peru-040-001Breakfast view from the hotel A 7:45 start today. Short walk to the boat from the hotel. Private fast boat just for our VJG group. A fairly short ride to the first stop in the floating islands of the Uros. This is a group of 87 separate islands built in and around 27,000 hectares of reed beds. Each island has 3-10 families living on them and there approximately 800 inhabitants. The rest of the Uros people (2,500) live on the mainland. The Uros speak Aymara which our guide seemed pretty at.
This was an incredible experience; stepping off the boat onto the reed platform was really weird - very soft and squidgy. We were then introduced to some of the people who lived on that island. The president (each island has one) and her husband and 3 other women. They explained how the islands are built and how they live there. Then we were asked how deep we thought the lake was at that point. They then measured it at 15 metres. We then split into small groups and were shown the huts where they lived and got a chance to dress up in their costume. We finished with a ride in a traditional boat to a neighbouring island where our tour boat was parked.
peru-040-016Floatings Island of the Uros peru-040-050Flamingo in the floating islands peru-040-058Kiron in traditional Uru costume with Jaqueline We got back on the boat for an hour or so ride to Taquile island (a real island this time). During this part the guide had us perform an Inca ritual with 3 coca leaves.
Info: Lake Titikaka is 118 miles at its longest and 50 miles at its widest, 95% of Lake Titikaka water evaporates, 3% goes via the outlet river and 2% extracted for agricultural use. It's huge like an ocean. 53% of it is in Peru and the rest in Bolivia.
Taquile island home to people known as Taquileños, who speak Quechua (Inca language) – again our seemed pretty fluent in that as well. It is pre-Incan in its origins which date from 800BC. It is covered in agricultural terraces originating in these early times and currently has 2,500 inhabitants.
We landed at Taquile island and climbed half way up to a family house for lunch. It had a table for 8 laid out with a traditional cloth awning over shielding us from the sun. We were served with fresh made bread, a bowl of quinoa soup for starter and a trout and vegetable main course - both were delicious.
peru-040-122Lunchtime view from Taquile After eating, the guide showed and described the various head gear types worn by the people of the island. We then trekked up to the main square (at 3,950 meteres) where there were good views all round. We then trekked across to the other side of the island to catch the boat to return us to Puno.