Cuzco to Lake Titicaca and Puno area

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South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca » Uros Island
May 17th 2011
Published: May 17th 2011
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My Peru adventure has drawn to a close. Back in the U.S. since May 15, I now have time to write and post just some of the many photos I took on the last leg of our trip. By the way, in addition to reading this present entry, please also click above on "previous entry", which I published "quietly" yesterday. It is all about our second and third days in the Cuzco area.
Following our stay in Cuzco, we left by coach for the 8-hour drive to Puno, the largest city on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Along the way, we stopped at a local baker's, saw how roof tiles are made from mud, and visited the ruins of the Inca temple at Raqchi.
While in the Puno area, we spent 4 nights at a hotel in the small town of Chucuito, which is south of Puno on the road to the Bolivian border. Chucuito has two colonial churches, but its main attraction is its Inca fertility temple and large stone phalluses!
While in the area, we visited, and had lunch with, a local Aymara community. The Aymara are the people who inhabit the Lake Titicaca area and speak a language
round bread from Cuzco arearound bread from Cuzco arearound bread from Cuzco area

Marco bought several loaves to give to some of the local people we met while driving to Puno
also called Aymara. Our interpreter was our local guide, Broz. Our tour leader, Marco, doesn't speak Aymara. He speaks his native Quechua (which is an official language in Peru), Spanish and English. He and Broz communicate in Spanish.
We also visited the pre-Inca ruins of Sillustani and the city of Puno, which is at an elevation of 3830 meters. Unfortunately, as Marco told us, most of the inhabitants save for, and spend more money on, religious celebrations than they do on their homes, which are in bare brick and uncompleted. He also said this is probably for tax breaks, since they pay less property tax on unfinished buildings.
The highlight of our stay in this area was our all-day boat trip on Lake Titicaca. We first visited the "reed floating islands" of the Uros people, who also speak Aymara. After that, we sailed to Taquile Island, home to the Quechua-speaking islanders who are famous for their fine embroidery and weaving.
We left the Puno area on May 14, flying back to Lima from the airport in Juliaca, an ugly, dirty town controlled by "smugglers" of all sorts, as Marco put it. After spending a few hours again at the Jose
making  roof tilesmaking  roof tilesmaking roof tiles

from local mud
Antonio Hotel in Lima, we were shown around the Barranco district of Lima and then had a farewell dinner at the very elegant Costa Verde restaurant on the coast. Most of us then flew back overnight from Lima to our homes in the U.S. via Miami. I was back in San Francisco at noon on May 15--exhausted but thoroughly delighted with the trip, which was made possible by OAT and our very competent and thoughtful tour leader, Marco Luis Aragon Acuna, who gave us so many insights into Peruvian history and culture.

Additional photos below
Photos: 45, Displayed: 23


Inca sculpted headInca sculpted head
Inca sculpted head

on road near Chucuito
group photo at villagegroup photo at village
group photo at village

HK in prune-colored fleece jacket
just one of the Uros islandsjust one of the Uros islands
just one of the Uros islands

There are about 60 of these floating reed islands

17th May 2011

Thanks for the interesting summary of your trip and this area!
Great photos as well. So glad this OAT trip turned out so well. See you soon.
18th May 2011

What a world traveler you are!!!
Hilary, What great places you go to and we ride along with you. San Francisco must seem dull after all the Peruvian color and charm. What are your plans for the near future? Will you stay put in SF for a while or are you off in another direction? Thanks for keeping all of us in the loop? Best, Betty
18th May 2011

Warrior Woman YOU!
Another fantastic trip under your belt. What's next on your bucket list?! Your entries are more and more finished - love the pictures throughout. NOW, definitely time for a rendezvous! Hugs to you, Penny
20th May 2011

A basket of fun
It hightens my pleasure to learn of the places you travel thru your comments and photos. Thanks and keep them coming, I am looking forward to your next adventure. Ciao, Tom
22nd May 2011

Trippy Chick
lovely pictures from a great trip.What a hard life these people seem to live. Beautiful but a bit bleak and foreboding.

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