After spending our morning in the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, we hopped aboard our boat and headed over to Taquile island.
Taquile island (and its textiles) have been designated with UNESCO protected status so it’s high on the list of places to visit in Lake Titicaca.
It’s also not too far from the floating villages so just before you nod off into a boat-rocking induced afternoon snooze, you’ll find yourself at the island’s harbour.
Excited to explore the island, we hopped off the boat and made our way through a footpath to a home our guide had planned for us to have lunch in.
As you weave your way through the island (which is a tad harder than it seems due to the high altitude i.e. low oxygen, making even the tiniest bit of exercise that much harder), you’ll come across friendly locals, going about the daily business – only stopping said business for a brief moment to say hello to you before carrying on.
At our host’s home, you get to see some of what this island is famous for – their textiles.
Long bit of wool, weaves into intricate, colourful and continuous patterns (if you are stuck on what to get as a souvenir – one of these would be perfect). The weaving is done using a rectangular wooden…er… I’m not sure what it’s called actually – I never asked.
To be honest, I was more fascinated with the other part of what they used – a sharply shaven sheep’s bone.
If you’re lucky, you might get to catch a little village dance or two… and if you’re feeling really plucky, you might get to join in. (Remember, how I said even the little exercise here really takes it out of you?
Suffice it to say, I remained seated and enjoyed all of this from a comfy distance! 😉 😀 )
For lunch, we started off with some flat bread, paired with a vegetable and quinoa soup (which was so much tastier than I expected – I went for seconds and thirds).
The main meal however is fish and rice. I’m actually not sure what fish it was – we took turns guessing (can’t remember what we decided it was) but remember, this is old fashioned hospitality here; you eat what you’re given.
Thankfully, what we were given was also delicious (very much to my relief and delight – I was pretty hungry by the time we actually sat down for lunch).
After lunch, our guide sprung a dilemma upon us – essentially, we could either walk back downhill to the boat or if we were feeling up for a hike, we could take a walk around the island and meet his over at the other harbour in about 1 – 2 hour’s time.
I’ve got to admit, it took a few minutes of seriously questioning myself to agree to go with the latter (the hike). After scaling Huayna Picchu, I was in no mood for unnecessary exercise. 😀
Then again, I thought to myself “You didn’t come here to NOT see the island…” – it was that reason and that reason alone that got me off my seat and heading off to check out the island (I would very happily have given into my laziness otherwise and just headed back to the boat 😀 )
And so, off we went – weaving and winding through the island, pausing to say hi to some of the locals as we went – something which ended up with me being poked and prodded with a stick by a very curious child. 😀
Oh, I almost forgot to mention – you can see Bolivia from here! Lake Titicaca is shared by Peru and Bolivia but you’re much close to the border here than in Uros. (In fact, my phone signal kept switching between Peru and Bolivia – you’re that close).
The island is one which hasn’t changed in quite some time and intentionally so.
Apparently, when this island started becoming a popular stop for travellers, a few hotel chains decided they wanted to set up shop here and UNESCO advised the island against this as they would lose the very thing the travellers would be coming for in the first place.
With that in mind, very little has change on this island (with the exception of obvious stuff people need/want nowadays – electricity, new schools, mobile phones… etc.
In what felt like barely anytime at all (ironically, in large part thanks to stopping off to take in the sights) – we found ourselves at end of our hike.
Over here, there are shops for you to grab some water, a souvenir or two or just generally kick back if you happened to be one of the fastest walkers (I was not).
We stuck around for a few more minutes before finally making our way back to the boat, our hotel in Puno and indulging in some well-earned chill our time back in the hot-tub at the hotel!
If you’re in Puno and you’re planning on seeing the floating islands of Lake Titicaca – I definitely recommend visiting Taquile island. It’s definitely nice to get a sense of what Peru is truly like, outside of the main cities like Cusco and Lima.