catching a boat
Puerto Perez Travel Blog› entry 4 of 8 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.