Saturday, December 11, 2010


This is my favourite place in Bolivia. I had such a nice time here. I stayed in my case study eco cabin which was fantastic and I could hear the waves of Lake Titicaca crashing outside. I had a lovely 20 minute walk along the beach to get to my hotel, I did it several times a day because it was so nice. Unfortunately I still can´t run at 4100m. I walked up a big hill on the edge of Copa and it nearly killed me.

I interviewed the owner and the manager of the hotel in Copa. They were really laid back and very open to questions, in fact they talked a lot which was brilliant, except that I forgot my dictophone so I had to write very fast. The owner visited Lak´a Uta with his wife while on holiday and thought how nice the houses were and how healthy. He already owns a hostel in La Paz and fancied a change so bought some land in Copacabana and started building. He did it as a kind of self build without an architect. He thinks it is important to be sustainable and ecological. There is also solar hot water and they are working on a vegetable garden. He said maintenance was a lot more costly than with a brick building but it is clearly worth it, otherwise he wouldn´t do it. He said it is a bit of an attraction to foreign tourists (like me) who like the tranquility and the novelty of the buildings, but the Bolivian tourists all want cable TV. He has decided to put cable in two of the cabins. It seems a bit of a shame to me. He has painted internally using natural paint because he understands that the bricks need to breathe (unlike at Lak´a Uta). They choose to maintain the external mud/straw/manure mix every three months. I suppose you would have to maintain a hotel to a higher standard.

I also went to see some Islas Flotantes. Its a bit of a con really as they are just there for tourists. There are some people who really live on reed islands but they are quite far out in Peru and they don´t like being photographed. Anyway it was a really pleasant boat ride and it was quite interesting to see how they breed the trout. I was so tempted to jump off the boat and go for a swim!

The view from the big hill I walked up

The view outside my hotel

My walk into town ended about here, this was also the view from the beach side stalls selling fresh trout

The view from the beach to the eco copacabana hotel collection of adobe buildings. The owner said he got tired of building in adobe by the time he got to his house, so his is the unfinished brick house on the right. I stayed in the parabolic roofed house on the far left.

A close up of the house I stayed in, I had it all to myself

In front of the cabins is a solar ´porch´ with a plastic roof. Internally you can see holes on the separating wall to allow warm air to pass through. A different take on the trombe wall/roof in Lahuachaca.

Another house that is the same type as the one I stayed in

Inside one of the small cabins that I did not stay in

The kitchen

The parabolic roof in the bedroom. The adobe bricks are a nice feature internally.

My bedroom

Just beyond the reeds you can see a well hidden floating house

As you can see, they don´t look very lived in and one has a tin roof. Also they are on stilts and had steel mesh underneath the straw. It was still quite dodgy walking on it though.

The nets for breeding trout and the boy rowing my boat for me

Farming, boats and reeds on the banks of Lake Titicaca

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