Leslie has wanted to go to Lake Titicaca since she learned about it in the 3rd grade. Yes because of its name, but also because it is the highest lake in the world. What we did learn is that “titi” means “puma” and “caca” means gray, so it is actually Lake Gray Puma. Pumas evidently were very plentiful a long time ago and they were a holy animal to the ancient Peruvians.
We had a beautiful sunny day. We have been so blessed with the weather on this trip. We started with a gorgeous sunrise. We arrived after dark the night before and had no idea we had such a fabulous view from our hotel. Lake Titicaca is a beautiful blue. The water is so clean. We got to take a boat ride on the lake.
Our first stop was one of the floating islands where the Uru people live. The second picture shows what looks like a city on the shore, but it is actually 97 islands built out of reeds that are in a cove on the lake. We got a demonstration on how they build them. It takes about a year to build one and they last for about 25 years. The islands are kind of small, but they have a few families on each one. They also have islands for schools, a medical center and even a soccer field.
The islands now have become a tourist attraction. For the islands that are having visitors, the people that live there wave as you approach (3rd picture). They explain how they live, show you their houses and then sell you their handiwork (8th picture). It was a very interesting stop and kind of hard to believe people live on these islands made of reeds. The population is decreasing though, as there is no high school and once the teenagers go to nearby Puno to go to high school, they do not want to return to the islands.
Our second stop was on a real island, Taquile which is very remote (9th picture). Taquileños are known for their fine handwoven textiles and clothing, which are regarded as among the highest-quality handicrafts in Peru. Knitting is exclusively performed by males, beginning in early boyhood. Women spin wool and use vegetables and minerals to dye the wool to be used by the community. Women are also the weavers of the Chumpis, the wide belts with woven designs worn by everyone in the community of Taquile. They did a traditional welcome dance for us when we got there (13th picture). Leslie joined in but did it very slowly as we were at 12,500 feet. The last picture was taken with our tour guide Ernesto.