Puno and the floating islands

This morning we jumped on the boat back to the mainland from Isla Del Sol, and then jumped on the Bolivia Hop bus to cross the border into Peru. The border crossing here is dead easy and you get through pretty quick. The Bolivia Hop guys get you all sorted as well, so that probably helped a little too. Once through we were on our way to Puno for the night before our trip in the morning.

We got picked up at 6.30am the next morning from our hotel after breakfast, and it was the first time after a week or so that we had been able to have a nice hot shower; it felt amazing. We had been showering, just not in water that was remotely close to being tepid. We were on the boat for about 30 minutes before we got to the floating islands of Uros. It was a bit of  nippy one sat out the back of the boat…

At Uros there are 96 of these floating islands, and all of them are made by hand by the people that live on them. They make them out of river reeds and lash them together. I think they said in some parts the reeds are 3m thick down into the water. They were like walking on a massive water bed! Each week they add to the reeds as the ones at the bottom rot away, so its a continuous job keeping them floating. It all looked very basic and natural until we spotted a tv in one of the huts…. But it was from a solar panel, so we’ll let them off. They also had full on services like a school and a doctor. The main reason they lived on there now was to not have to pay taxes… so if you’re in the market for a tax haven, the islands might be what you’re after!

The people that lived there gave a talk on how they made the islands, a bit of history of the place and they also sang us a few songs. *

You could also dress up in their clothes, and I must say, kumu looked a right stunner in her get up!

We then jumped on their “Mercedes Benz” boat to go to another island where you can get a stamp on your passport. This boat was a total heap of…. The platform that way too many people were sat on (the one we were sat under..) was creaking all over the place, i was pretty sure, it was one butt shift away from collapsing!

Under the creaky platform. I’m pretty confident nobody here has a spirit level…

As the singing ladies waved us away they shouted hasta la vista baby, which was a slightly odd one… must have picked it up on their solar tv.

At this point we had escaped the creaky platform

We then took a 2 hour boat ride to the third largest island on lake titicaca. To be honest we would have given this a miss had we known we were going to be on the boat for 4.5hours. It basically turned into a giant nap time. We still enjoyed being on the island though. We walked up for 45 minutes before watching men knit some traditional hats. Apparently they start at a very young age and if they aren’t good at it it decreases their market value when it comes to marriage. UK version, replace the knitting with DIY.

After that we went for a trout lunch and watched a demo on “inka soap” made from natural roots, traditional dances and women weaving. All very interesting, and pretty amazing how they used all the natural elements and plants for different things. Some techniques were genuinely still used today.

Here’s some other shots from us walking on the island and some of the views.

After this we just had a long boat ride back to Puno. The cathedral in Puno is a real beaut, and that’s where it stops for us in Puno. We didn’t like the town so much.

An that was it. Our bus was arriving that night to take us to Cusco overnight. The floating islands were great to see, but we thought it was a long day for what you end up seeing. Mainly just down to the boat rides there and back really. On to the next one!

CaYf

Rikki

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