catching a boat

Puerto Perez Travel Blog

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Puerto Perez

The kids were right, and at the edge of the village we encountered a taxi driver from La Paz. He had come this way yesterday and got stuck because of the protests and couldn't get back home again. He was staying with friends in the area now, waiting for all this to be over.
He didn't accept our offer to drive us to Tiquina - we could forget that, he said, as the roads were completely blocked. There was no way we could get there by road. His car was already heavily damaged by rocks people had thrown at him, so he wouldn't risk any further damage.

However, the road to the village of Puerto Pérez, a little village on the shore of lake Titicaca, 7 kilometres down the road, was still open. The bastard saw how desperate we were and he charged us an extortionate amount to drive us there. For us it was a simple choice though.

Lake Titicaca from Puerto Perez
The packs on our backs were getting heavier and heavier, and it was passed midday already. If we ever wanted to reach Copacabana (I had given up reaching Peru by now) we would have to travel faster than walking speed.

And so we got to Puerto Pérez 15 minutes later. It is a tiny fishing village with a big resort hotel that seems completely out of place in such a small and tranquil town. We went to the hotel to inform about transportation and a very unfriendly owner told us the boat to Copacabana had already left. A boat? Now there is something we hadn't thought of before. Copacabana lies on a peninsula, which is connected to the mainland on the Peruvian side of the lake. To get there from the Bolivian side you have to take a ferry from the town of Tiquina.

our skipper
Our goal was to get to Tiquina, and never had we thought of taking a boat from a different town.

With the hotel owner still trying to sell us a hotel room for the night we set off towards the little harbour. We found a local fisherman and persuaded him to bring us across the lake to Tiquina. We had to bargain hard, because at first he wanted to charge us $ 200 for the one and a half hour trip. We managed to bargain it down to $ 85, which was the same price as a hotel room in the hotel, so equal damage in our opinion.

El Lago Titicaca is the highest navigable lake on earth and lies at an altitude of 3820 metres. With a length of 230 by 97 kilometres it is also the largest lake in South America. It is split between Peru and Bolivia, however, there are more islands on the Bolivian side, so Peru actually gets the largest chunk of the water surface.

enjoying the tranquil boat trip
Also, the Peruvian side is a lot deeper, and therefore the most abundant with fish. I can imagine the countries having their quarrels over the lake, and the many warning signs about illegally crossing the border via the lake are a confirmation of that. An interesting side note is that both countries actually print the whole lake on their maps.

The trip across the lake in the small boat was phenomenal. The weather was gorgeous, the scenery stunning, and after the stressful and eventful day so far it was a great way to unwind a bit.

An hour and a half later our not so chatty skipper wanted to drop us of at Tiquina. As we'd had enough of constantly trying to find transportation we asked him if he couldn't drop us of at the peninsula, so that at least we could skip the ferry (of which we did not know if it ran or not).

Olav and the skipper
The distance would be the same, so that couldn't be the problem.

The skipper explained to us how the peninsula is international territory and he would not be allowed to drop us there. We'd have to go to the immigration office in Tiquina to get our passports checked before being able to get to the peninsula. Furthermore he did not have the correct papers to moor at the shores of the peninsula


We gave in, but all of a sudden he steered his boat left anyway. Correct papers or no, he had decided we were nice enough to be dropped off on the peninsula itself. Obviously he dropped us off away from any buildings, in a little pasture some 500 metres from the village of San Pablo de Tiquina.

We'd have to walk from there, as it would be too dangerous for him to be seen. He did not want to get arrested. Olav and I wondered it it'd be such a good idea for us to get out here, but the skipper had already turned his boat around and was heading home.

 

hods says:
not just fighting over lakes: when we visited Pakistan, the 8 o'clock news ends with weather reports, alphabetically covering the major Pakistani cities. the exception however, always at the bottom of the list, is Shrinagar...which is in India!
Posted on: Mar 18, 2008
bert1978 says:
looks beautiful
Posted on: Mar 17, 2008
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Puerto Perez
Puerto Perez
Lake Titicaca from Puerto Perez
Lake Titicaca from Puerto Perez
our skipper
our skipper
enjoying the tranquil boat trip
enjoying the tranquil boat trip
Olav and the skipper
Olav and the skipper
the beautiful lake Titicaca
the beautiful lake Titicaca
the beautiful lake Titicaca
the beautiful lake Titicaca
a local woman doing her laundry
a local woman doing her laundry
Puerto Perez
photo by: wilfredoc2009