Huatajata is a long strip of fishing community, located on the road between La Paz and Copacabana. The town is a prime place to spend some time on the lake if you have an afternoon, or even a night, to spare, and while it is easy to miss if you are flying by in flota or camion, dare to hop off and see what a unique and rather untouristed spot it is. Huatajata is best know as the dock point for trips to the Islas HuyÃ±aymarka, but with a couple of hotels, a luxury spa, lakeside trout restaurants, two small museums and even the Bolivian Yacht club, Huatajata is underrated to say the least.
Aymara life in the town seems only just touched by tourism, and for the most part still operates as it did in pre-Incan times. The men head out to fish in the mornings and come back in the afternoons with that days catch, and the woman prepare incredible dishes of trout and other local Bolivian fare, all of which can be enjoyed in the small restaurants that sit along the shore. For some of the best on Lake Titicaca try Panamericana, Restaurante Los Andes, or Restaurante Pachamama. All three eateries offer huge portions of fish, prepared a number of ways, and vegetables and potatoes to compliment.
If you wish to stay the night, there are a couple of options. The multi-buidling, multi-floor, spa and resort Inca Utama Hotel & Spa is just east of the main restaurant strip. While high-priced for Bolivia, you arenâ€™t like to pay this low of a price for a place as nice as this. Aside from a hotel, spa, and onsite restaurant, the complex is also host to the Museo El Altiplano, an anthropologic and archaeologic tribute to the Tiahuanaco, Aymara, Uro, Chipayas, Inca, and Kallaawaya cultures (admission free for guests, $5 for others). A less expensive accommodation option is Hotel Pachamama ($5/35 Bs. per person, per night), complete with an indoor swimming pool.
While visiting this charming community, consider a stop at the Museo Paulino Estaban to learn about reed boat building and its importance to the Islas HuyÃ±aymarka, or rent a boat to bring you to them to see for yourself. To commission a launcha head back behind the lakeside restaurants and speak with any of the boat owners. They will be happy to take you to one, two, or all three of the islands for a substantial fee (Expect to spend around $25 / 180 Bs. for one island and almost $60 / 400 Bs for all four). You can also inquire about luxury tours, either to these islands or elsewhere, with Crillon Tours, located on the Inca Utama complex grounds (La Paz Office: Av. Camacho 1223, Tel: 591-2-233-7533, URL: www.titicaca.com).