After having spent almost five months in Cusco learning Spanish, for me it was time to go on a new adventure. Together with a friend from home, who had just joined me, I decided to head to Puno. Known for its location right at Lake Titicaca it is a great place to start your trip to the floating islands .
For Spanish Students in Cusco going on a weekend excursion to Puno is a great way to escape daily life. In Puno itself there is not that much to do, but it definitely is the place to go if you want to visit Lake Titicaca. It is a seven hour bus ride, just a good amount of time: not too long. It’s a night bus anyway, we arrived in Puno at 6 in the morning and headed straight to our hostel.
Our trip included a stop on the floating Islands of Uros and from there we would go to the islands of Taquile and Amantani, where we would spend a night at a local Peruvian family.
We got to experience the true Peruvian life. The locals of Amantani Island live a very modest life. There is no shower or running water to flush the toilet and cooking doesn’t happen by means of a gas stove, but on an improvised stove made out of clay. Making a fire under the stove is the way these people cook. The meals we ate during our stay (lunch, dinner and breakfast) were simple, small meals. Once we were served pasta with potato and unions. The breakfast we had was pretty good though: a nice pancake.
Our first day started with a 1 hour boat ride from Puno to the floating Uros Islands. As soon as you jump off the boat you feel that these are no ordinary islands. The surface is covered with reed. Every 15 days a new layer of reed is put on top of the older layers. There are 87 different floating islands. They are pretty interesting to see. The boat ride continued on to Amantani where we met our host mum for the upcoming day. After being taken to our accommodation for the night, we were served lunch. It has to be said that our room was excellent. Not what you would expect from a family that tries to make some money by hosting tourists. I have seen many hostel rooms that were not as good at this room.
After lunch we fell straight asleep. Tired from our long bus ride and trip to the islands. We missed out on an island tour, but we were happy catching up with some sleep. At night we all got to dress up with traditional Inca clothes and had a bit of a party. Running in one big circle everybody joined the traditional dance. After a bit of a drink we headed back with our host mum and went to bed….again.
Next morning after breakfast we headed to island number 3: Taquile. Here we had a very scenic hike of about 40 minutes (uphill) and had lunch. Soon after we headed back down to jump in our boat again and start a 3 hour trip back to Puno. This trip from Cusco to Puno, visiting the floating islands and Lake Titicaca is a perfect and affordable way for Spanish students to spend a weekend away from Cusco!