Monday, April 23, 2012

Peru Part 4 - Puno/Lake Titicaca - April 5 - 7

 On April 5 we checked out of Chivay and started our journey to Puno to explore Lake Titicaca, which is located at 3850m EL, the largest lake in the world above 2000m EL. We went back over the 4900m EL high pass on our way and this time we stopped to check it out.  There were great views of volcanoes from the pass and it was snowing, so of course we had to make a snowman before we headed on.  After a couple hours of driving we took said goodbye to the high plateau and the volcanoes and took the turn off to Puno.

Once we reached Puno we went for a buffet lunch and then went to local market to buy gifts for the host families that we will be staying with during the homestay. That night we explored the town a bit, the main square and the cathedral, before going out for a taste brick oven pizza.

 The next day after breakfast we took tuktuks down to the docks and loaded into a boat for our trip around Lake Titicaca. We started out by visiting the Uros Floating islands. They are made of layers of reeds that float on the lake; the islands are anchored to the lake bottom so they don’t float around and small villages are built on islands.  We explored the islands for a while and met some of the locals while having tours of their homes. Next, we took the boat over to Taquille Island to go for a hike and have lunch.
We hiked for about an hour to the top of a hill where there was a town square and small village and then we hiked to a local farm house where the family made us grilled trout for lunch which we ate overlooking the lake and surrounding farmland. Finally, we took the boat to a village called Amantini to meet our homestay families and spend the night. Mike and I stayed with a 15 year old girl named Lulu, her parents and her two older brother (but they lived in Puno to go to University).
 We started the evening by playing soccer with the locals and then we got dressed up in local clothing and learned some traditional dances.  We ended the evening by retiring to our families homes for dinner and a good night sleep. The home stay was interesting, it was good to experience the locals lifestyle, but it was a bit awkward duo to the language barrier.

The next morning we spent some time helping out our families. We helped Lulu take the pigs and sheep out to graze, feed the cows, dig potatoes and milk a cow. Once we were done with the farm chores we shared lunch with the families and then said good-bye, boarded the boats and headed back to Puno.
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