Boat to Copacabana, Kaia’s energy level flared in a last gasp of enthusiasm before a dramatic crashing out on the deck at our feet for the majority of the two hour return passage.

At the end of such a long day it was a sight to behold. As perfect an ending as either of us could’ve hoped for. And, at the same time, a reminder that, while the day’s events were not nearly as easy as we’d expected, we still had more than enough to get the job done. All of us.

We’d walked the fine line in the ever evolving give and take world of

Our little trooper

parent/child, travel partnerships and come out on top. Way, way on top. And in doing so, it’d be nice to think we cleared a milestone and set a precedent for further adventure down the line.

Assuming, that is, child social services don’t have anything to say about it first.








  1. Cecelia October 11, 2016 Reply
    • Jimmy Bua October 11, 2016
  2. Beth Pancoe October 11, 2016 Reply
    • Jimmy Bua October 11, 2016

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove your human *