Puno and Lake Titicaca
Puno Travel Blog› entry 35 of 36 › view all entries
For the second time this trip, I arrived in Puno in the early evening. Our hotel had a pool and spa (which I didn't end up using) and cramped rooms. I shared with Steve, the pickle company manager, who had been Phil's roommate. Phil and Tash were given a matrimonial (much more room and a super jet shower, the bastards!). I had a little wander around Puno before we all went out for a quiet dinner.
The next morning, we took little bicycle-driven tuk-tuks to the port of Lake Titicaca. Now, while it was a lot of fun to zip in and out of traffic, it wasn't so fun when our driver ran a red light and veered to the left to avoid hitting the van in front of us. He then had to stop, and drag the tuk-tuk backwards around the corner so he could proceed straight on the road again.
We had a guide for the day, Carlos, and our own private boat, although for some reason we had to stay down inside the cabin until we were out of sight of the port, before being allowed to go up on top decked out in life jackets. Our first stop was the Uros Islands, which are famous because it's a whole community living on buoyant totora reed islands. The islands themselves are around 2m thick, strategically attached to poles to stop them floating away. The boats and houses on the islands are also made out of reeds, which gives it all a very cool look. It's crazy to think that these people live and work on these islands - they're just a 40 minute boat ride from the bustling port town of Puno but seem a world away.
After Uros, it was a 2.5 hour boat ride to Taquile Island. I was determined to stay on the top of the boat, remembering how much I had enjoyed my previous experience of riding on Lake Titicaca, except the wind was bitterly cold and eventually everyone went down inside the cabin except Ann (Aussie/Irish school teacher who lives in Hong Kong) and Becca (English graduate) and I. There was a festival (surprise surprise) on Taquile, so we watched the locals dancing in the main square all dressed up in traditional costume. There was a very good photo exhibition in the town hall - they'd given a few locals a digital camera and asked them to document their life on the island. There were some touching and thoughtful photos.
We followed our guide out of the town centre and to a restaurant where we were served trout or kingfish, and Carlos explained a few things about Taquile's culture.
Back in Puno, we had another group dinner at a local restaurant, then some of us continued on at the Rock and Reggae bar that I had frequented only a few weeks ago.