Uros and Taquile - Tourist Traps

Trip Start May 12, 2013
Trip End Jul 30, 2013

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, July 4, 2013

The tour bus picked us up from the hotel at 7, and soon we were on the tour boat to visit to islands on Lake Titicaca. The boat moved really slowly, and took us 30 minutes to reach the floating Uros islands. These islands are definitely interesting - made of peet(straw which grows in the lake). So were the houses, boats and furniture on the islands. The 'president' of the island explained how the islands were built from straw, and there were local families selling souvenirs after. The prices I heard were real expensive though: 25soles for a small straw boat, 190soles for embroidery, and 10 soles for a short boat ride on the straw boats. Not willing to fall for the tourist trap, we took our own motor boat to the second island instead of the straw boat, where there was a restaurant and more tourist peddlers.

Next, the boat took 2.5 hours to get to the island in the main area of lake Titicaca. This is Taquile island. We walked upslope for around 20 minutes to reach the central square, and immediately realized what a scam this place was. Granted the lake was pretty and landscape was good, the island provided no justification of our visit. What made things worse were the prices of goods here: a chocolate bar (kitkat) was 5 soles, a meal at a rundown place was 20 soles, and simple embroidery hats were 25. Thankfully we packed our own lunch and had a picnic at the square.

After waiting for the main group to finish their meal, we walked to the north side of the island to board our boat back. The ride was stuffy as hell and took freaking 3 hours. I forgot to mention the tour guide was probably the worst I've ever seen - his English sounds terrible with an accent and absolutely no care for the tour members at all.

Overall, I guess the Uros islands warranted a visit but the Taquile island is an absolute scam; long boat ride, no major attraction, and insane tourist scamming prices.

Back to Puno, went to have the local roasted chicken, which tasted awesome and relatively cheap: just $5 for 1/4 chicken. Had my final bowl of Mazamorra after and went back to the hotel.

Puno, Peru
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