Lake Titicaca Travel Blog› entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
There are two parts of the day for residents on Taquile Island. One part is the tranquil way of life - fishing, farming, providing for family and community alike; the other is what I would call the 'crazy time' between 12noon and 2pm everyday when numerous boat loads of tourists dock at one port/jetty, race to whichever of the 'local restaurants' their tour company has organised for lunch, enjoy a meal of fresh fish, salad and chips, and then race to the other port/jetty to leave. It is literally crazy, I am not sure what the islanders must make of it all - these foreign alien like people from far away lands arrive for 2 hours, eat all their fish and then leave again. To be fair to those people who do choose to experience Taquille in this way, it is a lovely boat ride out to the island, there are magical views from the island while enjoying some of the best fresh water fish round anywhere in the world and it is a lovely boat ride back again.
The island is 6km long and is home to around 2000 Quechua speaking inhabitants. There is a main village, containing a central square, small shops selling bottled water + chocolates + sweets, numerous stalls selling local clothes, crafts, jewellery and lots and lots of restaurants that open their doors at 12 noon and close them again at 2pm. There are no cars on the island so there is no need for streets, instead, there is a network of gravel and cobblestone paths all over the island which provide access to most parts of the island. The islanders are still quite traditional in their way of living, including their clothing. Most noticeable are the men who all wear large floppy like beanies (picture a christmas elf with their hats!!).
But back to our adventure. Luckily for Anna and I, a tourism minister for the island just so happened to be on our boat from Puno. We got talking with him and he offered to help us find some accomodation for the night. Not that it would have been hard by ourselves as when you arrive in the square, loads of children acost you offering a place to stay with their family. We probably would have gone with this option had it not been for the chance meeting with our little tourism friend.
That afternoon we explored the island, took loads of photos and basically just relaxed, enjoying the peace and quiet with not a car horn to be heard (ahhh, the simple things in life!!). Much to my amusedment, Anna managed to get herself scammed by a small girl offering to pose in a photo with her little brother. only to accept a 1 sole payment and another for her brother.
In the evening, we watched a stunning sunset and ate a wonderful meal (cooked fresh by our lovely host) by candle light. The constant presence of the ladys little daughter provided some amusement, she seemed to just love poking and pulling all parts of our face and hair....it made eating a chip a little hard on occasions. I think we must have been in bed by 7:30pm...a trip record so far!!
The next morning we were up before dawn hoping for a cracking sunset. We werent let down, hopefully our photos do it justice. After a hearty breakfast of crepes with chocolate topping (so good!!) we unattached our little friend from our legs, said our goodbyes and headed up to the main village.
I think Lake Titicaca and Taquille island will be one of the highlights of the whole trip for me. Big call I know, but not without reason!