We took a boat to the Uros Islands first. There are indigenous Peruvian people who live on the Uros islands.
There are about 50 islands made of Totori Reeds. The islands were kind of soft and spongy to stand on.
Our guide told us about the people's way of life. Interestingly Lake Titicaca has very few fish left in it so people have to find other types of food to eat.
We took a ride in a local person's boat made also out of Totori. We were offered arts and crafts by the locals who were hoping to sell them. I bought a hand drawn picture of Uros by one little girl.
When going to Puno and Lago Titicaca, a visit to the floating islands of the Uros is really a must. People there are really friendly and show you how they build the islands and their own houses.
Very interesting to see how they maintain their traditions and their ancient way of living.
We went from Puno to Cuzco by bus and it costed us 35 soles (10€). Maybe yoy can find cheaper buses but it was more spacefull and confortable.
Ask prices and timetables in the bus station.
We traveled from Arequipa to Puno in one of this buses to and the price was similar, maybe something cheaper but not too much.
Taquilians are very especial people, not as talkative as their neightbours the Amantanians, but allways polite.
They express many things with their clothing, for example:
If a man wears a red and white hat, it means that he is single, wich also means that he is pure and virgin, by the other hand, if most of the hat is red, it means that this man is married.
If a woman wears a skirt with lively colours and her headdress has big pompons it means that is single, married women wear dark skirts with smaller pompons in her headdresses beause they have less time to decorate them.
When they get married, the wife makes a belt to his husband with her own hair. This reminds his family, and motibates the husband to work harder.
When two Taquilians know each other or just meet in the island, they don´t shake hands, they interchange coca leaves.
That night all the expedition was invited to a village party, so we knew the Amantanian version of discotheque. Beer, rum and soft drinks were sold there and there was live music too!! The band consisted of a guitar player, a charango player and a drum/flute player. It wasn't jamaican dancehall or reggaeton but I suppose that is a good way to aproach the other sex in Amantani.
Each family dresses his guests in the local way.
After some beers we were like crazy and we didn´t want to return home so soon, so Angelina and Angelino left us alone in the party. Suddenly we and the musicians were the only people in the party and we thought that maybe was time to go home. There is no electricity in Amantani and we got lost in the darkness. A pair of local women appeared and brought us to Angelino's house, after paying a good tip, of course!!!
The tour we booked included a little tour in Amantani. All the group met in the 'main square' a.k.a 'only square' where the guide explained some of the local customs and the way of life of the Amantanians.
After that we walked for a pair of hours and we saw Pachatata´s temple and the mountains around that are full of terraces where the locals plant their vegetables, especially potatoes and similar plants like oca.
During the walk you´ll meet dozens of children playing songs with their flutes and drums or girls selling handcrafted items made of alpaca wool.
Uro floating islands are about 1 hour by boat from Puno port. This islands are made of 'totora' plant, which is a kind of junk that grows in the lake. The Uros started living in their 'totora' boats some generations ago because two of the strongest ethnical groups of the area started fighting each other and they didn't want to take part on it, so they decided to isolate themselves in the lake.
With the time their 'totora' boats became too small to live for a long time so they started building floating islands made of this plentyfull material. Almost everything is made of 'totora' in Uro islands; houses, boats... everything!!
Nowadays they live selling handcraft items to the tourist or fishing. They change this fishes for other items like potatoes, milk or vegetables in the port. But not all the Uros like the tourists, and a 30% of them live in deeper areas of the lake and they don't have relationship with tourists.
The best way to visit the floating islands is with a tour around the lake, but you also can go directly to the port and neotiate it directly.
Taquile Island is another small island several hours from the Puno harbor. A paved hiking trail leads from one of the island’s ports to the interior of the island, traversing across green man-made terraces and harboring beautiful views of the deep blue lake. The locals can be seen herding their sheep and llamas across some of the fields, and pigs, sheep, and other livestock graze in locals’ backyards. We visited with one of the locals, an accomplished weaver, and his equally skilled wife and daughter. They demonstrated the art of weaving on two hand-made wooden looms and spoke about the purpose of each of the knit garments. Broad red, green, and yellow belts, woven bags, and colorful hats were worn by the men, indicating the wearer’s marital status. The goods were available for sale after the demonstration, and the family answered questions about their work.
Hosts take tourists around the floating islands on sizable boats made of the same reed as the islands. The “head” of each boat is in the shape of a puma head, paying tribute to an animal much adored by the Incas for its tenacity. The body of the boat holds up to 16 people quite well, and up to two men paddle the boat via long poles. The boats were originally made completely of reed, but the advent of the magical plastic 2 liter soda bottle quickly attracted the attention of the locals because of its buoyant properties, and the interiors of the boats now incorporate these plastic bottles, as our local guide cheerily demonstrated. I spotted one mega-reed boat on my trip, made of several traditional reed boats tethered together and supporting a second story on which tourists sat.
The Uros floating reed islands consist of a series of 30 or so islands made of -- you guessed it – reed. The long, grass-like, hollow reeds grow naturally throughout the lake and are harvested by the island dwellers to form each island. The hollow reeds of the island create a natural buoyancy which allows the entire island – about the square footage of several large houses – to naturally float atop the lake. Several rope anchors tether the island to the lake floor, and the locals are proud to showcase the depth of the lake via a rope dropped through a hole in the island to the bottom of the lakebed – about twenty feet or so below the surface.
The reeds must be constantly replenished since the bottom of each island undergoes continuous decay. Reeds are also used to build the small huts which comprise the residents’ homes. Up to 10 or so residents live on each island, cooking on small coal stoves and living in the reed huts, occasionally visiting the mainland for supplies. Walking on the island is like walking on a large, yet sturdy sponge. One island we visited had its own fish pond, and a wooden platform allowed visitors to climb up a ladder to a lookout tower to spy on the activity below.
Most residents speak a local dialect, and the economy revolves around tourism. All matter of reed souvenirs are available for purchase, including small replicas of the reed boats which they use to transport tourists and themselves from island to island. The locals are friendly and accustomed to marketing their wares to tourists. One happy couple invited me into their hut to visit their living and bedroom, clothed me in local ceremonial dress, and sold me one of their miniature reed boats.
Desde la época de Carlos V y hasta mediados del siglo XX , la isla perteneció a una familia catalana llamada "González de Taquila" que aparte de darle el nombre a la isla impuso la costumbre de que los hombres usaran un gorro similar a la barretina que cuando son solteros tiene dos colores y una vez casados sólo tiene un color
From the Carlos V days and up to the midle fo the XX century , the island belonged to a Catalan family named "González Taquile" that besides giving the name to the island established the habit of using a hat similar to the "barretina" that when they are bachelors has two colours and once married only one colour
El arte textil de la isla Taquile es una de las expresiones culturales más importantes del Altiplano peruano y ha sido reconocida por la Unesco como obra maestra del patrimonio oral e inmaterial de la humanidad
Los hombres igual que las mujeres son buenos tejedores y se les puede ver a ambos tejiendo por el pueblo incluso cuando pasean
The textile art of Taquile island is one of the cultural more important expression of the Peruvian Altiplano and it has been considered by the Unesco as a master piece of the oral and cultural heritage of the world
The men as the women are good knitters and you may see both knitting in the village including when they are walking
Esta isla de Quechuas en territorio Aymara está a setenta Kms de Puno . El viaje se hace en barco y una vez que llegas a la isla empiezas a ascender una empinada cuesta , que parece más empinada todavía si piensas en el soroche , pero con unas cuantas paradas para respirar y mirar el paisaje llegas a la plaza del pueblo que está en la cima
Es un pueblo en que siguen manteniendo sus costumbres , sus trajes y sus tradiciones .
This isle of Quechuas in Aymara land is at 70 Kms from Puno . The travel is done by boat and once you reach the island you start to climb a very steep hill , that seems steeper if you think in the soroche , but with a few stops to recover the breath and looking the landscape you reach the village plaza that is in the top of the hill
It is a village where they maintain their habits , their clothes and their traditions.
Los Uros se mueven remando por el lago con sus barcos de totora y los barcos de ceremonia en los que tejen caras de animales para ahuyentar a los espíritus , los utilizan para pasear a los turistas
The Uros move rowing in the take with their totora boats and the ceremony boats where they weave animal heads to prevent the spirits are used to take the tourists
Hay aproximadamente 20 islas flotantes en la bahía de Puno , hechas de totora y en las que habitan entre tres y diez familias .
Los Uros que le dan nombre son una etnia que se estableció en este tipo de islas para para protegerse del Inca
Tienen escuelas para los niños y viven del turismo y de la pesca
There are about 20 floating Islands in the Puno bay , made with totora and where are living between three and ten families
The Uros that gave the name to this islands are an ethnic group that was established on this type of islands to protect of the Inca
They have schools for the children and they live of fishing and tourism