I had to go on a two-day trip to visit the Uros floating islands, I spent the night on Amantani Island and finally visited Taquile Island on the second day, but a salmonella kept me in bed for a day and changed my plans.
Since the agency couldn’t refund me, they offered me a day trip to Uros and Taquile for the next day. Day trip it is, let’s do it!
Thus, we left at 8am in a speed boat, and there we were, near the Uros Islands in 15 min!
There were 87 floating artificial islands, completely created by the inhabitants. The average lifespan of a floating island is 30 to 35 years.
We stopped on a first island. There we’ve been invited to take a 25min ride on the lake aboard their boat Balsa de totora, the local Mercedes Benz.
Then we spent an hour on the island, the time to discover how floating islands are built, and the local way of life. The guide’s speech is well (too much) prepared and the inhabitants’ show is finely honed.
The inhabitants made a simulation of exchange of goods, as at the market, and then gratified us with 3 songs, one in Aymara, one in Quechua, and one in Spanish.
Then each one took a group of 4-5 tourists to show us their houses and their market and of course invited us to buy their creations.
Personally, I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of taking pictures of the inside of a tiny house, not wishing to violate the intimacy of people, that’s why there are no photos in this article.
The funny thing is that the locals persisted in speaking Aymara during the visit and the guide was translating every time, but they recovered a perfect Spanish to say “Compra amigo, Ven aqui amigo” and so on… 🙂
We left the island to go to another and 15min later, we reached the “capital”, for a 10-minute visit, the time to look at the craft stands and to have a stamp on the passport for 1 Sol.
At 9:45, we took the boat for a 1h20 drive to arrive at Taquile Island. The island is known for its textile art, it is also the only place in Peru where there are men weaving, they learn it from their early age.
When we arrived at the island, the guide told us that we had a 2 km uphill walk to arrive at the central square at the top. That day, May 3rf, is a religious holiday, the Santa Cruz, so we had the opportunity to attend the festivities and see a religious parade of a troop of men and women, it was nice to witness.
At noon, we start the descent to stop at a restaurant run by a young Peruvian, David, to enjoy a good local trout.
At the end of lunch, a troop of locals showed us how they wash the wool with a shampoo, and danced for us a local dance before inviting us to dance with them.
At 2pm, we took the speed boat for 1h30 to get back to Puno.
I loved discovering the concept of floating islands, and the island of Taquile has a very nice atmosphere too.
Too bad that the speech of the guide and the shows of the local inhabitants are overplayed, and excessively touristy. This kind of presentation certainly has its audience but is not really my cup of tea, I prefer to immerse myself and talk more with local people to know them in depth; which makes me regret even more my sickness and the fact of having missed the opportunity to spend a night with a family on Amantani Island, but that’s life ☺
The day trip is overall satisfactory, no need for more time to visit Uros and a classic island, but I recommend the 2 days trip and one night for those who have the time to do it;)