When I was interning in Lima, Peru a few years back, I was elated at the prospect of taking weekend trips to see more of Peru. Having visited, Cuzco and Machu Picchu one year prior, I looked to smaller Peruvian cities to experience more of what Peru had to offer. I had received many recommendations regarding Puno and specifically, Lake Titicaca, and so, off I went!
I arranged for a boat tour to see the famous islands of the lake along with the Uros who are known for perpetually weaving their own floating islands on the lake. We were transported in a two story straw boat that was culturally designed to reflect the style of boats that the Uros are known for. There are several boats such as this traveling to the various floating islands in the lake which create quite the amusing traffic jam.
What is wonderful about this tour is that local families from the Uros tribe volunteer to host tourists on their particular floating island. The proceeds from the visit go towards giving their families extra spending money. Additionally, they have several handcrafted souvenirs that you can purchase that further help their families.
The cultural visit lasts about an hour and a half. At that point, you are taken to a boat in order to prepare for your tour of the natural islands of the lake. My particular tour was scheduled to visit Taquile Island. The views from Taquile Island were gorgeous and you truly could not see another boat in sight! Pictured below is the view from where I was eating lunch, and yes, my authentic local Peruvian lunch was included in my tour!
Taquile Island is filled with stone ruins and stunning landscape to explore. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the island and learning about the local culture. While I spent several days in Puno, I have to say that the tour of Lake Titicaca was a wonderful, affordable, and rewarding experience. The mixture that the tourist can experience of indigenous culture combined with picturesque views is truly worthwhile and memorable.