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Puno and Lake Titicaca - Uros Reed Islands

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It's been a month since I traveled to Lake Titicaca and I'm only now posing some photos for you. Whoops.

I had wanted to stay in Arequipa for a few days longer, but when I found out that my lovely hotel was all booked up, I took it as a sign that it was time to move on. So I booked a bus to Puno and set up an overnight stay on the island of Taquile, on Lake Titicaca.

As you already heard, my bus ride out of Arequipa was a bit adventurous due to a local strike that shut down all the roads out of town. But I did finally make it to Puno, where I stayed overnight before taking a boat early the next morning to visit the reed islands of Uros and the island of Taquile. Puno wasn't a very interesting town, and I killed the evening reading at a cafe then grabbing a delicious alpaca steak at a local restaurant.

Lake Titicaca and Taquile, on the other hand, were very beautiful. Because of the very high altitude (3,827 meters, or 12,628 feet) and negligible pollution, the colors were extraordinarily vibrant and clear.

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After a 30 minute boat ride, we stopped at the reed islands of Uros. They were interesting...the reed "ground" was soft and mushy and had a strange and faint smell of rot. While the experience was very touristy, the people who lived there were truly happy and friendly, as you'll see from the photos below.

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As we drifted off in our boat, the villagers treated us to two songs:

A traditional song:

Followed by their rendition of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" !

Posted by jtlande 19:48 Archived in Peru Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Puno and Lake Titicaca - Taquile Island

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After a short stop at the reed islands of Uros, we got back on our little boat and traveled for another 3 hours to get to the small island of Taquile, which is 45km off shore. About 1,700 people live on the small island. The highest point of the island is 4050 meters above sea level and the main village is at 3950 m. The inhabitants, known as Taquileños, are southern Quechua speakers...which meant I had to get by with hand signals and smiles since I don't really speak any Quechuan.

Taquileños run their society based on community collectivism and on the Inca moral code "ama sua, ama llulla, ama qhilla" -- "do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy". The island is divided into six sectors for crop rotation purposes. The economy is based on fishing, terraced farming horticulture based on potato cultivation, and income from the approximately 40,000 tourists who visit each year. Interestingly, you can tell whether a male is single or married, and whether or not he is one of the 26 political officials on the island, by the colors of their woven hats...and pretty much every male, even the schoolkids, wear these hats.

Taquileños are known for their fine handwoven textiles and clothing, which are regarded as among the highest-quality handicrafts in Peru. Everyone on the island - children, women, and men - spin and weave.

So back to my experience here...

After hiking to the main square and having lunch (where I met Jacob and Karen from Denmark, who I would later run into again in Lima), I was introduced to Juana, whose family I stayed with for the rest of my time on Taquile. The island was quite lovely, and I spent the rest of the day and the next morning with Juana's family on the far side of the island. There wasn't much for me to do, so I relaxed and read, watched Juana and her sisters weave, played a little volleyball with the family, and stopped by the small beach at the end of the island the next morning.

Here are a bunch of photos of Taquile for you to enjoy:

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Here's a video of the lake to show just how huge the lake is...

Posted by jtlande 16:03 Archived in Peru Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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