Titikaka Lake our third destination in Peru. It is the largest lake in South America. It is located in southern Peru, bordering Bolivia. Puno is the capital of the Peruvian side of the lake.
26th of May, we reached Puno city coming from Arequipa by plane, it’s only half an hour flight when it is 6 hours more or less on a bus. Half an hour flight to Julaica Airport then 45 min drive to Puno. It is end of May which means winter has just begun. Puno is very cold at night, almost zero and sometimes below. It was warm when we arrived but as soon as the sun goes down it becomes really cold, Myself I wore 4 layers. First impression did not match my expectations, it is a very pour city and kind of neglected although it is a well known destination locally and internationally. It definitely has a potential but it needs a lot of care.
We stayed in Puno which is the biggest city on Titikaka Lake in the Peruvian side 4 nights. We reached the hotel around 5pm
, we didn’t do much because it was already dark but there were a ceremony in their plaza and cathedral where there were a lot of locals dressed up taking photos, their traditional dress is amazing specially women. The most important thing is to check some tours as soon as possible, and we found out that there is only 1 classic tour.
Second day in Puno, wonder around the small old town, we were really lucky because there was a very big local ceremony, some army members participated beside teachers, government employees and amazing kids from age of 3 years to 14 maybe. It is really a small place and nothing much happening. We wanted to go to a view point but we read that it is really dangerous so we skipped it or maybe we will do it later with a taxi, we had an amazing local lunch in the #1 restaurant based on trip advisor then we had a walk down to the port side passing by some flea markets which happen to be one of the biggest in the area, we had a Coca tea break in one of the coffee shops by the port and a ride in a peddle boat just before sunset. We have tried bike, taxi and reksha taxi, I prefer the bike. They have amazing different kinds of fresh fruit, we tried almost all kinds as we were walking. By dark, we enjoyed a short walk in Puno’s streets which were busy with tourists. We were checking shops looking for t-shirts, some magnets, pins and to book our tour to Titikaka lake with an over night stay with a local host family. That must be interesting. By the time we were done with our dinner we were very tired and sleepy.
Third day in Puno, tour guide gonna pick us up by 6:40am
, so I woke earlier and gathered my stuff in a small bag then I had my breakfast by the time the tour operator arrived. I only took a lip palm, my tablets, my DSLR camera and 1 small bottle of water. The trip has 3 stops. First stop is to visit the floating islands of Uros. Second stop and where we will spend the night is to visit Amantani Island and watch the sunset. Third stop is to visit Taquili Island. It is less than an hour to Uros Island in a super slow boat. We had a good briefing about the locals and their food, homes, culture, languages and how do they build their floating Islands and how do they maintain it. We spent an hour in Uros before we leave in a 3 hours ride to Amantani Island. We reached Amantani Island at 2 pm
The tour guide has 2 papers, one with the tourist names and the other one with the family names which going to host us. Each family can host up to 4 tourists. Some families took 4, some took 3 and others had only 2. There are around 850 families in Amantani Island, each family will host tourists only once every 2 months. The family take nothing from tourists for a 1 night stay and 3 meals, lunch, dinner & breakfast, but tip. And for sure it is optional to tip. But you can’t not tip, they are very kind and sweet beside the place is clean and food is clean, organic, healthy and portions are enough.
We went with our Enka father to our new one night home and family. The father was very old and so is the mother. We did not see any sons, daughters or grand ones beside we couldn’t communicate with them. I can only get along with basic conversations not more, so we could not know more about their life. As soon as we got their we had lunch which was amazing Quinoa soup, different kind of potato, rice, fried cheese and Your choice of fresh Monia tea or Coca tea. Monia tastes exactly like green tea with mint. Locals use it for cooking, as tea, medicine and even as soap. After that we had a trek to the top of Amantani Island to watch the Sunset. Trekking was a bit tiring but the sunset made it up. We went down earlier because it was getting dark beside we had no torches and the path was very rocky. Went back home and laid down for an hour before the dinner VAMOS call. Dinner was Quinoa soup again, steamed rice, vegetables and the herbal tea. After dinner we suppose to go to the fiesta which is at 8pm until 11pm
but we skipped it which made our old father very happy. I don’t think he wanted to go, because he smiled and kept on talking for a minute with words that we didn’t understand. We slept at 9pm
, it was freezing, I wore 3 layers and covered my self with another 4.
Forth day in puno, walk up at 6, breakfast at 7 and departs to Taquili Island at 8. We said goodbye to our mom and dad, we took some pictures with them and left with our father to the port. It took an hour to Taquili Island but our guide kept on talking most of the time and his information was really interesting, one of a sudden he said” you have five minute to walk around the boat before we reach the island”, we were lucky with the guide. Yesterday we had 2 very different experiences, the Uros island community and the Amantani Island community. Taquili Island was just another interesting experience. They are all the same, they live very close to each other but yet slightly different clothes and culture, in Uros they even speak another language which is Aymara. Only 2.5 million speaks Aymara in South America.
We reached Taquili at 9am
. We had a walk for an hour from the small port to the plaza, then we wondered around for another hour. We had our lunch at 11:20
, it was again Quinoa soup and trout fish. 11:40
we were on the boat getting ready for the 3 hours back trip. We had reached Puno at 3:45pm
we headed directly to the shower not to the hotel! No! To the shower! We planned a group dinner with some of the tour group. We headed to Mojsa restaurant which is the #1 in Puno. We already ate their me and my friend and it was very nice and this time too was very good food, actually the whole group loved the food. We really had good time, thank you Guys. That was it for Puno. Went back and packed our bags, getting ready for our 8am
train to the most interesting destination in our trip. We saved it for last. I think you know it by now.