Lake Titicaca: Islands that Float and Islands were Traditional Life Remains Traditional
Lake Titicaca Travel Blog› entry 10 of 12 › view all entries
September 22nd, 2008 – by: genkeeper
(I know it says Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, but I wasn't on that side. I stayed on the Peruvian side of the lake. Wonderful travbuddy wouldn't recognized Lake Titicaca, Peru.)
To reach the floating island Uros and the island Isla Taquile, Kristi and I went to Puno's docks and hopped on one of the many boats heading that way. It's super easy. As soon as you near the docks you are flocked by captains all wanting you to ride in their boat. If you are spending the night on Isla Taquile, be sure to tell the captain and they will write you a return ticket for the next day.
The islands get a little touristy, all the locals running over to show us their arts and crafts and charge us money for stepping onto their floating universe. But, even as a tourist hating adventurer, it was worth the over commercialization to see these truly unique islands.
Next up was Isla Taquile, which is about a 3 hour boat ride from Puno. The island is VERY rugged, reminding me a lot the Aran Islands. The inhabitants of Taquile work hard to maintain their traditional ways. The men, even the little boys, ALL wear the traditional black pants, white shirt with slightly puffy sleeves, tiny black and white vest, brightly colored belt, and floppy night-cap style hat. The men make their own hats and they are fiercely proud of them. The women all wear brightly colored skirts and blouses (that sometimes are so bright they border on neon), beige or black leggings, and usually black shawls that drap down from their head over their backs. The islands small village isn't really a village, just a main square with one or two little shops and only a couple of tiny restaurants all serving the same food.
I had read in the Lonely Planet and heard from fellow travels that to do a homestay on the island all you have to do is show up at the Taquile dock and a family will adopt you. Sounds simple enough right? It was that easy. Got off the boat and Calixto immediately adopted us and three other French people - for 10 soles a night, and 15 soles for meals. We had to trudge what seemed like hours across the island to the backside, where his house is located overlooking the lake. Calixto has 4 rooms with two beds in each room that he rents to guests. The rooms were lined on the wall and ceiling with reeds. The floor was dirt with straw on top and the beds consisted of a rock slab with reeds, then a thin mattress then blankets on top of that.
After dinner, we went outside to watch the stars. You are so high up at Lake Titichaca and there is no city light, so the sky is filled with literally a million stars. You can even see the Milky Way clearly. Being in the Southern Hemisphere the constellations were also different.
(Isla Taquile Photos on Next Day)
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!