Day 36 - Islands of Lake Titicaca

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South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca » Uros Island
November 9th 2018
Published: November 10th 2018
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Woke up this morning to a beautiful view of Lake Titicaca which we couldn't see last night. This morning we were picked up at 07:00 and Condor Travel rep went with us in a taxi to the port for our tour of the islands of Lake Titicaca. All the boats were tied together and we had to jump from one to another to get to ours.

Only four other people were on the boat but it quickly filled to about 40 before we set off at 07:30.

After just 30 minutes we arrived at the first Uros floating island and a lady who is head of the island with her husband gave us a demonstration of how they build the islands our of reeds. The guide interpreted for her. The housing is very cleverly made out of reeds and timber framing but these days they do have solar panels to provide electricity. They are also selling textiles and souvenirs made out of reeds which they make ob the island. The population is decreasing now because the children receive education and when they reach high school age they go to the mainland and become dissatisfied with life on the islands. Some families have now moved to the mainland and the ones remaining now rely a fair bit on tourism.

They have these cool reed boats they make and there was an optional ride on one of these to the next island and of course we did that. It was a beautiful sunny day and the lake was calm, so again we are lucky with the weather because it was raining last night when we arrived.

At the second island there was a shop selling coffee and tea etc and a few stalls but was not the same experience we had on the first island.

We then had a 90 minute trip on the boat to the island of Taqile. We both dozed off to sleep at times until we reached the island just before 11:00. The island is beautiful and is occupied by Taquileños who run their society based on community collectivism and on the Inca moral code 'ama sua, amallulla, ama qhilla' (Quechua for do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy). The island is divided into six sectors or 'suyus' for crop rotation purposes. The economy is based on fishing, terraced farming horticulture based on potato cultivation, and income from the approximately 40,000 tourists who visit each year.

The guide was very good and gave us a lot of information about the people of the island and their customs as we slowly walked up to the top of the island although there was an option to take am easier path to the lunch spot which one couple took. At one spot he had one of the islanders next to him as he described the traditional clothes he wore. The married men wear belts made from their wife's hair and wool.

Altogether we took 45 minutes, with 3 stops, getting to the top and we were told the local boys do it in 10 minutes. We stayed at the top for a few minutes then continued downwards towards the village for our included lunch. Before lunch however we were given further information about the meaning of certain colours and then some men came out with instruments and they played while two women danced. When they finished we were asked to join in and some did, including Daisy of course. The lunch was delicious quinoa vegetable soup and trout or vegetarian omelette, we both had the former.

At lunch we met two girls, Kat from California and Eva from Spain, who are traveling on their own. After lunch we walked about 25 minutes back down the other side of the island and met our boat for the 90 minute trip back to Puno.

A taxi was already arranged for us to go back to the hotel but we decided to have a quick look around the central square in Puno and he drove us there. We just walked into the Puno Cathedral and walked around the area a bit before deciding to go back to the hotel and relax. We bought some coffee from the restaurant and sat outside of the hotel looking onto the lake watching the sunset and it was very relaxing. The back of the hotel even has a section similar to the reed islands.

At 19:00 we went to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant again because it was so good last night and again the food was excellent. Topped off by a delicious hard chocolate coated glazed pear with vanilla ice cream.

Unfortunately Daisy’s backpack still hasn’t turned up and and we now have conflicting news as to whether it was actually found, after following this up. We will just have to wait and see now.

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