Having flown to Cusco from Lima, I knew that I had missed out a bit of the traditional travellers trail in southern Peru. One place I really wanted to visit over a weekend was Lake Titicaca. Luckily, Dos Manos were able to sort this out around my Spanish classes in Cusco, which was fantastic.
This trip involves 2 overnight buses, which although put me off slightly, was actually extremely comfortable, thanks to the cama seats that were booked for me. I set off at 10pm on a Friday evening, having eaten and got a few snacks for the journey. Rather sleepy, I arrived around 5am in Puno, from where all the trips to Lake Titicaca operate. I was met, and given a choice between breakfasting in the bus terminal or heading to a nearby office to rest some more.
The tour itself was great. We headed first to the floating islands, or Uros. Whilst rather touristy, they are undeniably engaging and interesting, and we received great explanations from our guide as to how people continue to live there, and why in the past these islands were constructed.
Amantani Island is where we spent the night with our host family, having been given food, a free afternoon to explore, the highpoint on the island and an evening of local music, dress and a dance with my new family! This was a great experience, especially dressing up in the traditional clothes of an Aymaran man.
Taquile Island gave, for me personally, the best experience. We arrived late morning and walked to the centre of the island, passing local communities similar to the one we had spent the previous night. This was again a short walk uphill, having come from ‘lake level’, and gave further spectacular views. The set menu lunch was incredible too; the freshest trout I’ve ever had – straight from the lake! We also received a talk on some of the traditions on the islands, which was done, as was the rest of our tour, in an engaging and pleasant way by our guide.
A transfer back to Puno town centre was where my tour ended, since my bus wasn’t until the evening, but overall this was a fantastic trip, packed with activity that is well served from Cusco.
|Note: in the month of February there is a very interesting Festival in Puno, La Virgin de la Candelaria. For more info visit www.dosmanosperu.com and write email@example.com. We organize a special 2 and 3 day excursions to this Festival in Puno in 2013.
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