Island hopping on Lake Titicaca

Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bye bye Bolivia, hello Peru!
We had a bit of a mad week in La Paz, so we head to Lake Titicaca to relax on the islands. Lake Titicaca is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, sitting over 3,800 m (12,500 ft) above sea level. It lies on the Bolivian/Peruvian border.  We decided to go to Puno on the Peruvian as this is where you catch the boat for the various islands.

We stayed in Puno for a night and woke up early the next day to catch the boat to the islands. The first islands were half an hour away, the "Uros islands", also known as the "floating islands", given the name because they actually float! The islands are made out of reeds, originally built for defensive reasons so that they could move around when under attack from the Inca empire. They were really interesting.  You could feel the island float up and down as you stepped onto it! At one point I walked too close to the edge and fell though some of the reeds and got soaked from the knees downwards! After having a wander round we then got back on the boat, on a three hour journey to the "Amantani" island.  This gave my shoes and socks time to dry!  When we got a bit further out into the lake I could see how big it was, at some points you couldnīt see any land on the horizon, it was like being out at sea!

When we arrived at Amantani we were greeted by local families of the island. We were introduced to a man called Mario, our host for the night. He took us to his house where his wife, Silvia, was cooking us a nice big lunch. The island was peaceful with hardly any tourists around. It was amazing, seeing what a nice and simple life these people live. They had everything they need, all types of food growing in the garden, various farm animals, small shops and a school nearby.  Some of the islanders have never even been to the mainland! In the evening we took a stroll to the Quechua temple of "Pachamama" which translates as "mother earth". A lot of the inhabitants donīt believe in Christianity.  They believe in Mother Earth and the gifts of the land.  It makes more sense to me!  Later on that night Silvia cooked us the best meal weīve had so far, then we went to bed. The next morning we had to wake up early to catch the boat to the nearby island "Taquile". Mario and Silvia had made us all a leaving present, a necklace made out of flowers (see photos). Taquile was a bit like Amantani, except it was more developed, with more communities and schools. We only had time for a small walk around and a nice lunch as we had to catch the last boat back to Puno.

Next, the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu!
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