Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Peruvian Side of Lago Titicaca

Peru, the fifth country in my trip (Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Bolivia so far…), welcomes us in Puno. Puno is the Peruvian tourist gateway to Lago Titicaca. On the bus from Copacabana, Bolivia, we meet Edgar, a nice agent that ended up helping us with everything we wanted in the Puno area + the hostel we ended up sleeping at in Cuzco.

Edgar led us to a nice & small hostel called La Casa Del Abuelo (Grandpa’s House), it was close to the center, and we enjoyed both the center & the hostel very much. Searching for a place to eat, we found a small pizzeria, named ‘Pizza Andina’, where they make your pizza right in front of you in a small stove. The streets of Puno are so cold, and the warmth of the restaurant was just perfect. The pizzas were served on a really thin base, and with loads of toppings to our choice.

The next morning we went on a 2 day tour around the islands on the Peruvian side of Lago Titicaca. The tour starts on the Floating Islands; these Islands are specially built by local Indians from floating mud, straws and ropes. On top of the hand-made platforms, they build their houses, kitchens & there’s even a fish pool. We had explanations about how the islands were built, and what people do and eat. We also got a chance to ride a traditional Indian boat made of only straw. These boats have an expiration date of up to three months. Today, the main income of the Floating Islands is tourism, but as touristic as they get, they’re still very special.

Next stop of the tour was Isla Amantani, a ‘none touristic’ island (then how come we go there?), where we were introduced to our hosting families whom served us lunch (mainly different varieties of potatoes), and showed us our rooms for the night. In the afternoon we met again with the rest of the group, and went on a walk on the island – to see the Pachetata (Father Earth) temple. Because of height problems, we made it to the temple only in time to witness the sunset. The temple itself is opened for the people only one day a year, finding a hole in the wall we managed to see the big phallus sculptured in the middle of the temple. Climbed down, ate dinner with the hosting family (mainly potatoes), and slept in our small beds (people of the Andes are really short). In the morning we ate a pancake for breakfast (that’s right, just one…).

The last stop of the tour was Isla Taquile, a touristic island (most of the tours go through it), where all of the people wear traditional clothing and are known for their excellence in knitting. All the people are very colorful. On the island we also had lunch (which wasn’t included in the trip); the guide takes you up the island, between the houses, and enters the restaurant. He then asks everyone to sit and hear his explanation about the clothing on the island, just when he finishes (after 3-5 plates with good smells fly by…), he asks who wants to stay and eat there. The prices were fine, so we stayed, but the pressure feasting was not a nice memory.

Back in Puno, we ordered a hostel in Cuzco through Edgar, and went to eat again in Pizza Andina.

Tips for The Peruvian Side of Lago Titicaca:

- The tour we took (The Floating Islands, Isla Amantani & Isla Taquile) was really short but satisfying. We got to see three different places in just 2 days.

- Pizza Andina was certainly a success. You’ll find it on Libertad Street (before it changes to Melgar).

- La Casa Del Abuelo (Jr. Tarapacá 399 y Libertad, Tel. (051) - 363465), is a nice place close to the center. With good beds, hot showers, and nice owners.

- Edgar is a real treasure. Contact him for any help or information (Edgar Cuno Adaza, cell 951-643678, or in La Casa Del Abuelo hostel), and say hi from the Boxerman family.

No comments:

Post a Comment