Lake Titicaca: Staying overnight on Amantani island

Posted by Alan, 12 January 2017.
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Lake Titicaca: Staying overnight on Amantani island

 

Alan takes us onto the waters of Peru's famous Lake Titicaca, and describes his overnight stay with a local family.

Check his photographs on Facebook and Pinterest.

 

He writes:


"Lake Titicaca in Peru is the highest navigable lake in the world. Perched 3.8km (2.4 miles) above sea level on a plateau on the high Andes, it straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru.

Puno, the main Peruvian town on the shore of the lake, is not one of the principal attractions of the region but is the gateway to the lake. You can get there by flying to the nearby town of Juliaca or by bus from Cusco, the Colca Valley or Arequipa

The best way to experience and make the most of your visit to Lake Titicaca is to take a two day, one night tour that includes a homestay on one of the islands. 

When I went, I took one of the shared tours that included an overnight on Amantani Island. 

 

Bearing gifts

It was an early pick up from my hotel and a short drive to the port in Puno. There was time to buy some foodstuffs and school materials as gifts for the homestay family. We were soon setting sail on a narrow covered motorboat and heading for our first stop, the floating Uros Islands. 

The Uros Islands are a series of manmade Totora islands only 5km (3 miles) from Puno. The tour includes a stop at one of these where you walk on a floating reed island and a local explains how they live on top of the surface of the lake. 

This part of the tour can bring out mixed emotions and there are those who say it is too touristy whilst others think that it is tourism that has enabled the Uros islanders to keep their culture and traditions alive. 

Read Tom's blog about sleeping on the floating islands.

 

Sailing to Amantani

Following on from Uros, we continued sailing to Amantani Island. There are fewer than 800 families on the Island whose livings are mainly earned by agriculture as well as some textile and ceramic work.

On arrival to the Island, the village elder assigned us our host family. 

The Islands are run as a cooperative and so each family will provide the same meals to their guests: lunch and dinner on the arrival day and breakfast on the departure day. 

At the house we were shown to our room, which was upstairs and accessed by an external staircase and outdoor corridor. The room was basic with no heating nor constant electricity but there were plenty of blankets. 

The toilet facilities however were downstairs and outside the homestead area . It consisted of an outdoor hut with no running water so flushing was with a bucket full of water. 

We then congregated in a front dining room and Juan, our host, introduced us to his wife Maria, their three small children as well as his elderly parents. We were made to feel very welcome and had a simple but enjoyable lunch.

After lunch we headed off to the local football field where we met up with the rest of the group and hiked up to the highest point on the island “Pachatata” from where there was an incredible view. 

 

Heading to the ball

Dinner was back at the house followed by a party with the locals. We were provided with local costumes - ponchos and woolly hats for the boys, then skirts and tops for the girls.  Then it was off to the local hall where a party was held with dancing and music, and we had a ball!

These types of events can feel very stage-managed but when I went I did feel it was authentic and that the villagers were enjoying themselves and us along with them.  

The following morning after breakfast it was back to the boat and we set sail to the Island of Taquile. Here we set off uphill into the town that is perched on top of the island. It's a nice hike offering great views and once in the town, a local elder will assign the restaurant where the group will have lunch. We had a nice lunch (fish or omelette) and then it was a quick decent down a long steep set of stairs to the boat. I was amazed by small wizened elderly ladies who were passing us climbing up the stairs with huge filled baskets on their backs - I had found the walk up on the road which was much longer, quite tough!. We were soon sailing back to back to Puno, arriving mid afternoon.

Back at the hotel in Puno I had time to reflect on the Island experience and why it had been thoroughly worthwhile. 

From a personal point of view I had had a chance to get away from it all: no mobile reception, no internet and no TV and experience a simpler way of life; but also for the communities that we visited, as these tours are run by the local cooperatives for their own direct benefit. 

 

Contact us for more about Lake Titicaca and Peru.


Tags: Lake Titicaca, Peru, Responsible tourism, Travellers' Tales





           

Lake Titicaca: Staying overnight on Amantani island


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