6th July 2018, I travelled to Puno from Cusco’s Wanchaq rail station. The friendly Peru rail staff tag and stow our luggage onboard the Vistadome train. I’m escorted to my seat and tables are laid and breakfast is served, perfect.
Food and an abundance of it seems culturally engrained, which suits me nicely. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea are included in the ticket price. The train has an open top carriage where you take in the sun and the views. Oh and it has a bar where most of the entertainment takes place and Pisco is served.There is an entertainment carriage onboard too, all help you through the 10 hour journey.
Arrive in Puno pretty tired so take it easy and enjoy the hotel. I wake up fresh eyed, to a view the hotel are naturally proud to promote and totally deliver on. Stunning Lake Titicaca. On the Puno agenda is to head to the central port in Puno (approx 15 minutes from the hotel.), Begin the days boat trip to Lake Titicaca, Uros Islands and Taquile Island.
At an Altitude of 3800 meters, Lake Titicaca is vast, deep and borders Bolivia. Uros floating islands are impressively made from Totoo reeds and home to the Uros people. Said originally to have been constructed so the Uros people could escape the Inkas.
See & Do:
Uros Islands, when I reach on the Uros Islands nth etour group and I are greeted by the president of the island. Feeling honoured, we pile out of the boat onto a floating reed. I can’t help but feel concerned that our collective weight might cause us to sink. My inadequate swimming skills and a maximum depth of 280 metre, cause the fleeting irrational thought of meeting my death before finishing my Peru tour. Momentary panic and temporary insanity over, I tune back into the island presidents talk of how the island is constructed, remains sanitary and the cooking facilities. A weaving technique using Totoos (which looks a lot like straw.) is at the centre of this genius construction. It is very much commercialised for tourist, nether the less intriguing and well worth a visit. I for one have seen nothing like it.
Feeling confident the construction technique has been mastered over many years. I decide to join the rest of the group on ‘the Uros taxi’ as described by our tour guide. The taxi is made from tightly woven reeds, with an elaborate carriage like upper deck.
Our host doubles up as semi pro rower and proceeds to row us all around her part of the island. The structure of the boat is impressive but also the fact she is rowing without breaking a sweat with only the limited support of what looked like a 12 year old boy. This women is my hero. The duo take 20 tourist around the island in transport they have constructed. Before we all disembark President collects a small contribution for her efforts. Well earned is my opinion.
We move on to a neighbouring island get our passport stamped and head to Taquille island. Taquille is much further down on the lake approx 1 hour from Uros. When we arrive the first thing that strikes me are the beautiful shades of of blue that could rival the meditterian sea. my second thought is, its quite steep walk up normally not an issue but at altitude not easy. From parts of the island you can see Bolivia. There is an option to be dropped of at one end of the island and make our way up & across the to our Lunch spot. Its a slow uphill walk but with breath taking views along the way are worth it. We stop for lunch and learn how the locals symbolise there martial status. Men by the hats they wear and the women the colour of their dress.
- Hotel Libertador one of the few hotels actually on lake Titicaca. Stunning views of the lake and Uros island
Food & Drink:
- Had all meals at the hotel restaurant
- If you don’t take anything for altitude sickness before you leave your home country. Cocos leaves for really help
- Take some cash with you on the trip. There were no cash points on either island