Seven years ago an introverted but strong nomadic woman named Libertad (Freedom) settled down to build her own place on the shores of Bolivia's sacred Lake Titicaca. Located on a steep plot of land in Copacabana, Kasa Cultural Sol y Luna offers affordable accommodation in addition to opportunities to learn and experiment with gardening and other aspects of green living. The hostel features a dry toilet, a greenhouse constructed with plastic bottles, an organic vegetable patch, a rainwater collection system and solar water heater, homemade vegan food and even its own pebbled beach overlooking Isla del Sol.
Originally from a left-wing family from La Paz, ‘hermana Libertad’ keeps herself busy with the hostel, giving offerings to the lake and teaching bioarchitecture as well as empowering local women. Her eco-friendly hostel opened up as a cultural center but it also offers affordable accommodation at just US$2.50 a night. Overlooking the sacred Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol, the hostel is 20 minutes walk from Copacabana’s town center along the shore.
Featuring a vegetable garden and hammocks overlooking the lake, the hostel is the perfect spot for getting away from it all. The rooms are comfortable and have a lovely scent, thanks to the Eucalyptus seed curtains and the dry branches Libertad leaves underneath each bed. Within the stepped gardens there is a greenhouse made with plastic bottle walls that lets in plenty of sunshine.
Flourishing herbs and vegetables grow happily inside, and are used by Libertad to cook deliciously healthy vegan meals. Beans, lettuce, cauliflower, ruccola, marigold and all sorts of edible plants grow along old tires turned into baskets. At Copacabana’s Kasa Cultural Sol y Luna nothing goes to waste; there is even a rainwater collection system for watering the plants and flushing the toilets.
The guests’ rough and ready outdoors kitchen has a table for eating al-fresco, a mud oven for bread and pizzas, a compost and two special guardians: a dog and his friend the goose.
On one corner of the garden sits a handmade dry toilet crafted by a volunteer guest. Its walls are made from mud and glass bottles, the roof from plastic bottles, the steps comprised of old tires and the door is a colorful ‘aguayo‘.
Created for experimenting, living and learning, the hostel hosts regular workshops on vegan food and natural skincare, lends books and films on Andean culture and welcomes volunteers for new eco-constructions. Libertad also cleans the beach with local kids and empowers women and elderly from 36 native communities, inspiring everyone to look after and care for Pachamama.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat