Our next item of interest was Lake Titicaca, and the bordering city of Puno would be our stop for it.
We went there using a tour bus company we hadn’t used before. Turns out it was a sight-seeing one as it made a couple of stops along the way. It was quite nice though, we got to see some flamingos in one of the small mountain lakes, and I managed to shoot this really pretty picture. Actually one of the few photos I’d consider wallpaper material. Later, after dark, we arrived in Puno. We swiftly sorted out our hostel (read: found a pushy person with a good deal) and got our daily serving of sleep.
We knew most Titicaca tours wouldn’t be leaving until later in the morning, sometimes even around midday, so we strolled around the city a bit first. It was… kind of a disappointment? I’m no sure what we expected, but Puno isn’t exactly the prettiest city aside from one small square and its admittedly kind of boring harbor. Luckily the lake still had plenty to offer! Due to time constraints though, we had to pick one thing to check out, and we settled on the Uros islands.
The islands are of the Uru people, and they’re man-made! Artificial floating islands, made from the reeds that grow in Lake Titicaca. They’re honestly super impressive. Not only because they were made, but because of the insane upkeep that goes into them. The reeds are prone to rotting, so new layers have to be added every few months to keep the island from falling apart.
Not so impressive though, was the tour itself. They shipped us to one of the islands, where one of the locals explained how the islands were made, and then we got all kinds of “buy this stuff we made it ourselves” shoved at us. And apparently the optional ride on a traditional boat (they call ’em “Mercedes Benz”, probably as some messed up joke for tourists or something) to the next island was mandatory, as our modern vehicle just left us behind and the traditional one wouldn’t leave until every had gotten on. Yes, you needed to pay for it.
And the second island wasn’t much different, except that it was just small shops. No additional explanation on anything except a small pond of fish they kept. They did have nice fabrics, and the people were slightly less pushy, but it was still weird how we just sort of got dumped on there.
If we could have cut a day and spent it somewhere else, this is the day I would have cut… in hindsight. It was still an interesting experience though!