life on floating islands of Los Uros

Isla Los Uros Travel Blog

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music before our boat ride

We decided to book a boat tour to the islands through our hotel.  It was cheaper than through the TI or at the dock.  We had a super quick breakfast and were picked up by a bus for our tour.  We stopped at a few other hotels before getting dropped off at the dock.  We were instructed to walk to the 5th boat, except you got there by climbing over all the other boats before it. Hmmm, interesting.  Not my favorite.  I’m not a huge fan of water to begin with and here we are walking along very rocky boats stepping in and out of them and balancing along the seats.  But I made it without falling in.

 

Once on board, we were entertained by a musician seeking donations before finally departing.

boats in Puno harbor
  We had a guide but I couldn’t understand a thing he was saying so I just looked out the window.  We left the little harbor area of Puno and passed a ton of reeds.  Huh, I thought this lake was really deep.  Why are there so many shallow water reeds? 

 

Our first stop was Apu Kontiki, a floating reed island that was part of Isla Los Uros.  This island culture is fascinating and I’m really glad we got to stop.  We were given a demonstration of how the islands are constructed.  A Quechua man and woman demonstrated while our guide spoke in English and Spanish.  The islands are built on 3 meter thick root mass that floats.  Several root masses are tied together into one island, which is then staked and anchored to the lakebed to keep the island from drifting.

leaving Puno
  It was 15 meters from the island surface to the lakebed.  The root mass is covered with several layers of cut reed.  The root of the reed can be peeled and eaten and is one of the staples of the island diet.  We got to try the root - it tasted a little like water chestnut, only not as crunchy.  The homes are constructed of reeds, as are the traditional boats.  Six families live on this particular island and they seem to cater to tourism yet maintain their traditional way of living.  I do wonder if their bathroom waste goes into the lake where they get their food? 

 

We were given some time to wander around the island and climb up the little tower for a nice view.  The families were selling handicrafts but also make money by agreeing to have these tour groups visit their island.

reeds and clouds
  Many of us took a ride over to the next island on a traditional boat paddled by a father and son.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about sitting on a reed boat with an animal head and 10 other people, but the rest of my group went so I did, too (talk about peer pressure, phew!).  It was an uneventful ride over to the other island and I was happy to see our real boat also came over to the other island. 

 

This other island was much the same as the first, but it had a fish shaped tower.  We didn’t stay long.  Back on our boat we settled in for a long ride to the next island, Taquile.  The water got a little choppier once we got farther out into the lake. 

yadilitta says:
I have been there a long time ago. I think I should go back... it was before the travel bug, hehe
Posted on: Dec 24, 2008
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music before our boat ride
music before our boat ride
boats in Puno harbor
boats in Puno harbor
leaving Puno
leaving Puno
reeds and clouds
reeds and clouds
reeds and ducks
reeds and ducks
our welcoming committee
our welcoming committee
guide showing map of Lake Titicaca
guide showing map of Lake Titicaca
demonstrating how the floating isl…
demonstrating how the floating is…
eating the reed
eating the reed
reed boats
reed boats
row boat behind reed homes
row boat behind reed homes
reed homes and souvenirs for sale …
reed homes and souvenirs for sale…
reed boats on the neighboring isla…
reed boats on the neighboring isl…
view to south-ish from tower
view to south-ish from tower
view of Apu Kontiki island from to…
view of Apu Kontiki island from t…
neighboring island to north
neighboring island to north
Apu Kontiki from tower
Apu Kontiki from tower
Apu Kontiki family
Apu Kontiki family
Sarah, Amanda, Steph and me on ree…
Sarah, Amanda, Steph and me on re…
women and girls singing us farewel…
women and girls singing us farewe…
little girl rode with us
little girl rode with us
father and son paddeled us over to…
father and son paddeled us over t…
floating market
floating market
fish tower on next island
fish tower on next island
dock on next island
"dock" on next island
father and baby girl on next island
father and baby girl on next island
cooking area of next island
cooking area of next island
view inside reed home
view inside reed home
I think hes sweet on her
I think he's sweet on her
Isla Los Uros
photo by: alyssa_ob