You will be allocated a family on arrival so it's pot luck.
One big difference though:
if you book via an agency, you will be taken to a 'traditional dance' evening in the village hall;
if you book a trip independently at the harbour you will not get this. You may be taken on a hike to the top of the island to see the sunset, or not. It really depends on the family.
Our family were not particularly friendly, we hardly saw them!
Food will be very basic. Toilets facilities are also super basic or non-existent. Your room will not have electricity (although stangely ours was wired and had a lamp on the ceiling, they prob. do not use the generator very often) so it's candles only, unless you have a torch, which will be VERY useful.
Not so cheap for what it was.
A chance to stay with the locals of Amantani is wonderful. It is basic but comfortable. The best part is you will be pretty much adopted by the family for the night. Rooms take 2 to 3 and there are beds with blankets so you do not need a sleeping bag. Your family will provide you with meals for dinner and breakfast and also show you the local sites as well as dress you up for the night time "Inca Disco". It is really a good way of giving back to the community. Take some groceries as a gift for your family and sit down with them and test your knowledge of "quecha" the local dialect. Learn a little about the way the people here live and appreciate just how lucky you are. It really is a whole other world.
Getting to stay with a local family and be adopted by your "Mama" and "Papa" is heartwarming and such a unique experience. They are so friendly and it really is a fabulous way to interact with another culture and way of life.
The hospitable residents of Amantani Island take turns hosting tourists in their homes. We stayed in the guest room of our host, Ana, a student who welcomed us into her home, shared with her two parents and younger brother. Their house consisted of two adobe structures, one which housed the kitchen and bedroom and the other which housed Ana’s room, the guest room, and a small “convenience store” from which they sold drinks and other items. New adobe bricks of mud and straw sat drying in their side yard, ready to be used for new construction. The bathroom was a tin outhouse constructed by the family and consisted of a small toilet basin which was hand-flushed with a ladle and a bucket of water. The stairway to the second floor guest room was ingeniously constructed of wooden planks and a handrail made of tree branches tied together. The structure was accustomed to tiny people and my weight made the stairs creak and and shift, inspiring fears of plunging to the floor below.
Meals were cooked by Ana’s mother on a small coal stove in the corner of the kitchen and served to the family in the same room. A large plastic bucket of water served as the kitchen sink, and tree branches covered the adobe floor, making me appreciate the small kitchens in my apartments in Los Angeles. We discussed Ana’s schooling, living in Los Angeles, the cost of a flight from Los Angeles to Lima, and presidential politics during a conversation with her family in my broken Spanish (which was so bad that it incited giggles from Ana) over a traditional dinner consisting of delicious quinoa soup -- a local soup made from small lentils -- a potato, cheese, and lettuce dish, and tea. Breakfast was changed to adapt to Western tastes and consisted of tasty crepes and strawberry jam.
One of the more interesting things that you can do to really experience Peru is to do a homestay with local families. The easiest place to do this is on the islands of Amantani and Taquile on Lake Titicaca.
Through a government program, indigenous families on the islands take in tourists for an overnight stay. The residents of both islands speak Quechua, though some residents speak a smattering of Spanish.
Your accomodations are by no means lavish, essentially being a spare room in the family's home - but it is a different change of pace from 5-star accomodation
When we arrived in Amantani, we were assigned a family whom would put us up for the night. They gave us a small room (candle light only, no electricity) wich was very cozy.
Apparently we got lucky as our family was very friendly, some of the other gringos said their families were jerks.
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