miércoles, 20 de agosto de 2014

TITIKAKA LAKE


Published in El Comercio. Translated and adapted by Natasha Clay

Uros, Amantani and Taquile are some of the islands that emerge onto Lake Titicaca.

Titicaca: Crossing the highest navigable lake in the world
(Photo: Alison Johnstone/ Flickr)





To start your journey to Titicaca, first you have to arrive in Puno, which takes an hour by car from Juliaca.
This city cradles the Tiahuanuco culture, and has some of the most attractive baroque-mestizo style cathedrals along with the house Conde de Lemos.
On the outskirts, you should stop and appreciate the famous Chullpas de Sillustani, at the foot of the Umayo lake, a set of circular stone towers that were used as tombs by the Collas and the Incas.
The route through the heights
Puno’s port is just 20 minutes from the floating islands of Uros, which are inhabited by the Uro-Aymara community whose lives are dedicated to the reeds, with which they make their homes and boats, and which even feed them.
This island is the first stop of the tour. On the descent you will receive a friendly greeting from the local people who will explain how they have worked with the reed (junco) to shape the islands they inhabit, as well as canoes, which they use to fish daily.
Then you will have the opportunity to enter their homes and after you will be invited on a tour to the surrounding islands aboard a boat made from the reeds the local people have grown. The origin of this ethnic group is older than the Incas, they call themselves Kotsuña, which means “the people of the lake” in Quechua.
An Unforgettable Experience
After leaving the island, the boat goes on for three hours until it arrives at Amantaní, a place where you will be welcomed by families that are in charge of hosting everyone who arrives. While walking through its narrow cobbled streets you will be able to appreciate the beautiful ‘cantutas,’ the local flowers.
By late afternoon, the trek to Pachatata is recommended, which is reached after half an hour of walking and which has a spectacular view of Lake Titicaca: the ideal place to appreciate the sunset and the island in all its splendor.
To end the flawless evening, a dinner made with all the local foods, such as oca, potatoes, or quinoa.
The second day starts early, because you will have to navigate two hours to get to Taquile Island, popular for their textiles, which have been declared “Masterpieces of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. This town is also known its staircase made up of 300 stones, in which it takes a break from the traditional stone arches that you may also appreciate. Another picture perfect destination in the height of Titicaca.
Travel Tips
Via airway: Towards Juliaca (one hour)and from there by taxi or minibus to Puno (one hour) “Lan airlines”: www.lan.com is recommended. From US$ 120
Via land: Cruz del Sur( via Arequipa) in 21 hours. From S/. 174
Tours: Uros, Taquile, Amantaní:” Edgar Adventures”:http://www.edgaradventures.com/ offers daily departures. Jr. Lima 338, (51)353-444. From: US$ 52 (two-day tour)
Restaurants:
Giorgio: Jr. Lima 430. Find the complete menu, including prices.
Balcones de Puno: Jr. Libertad 354. From: S/. 20
Lodging:
Casa Andina Private Collection. Sesquicentenario 1970. From US$ 104.
Also in Suasi Island: Titilaka. From US$ 265
Qelqatani Hotel: Jr. Tarapacá 355. From US$ 70
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