Lake Titicaca

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July 21st 2014
Published: July 21st 2014
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We finally left La Paz and headed to Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. In Copacabana we walked past the cathedral and saw a religious procession where they make pretty designs on the ground using petals for the procession to travel over. Later in the day we bumped into some friends from Sucre so spent the afternoon watching the football world cup (a recurring theme) with them. Just before sunset we walked up cerro Calvario for great views over Copacabana and Lake Titicaca.

The next morning we were up early to catch a boat to Isla de Sol (Sun Island). We bumped into another couple of friends from the ride and river trip in the line for the boat so spent the day with them.

The boat ride was a couple of hours each way, we got off the boat at the Northernmost point and walked the length of the island. There were some really great views and we thoughly enjoyed the walk.

We crossed the border into Peru and headed for Puno to see Lake Titicaca from the Peruvian side. We spent one night in Puno before heading out on a group tour to Uros Floating Islands, Amantani and Taquile islands. Our first stop on our tour was the Uros Floating islands, these are manmade islands made from totara reeds. When you walk on the islands it kind of feels like you are walking on a waterbed as it moves under your weight. The islands last about ten years before the local people need to make a new one starting with the roots of the totara reeds as the base and the reeds themselves as a covering. They also use the reeds to make their houses as well as boats and other items. They even eat part of the reeds which we also tried, it's not something I would be in a rush to eat again. While interesting, you can't help but feel that they are only really for tourists, especially given they have solar power and TV's for the world cup.

Our next stop was Amantani island where we were met by our host families. We were shown the way to our houses for the night. The climb wasn't too steep but as we were at altitude there were people in the group that were really struggling with the walk. At various times Gary was carrying bags and suitcases for different people.

When we arrived we were provided lunch by the host family, all food on the island was very basic no spices, sauces or meat but lots of potatoes and rice. The father of the family had built the house over the years by hand, carrying all the building materials to the site without the use of animals. The family we stayed with only has tourists to stay about once every two months as it is done on a rotation basis around the whole island.

We walked up Pachatata, to the highest point on the island. We had great views and watched the sunset. This particular point was (and remains) sacred to the pre-Inca people that lived here. A stone temple is in place, Gary maintains it was for human sacrifice.

After dinner with our host family we were given the local dress to wear for a fiesta they had organised for our group. There was a little band, which included the two sons from our host family, playing local music for everyone to dance.

After breakfast we left Amantani island and travelled the short distance to Taquile island. We walked up to the Plaza de Armas from the port, parts of the walk were steep but we had fantastic views so it was completely worth it.

Before lunch we had an explanation of local traditional clothing, the males clothing is dictated by their relationship status. We also had a demonstration of the plant they use for shampoo, it is ground down using a rock and creates a bubbly shampoo which is also great for preventing grey hair - we were surprised they hadn't bottled it to sell to the tourists. After our lunch of fresh lake trout we headed around the island back down to the port for our trip back to Puno.

We had one night in Puno before heading to Arequipa.

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