Puno and Lake Titicaca
Puno Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
We enjoyed a relatively short bus ride, around 7 hrs, from Arequipa to Puno arriving around 3pm in the afternoon. Built on the shores of Lake Titicaca its Perus main port for the gigantic lake (which it shares with Bolivia) and the best place to depart for a visit to the islands on Perus side, including the famous floating reed islands.
On recommendation from Land Adventures (our tour company to Colca De Canyon) we hunted down a little hostel with high hopes. On arrival the doors were all locked up which we thought was a little strange. Never-the-less, we gave the door bell a good ding-dong and suprisingly enough, a small old lady came to greet us, cackling all the way.
As a place to visit, Puno was ok. It had some good eating places, a number of internet cafes (some awesome looking old style video arcades), tour agencies and some churches. It seemed to be quite a young city, with lots of children and teenagers creating a party kind of atmosphere after dark. But we didnt really come to see Puno, it was Lake Titicaca that we were interested in.
For me, the name Lake Titicaca, is synonomous with a 'magical land in a far off place' so it was quite amazing when we found ourselves standing on its shores at 7:30am in the morning ready to embark on a boating adventure, even if the water was covered in green algae that emitted a rather foul stench. Backing our spanish skills (well Annas spanish skills really) we decided to go 'tourless' on this adventure and do it all ourselves.
Luckily for us, there were enough travellers aboard (5 in total I think) to warrant a stop at the famous floating islands on the way to Taquille. Made out of reeds sourced from the lake, these islands literally float on the surface of the water and they support large communities of indigenous people. Even though we only got to see the more 'touristy' islands, it was still amazing to see how these people lived. After some poor attempts at chatting to the locals on my behalf, and some photos on Annas behalf we were off again.
As we moved further and further away from land you get to see just how enormous the lake is. Deep blue and stretching as far as the eye can see it feels more like being on the open water than it does an enclosed lake. As we continued to chug along with the sun beating down, it reminded my alot of the D'Entrecasteux Channel at home in the summer time and I was suddenly very glad to be near the water again!!