Our experience of Lake Titicaca
As we arrived into Puno a day later than scheduled, we realised if we wanted to stay overnight on a tour of Lake Titicaca, we needed to find a tour company ASAP who could take us the next day!
Why we wanted to visit Lake Titicaca..
Lake Titicaca is one of the destinations we’d been looking forward to since before we’d even left the UK for 2 main reasons; to visit the world’s highest navigable lake and because we love discovering different culture. We were excited to meet the families who had set up floating homes right on top of the lake, known as the Uros Floating Islands.
In order to truly feel the culture and experience life on the lake we chose to go one step further and visit some of the lesser known islands of Lake Titicaca, which required an overnight stay. Not only did we find a company to take us but we found an amazing one named Titicaca4you, who really gave us the full experience above and beyond our expectations!
Our Tour of Lake Titicaca
So firstly, we were dropped off at the port and we hopped onto the boats that were about to immerse us into a whole new culture. Our first stop was the Uros Floating Islands.
The Uros floating islands
These are islands that have been man-made with reeds, along with everything else on the island, from their houses to baby mobiles. Sitting down on a reed chair, a family explained to us how they make everything and gave us more insight into the lives where it is very possible to wake up in a completely different location!
After seeing one of the houses where a family of 3 shared one bed in a house, which mainly consisted of just that bed alone (almost better than a hostel room)! This was followed by a look at some of their beautiful handicrafts, which were available to purchase.
It really stood out that their lives were so simple but that they were also so happy. There was no sense of feeling sorry for the Uros people because they had small houses or didn’t have the latest TV but it was just fascinating to see how different a life could be to your own. The whole thing does feel quite touristy but I think that’s pretty unavoidable since, of course, everyone wants to visit just as you and I do.
It is still very much worth a visit but it is also another reason why it’s great to stay an extra night to get a slightly less touristic feel to the visit. We hopped onto a new boat made out of, you guessed it, reeds. This was the Porsche of the Uros world we were cruising along in now… what can we say, we like to be flashy sometimes! Speaking of being flashy, we had two options for our nights stay on the next destination; Amantani Island...
Our stay on Amantani Island
We could either share a room with others on the tour, with no shower or electricity or opt for a private room with both a shower and electricity. In a moment of forgetfulness that we were backpackers on a budget, we went for the latter - but hey, sometimes you gotta treat yo’self.
This was a decision we did not regret as we witnessed the amazing view of Lake Titicaca that we had from our room and the veranda, equipped with deck chairs and blankets ready for our sunset viewing. Of course, if you want to save opt for the other option instead – we heard no complaints.
We stayed in the homestay of a lovely couple, who cooked us their local dishes, showed us how to make their clothes and taught us their traditional dance. During the evening, we got to actually try on their traditional clothing and danced around a fire together. A fun and personal souvenir from our travels is our polaroids! We took one with our hosts before we left, who were so bewildered by the instant photo that we let them keep it as memento instead!
The next morning we woke up to a rainbow formed over the lake, bliss! After some pancakes for breakfast (also bliss), we headed off to the next island; Taquile Island – which is the Island we found most interesting.
Stepping foot onto Taquile Island felt like stepping back in time. This is an island that has very much stuck to its roots by using natural herbs and plants to make laundry detergent and medicines etc. It was very interesting to learn that the island used a natural form of contraception and it genuinely stopped pregnancies! We were also shown a demonstration of their detergent and can confirm it’s as good as ours!
One of the facts that makes Taquile stand out to other traditional areas of the world is that they are well known for their excellent skills of producing some of the finest textiles in Peru and very uniquely, only the men on the island do the knitting. There’s a market area on the island where you can witness and purchase some on the fine works of these men.
Another interesting fact of this island is that you can tell if the men are single or taken simply by checking out which side their hat flops on. Their hats are kinda like our wedding rings! There are many more fascinating nooks of the people from Taquile, which should all be experienced in person.
How to book your Lake Titicaca experience
Sadly, our time on Taquile Island was the end of our tour around Lake Titicaca. We got back on the boat and were off back to the mainland. This is an experience we shall never forget and it didn’t let us down in any way. We highly recommend going for the 2 day tour rather just a day tour but if you reaaaally don’t have the time then a day tour is also a must. The company who saved us and provided us with this incredible couple of days is Titicaca For You, who we can’t recommend enough!
Enjoy the culture and if you end up with our lovely hosts from Amantani Island, let us know if you spot our Polaroid!