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Published: July 27th 2018
The Floating Islands Farewell Peru: The Final Stop Lake Titicaca (29/06/2018 - 01/07/2018)
There are 120 of them!
Lake Titicaca, apart from having a hilarious name, is the highest navigable lake in the World. At an elevation of 3,812m, it crosses into both Peru and Bolivia. Believed to be the birthplace of the Incas, the lake is a very sacred and beautiful place.
Interesingly, in Aymaran (the old local language here) the word “titi” translates as “puma”, and “caca” means “gray”. In Aymaran, Titicaca is actually pronounced as "titi-haha".. though I'm not sure if that makes it any less entertaining.
Sitting on this pretty lake are 120 impressive floating islands made of reeds, home to the brightly dressed, indigenous Uros people.
The Uros make these islands from dried totora reeds, woven and roped together to make a 1-2 meter thick platform to ensure it floats successfully. You wouldn't want your house sinking! Fun fact: You can actually eat the inside of these reeds.. though I'm not entirely sure how tasty they actually are.
The tour includes a short demonstration of the construction of one of the islands and a chance to buy some brightly coloured craft items. For an extra 10 soles (£2.31) you
can ride in their 'mercedes benz' (a bright yellow reed boat, with a dragon head and fish tail) for 10 minutes over to another floating island.
The mercedes benz riders were sung a lovely song by the Uros people and waved goodbye (see photo). The rest of us were put back in the motorised boat, and taken over to the same island in the 1/4 of the time. Thoughts of Disneyland seemed to spring to mind as I watched the mercedes benz boats glide across the lake. Yes, the floating islands were super interesting, but the whole thing felt a little too touristic and unauthentic for my liking.
Despite this, and a painfully slow boat (2hrs 30mins) to our second stop on a different island, Lake Titicaca did feel pretty special. Taquile island was definitely an improvement. Beautiful views, gorgeous hiking, and no gringos. As we pulled up to the island, our tour guide warned us a Brazilian lady had a heart attack here the other day. So the older and unfit people were gently advised not to hike.
Us youngins had a good, long walk in the sunshine and a delicious home-cooked lunch of fresh trout
Just because they live a simple life doesn't mean they don't use technology
(Titicaca is full of trout, although they are not actually native to the lake) at a local ladies house before heading back on the painfully slow boat back to Puno (not much to say about Puno). Luckily nobody suffered a heart attack. Farewell Peru
It was an unforgettable 6 weeks in Peru. I did everything I wanted to, bar visit the jungle, but with the Amazon spanning 6 countries, I wasn't too disappointed.
Peru is alive with rich history, bright colours (even the llamas wear pom pom jewerly) and incredibly diverse scenery. A country 5x bigger than my beloved U.K., it boasts so much.. andean peaks, desert coasts, jungle. Peru has it all.
Peru will always have a special place in my heart. If you're thinking of travelling here, go go go! Confía en mí (trust me), you won't regret it.
Now it was time for my 4th country.. ¡Vamos, Bolivia!
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