A Day Trip on Lake Titicaca
The next morning we were met by a representative from All Ways Travel for our Lake Titicaca tour. I don’t think All Ways Travel actually does the tour. I believe they outsource the tour to other operators because I think the other tourists on our boat were from many different tour companies. In all honesty, I was not looking forward to this leg of our trip. After reading so many blogs and reviews on the internet, I had the impression that it would be so touristy, contrived, and crowded. I was right, but I loved it anyway.
We first went to the Uros Islands where people live on a floating mass made of reeds. This lifestyle made sense centuries ago when the Lake Titicaca region was wrought with brutal tribal warfare. These floating islands were easier to defend. Nowadays, I really don’t think there would be too many people choosing this lifestyle unless there was an influx of tourist dollars. Nevertheless, the islands were impressive and the people very friendly. Many of the women were embroidering small tapestries. Many were for sale but we suspected that they were machine-made as they were all fairly identical. We still bought one because the prices were not too bad and they looked nice.
Everybody then piled onto a double-decker boat also made from reeds. We were rowed to another island which had a restaurant, a small fish hatchery, and a “hotel”—a hut with a bed. Curiously, I never did see a single bathroom or sink. Makes you wonder…
We spent the next 3 hours en route to Taquile Island. From the roof of the boat, there were great views of the lake and distant mountains in Bolivia. Titicaca is so immense it really seems like you are on the ocean.
When we arrived at Taquile, we had a lengthy walk uphill in the thin air. As we struggled to get to the top, we were easily lapped by the locals—small toddlers and elderly locals alike. The view from the town square was reminiscent of a picturesque landscape of the Greek Isles.
We ate lunch at a small restaurant (trout of course), took dozens of pictures of the locals and their distinctive garb, and bought more trinkets at the gift shop. Unlike the rest of the country, these islanders will not haggle, even over mass-produced items.
The village itself was an enigma. An isolated island with outhouses juxtaposed next to solar panels and satellite dishes. We had opted not to do a homestay on one of the islands, so we headed back to Puno.
Once again, we got back to the hotel late and ate at Alma. I had the causa with trout tartare followed by saqta de gallina (hen stew). Sherri did well with the vegetable napoleon and the beef tenderloin with a molle pepper sauce.