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Puno - A travel report by Devin
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Puno,  Peru - flag Peru -  Puno
3101 readers

devinhunt's travel reports

peruvian lake titicaca

  8 votes

i arrived into puno after a bumpy drive from la paz in bolivia. it was cold and wet when i arrived there so i was glad when a little kid grabbed me by the hand and led me to a hostel. i dumped my bag and stepped outside - it was raining and before too long i was being pelted by hail stones. the streets turned into rivers of murky water and the city was blanketted by a layer of thick fog. i was wet and cold but loved puno from the word go. the barren mountains, the cobble-stoned streets, the beautiful lake titicaca, the shy campesino people wearing tradition costume, the tricycle taxis and the sound of volkswagen beetles filling my ears. these are my fondest memories of a wonderful city called puno.

Favourite spots:
on my second day in puno i rose early and headed down to the docks. a number of other people had gathered there in order to catch boats to las islas flotantes and la isla de taquile, which are the two main places of interest around the sleepy lakeside town. i jumped in a boat and before too long found myself on las islas flotantes. las islas flotantes, otherwise known as the floating islands, are a series of 'islands' made of reeds. the campesinos who live there make nearly everything out of reeds, including their houses and boats. it was quite touristy but worth a visit all the same. my favourite place however was las isla de taquile. if you're in peru and want to visit somewhere really beautiful and very unique, la isla de taquile is the place you want to be!

What's really great:
when the boat pulled up at la isla de taquile, a group of local men wearing brightly coloured 'chulos' (traditional hats) greeted us with handfuls of scented herbs. we sniffed these herbs as we climbed the steep, terraced hill to the top of the island as this helped to combat the altitude. the village at the top of the rocky mountain was really pretty and the view over the deep, blue lake was spectacular. if the altidude hadn't taken my breath away, the view certainly did! the men do most of the household chores on taquile - including knitting and caring for the children. the women seem to spend their days sitting on top of rocky outcrops, staring out over the lake and relaxing in the sun. local males can have several girlfriends at once however they can only marry one of these. their marital status is indicated by the colour at the pointy end of the chulo.

Accommodations:
visitors can stay with a local family on la isla de taquile however my time restrictions didn't allow me to do this. the houses are simple but the people are wonderful and will welcome you into their homes with open arms. one of the old local men was very impressed that a 'gringo' could speak a few words in quechua so he invited me to stay with him for as long as i liked. i really regret not taking him up on his offer!

Other recommendations:
electricity had only just been introduced to la isla de taquile when i was there, in the form of solar panels. the 'mayor' of the time announced to all of the locals that they were only allowed to use the electricity if he was on the island - and drunk! i don't know if this is still the case however the 'mayor' was apparently locked in a room and given copius amounts of alcohol so that the locals could use the electricity whenever they pleased! la isla de taquile is a completely different world - mind-blowing in every sense of the word and certainly worth checking out.

Published on Wednesday December 4th, 2002


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Mon, Jan 24 2005 - 05:40 PM rating by mistybleu

You made me remember aspects of my trip hat I had long forgotten.
Nice report.
Misty

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