America

Sailing on Lake Titicaca, the Uros and Amantaní

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If we saw it from a bird's eye view, our boat would be the size of a pixel in the middle of that immense body of water. We had more than two hours furrowing the Titicaca lake and no land was visible anywhere. Our destiny was the Amantaní Island where we were going in the communal boat. Among the passage was a couple of French aesthetics hippie, two Peruvian girls who were on vacation in the area and two Japanese backpackers. The eight we had preferred visit the islands of the Uros, Amantaní and Taquile on our own, rather than with a tour organized. If something was clear to us, it was that if we were going to do experiential tourism, we preferred to give the money directly to the family that welcomed us, so the only way to control it It was traveling on our own to Amantaní.

It has no loss

It was quite easy to finish in that boat. We only had to go to the port of Puno at 7.30 in the morning and go to the booth that has the word "Amantaní" painted in huge letters. It has no loss, as long as you ignore the hunters that you find from getting out of the taxi until you get to the booth. And so, at eight o'clock we set sail for Amantaní Island to spend the night there. Before, however, we had another scheduled visit along the way. Shortly after leaving, the boat went into a labyrinth of floating islands, the Uros Islands.

The totora is a reed that grows in some areas of Lake Titicaca. This plant is the raw material that the Uros people use to build the floating islands where they live. These islands are built by superimposing layers of cattails on the water to form floating bases. These rushes rot over time, so the inhabitants of the Uros must add more layers periodically. We made the first stop at the Wily River Island. It was a very short visit, since you have to pay entrance in the islands and our boatman was not for the work.

We were only there for about fifteen minutes, but it was enough to notice with each step how uneven the soil is that make up the millions of cattail branches that must be there. You have to be careful not to screw up, literally stepping on a piece of rotten soil and ending with a sunken leg in the middle of the lake. The inhabitants of the islands use the totora for everything: to make the floor of the islands, for the houses, for the boats and for the countless souvenirs They sell to tourists.

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and perhaps that's why we notice such strong temperature contrasts during the crossing. If I was under the roof of the boat, I was cold and, if I went outside, the heat burned me. Now I'm cold, now I'm hot, so during the four hours of travel.

Fernando, the photographer who accompanied us during our day at Machu PicchuHe explained that he had already made the excursion to Amantaní and, upon arriving on land, some islanders received him dressed in traditional costumes to honor his visit with some typical Amantaní dances. On the other hand, when we arrived on the island, a man of the town was at the pier with a bundle of tickets in hand to charge us the 5 pesos worth entering the island.

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