A trip through the islands of the immense Lake Titicaca reminds us, once more, that each site has its special something. Discover particular and unique spots sticking out from the watery paradise called Titicaca.
Suasi: A private paradise
Suasi is a treasure; it is a little hunk of rock surrounded by turquoise waters and populated by multi-colored flowers, polylepis, ducks, hares, cormorants, frogs and vicuñas. It is a well-kept secret that offers abundant doses of the most pleasant silence, the most comforting solitude, the purest and most welcome rest. In short, it is the perfect place to enjoy that wisest of Italian inventions, the dolce far niente.
Of course, there is much to do, if you prefer. The wonder of Suasi, aside from its spectacular atmosphere and nature, is that the island is yours and yours alone during your stay. Well, you also have to share it with the other guests, of course, and the hotel staff. But that’s it.
The only thing that there is on Suasi is the Casa Andina Private Collection hotel, which could not be more perfectly attuned to the setting. Extremely cozy, warm and friendly, this hotel would be perfect for a honeymoon, a private break, a relaxed weekend or a mild, family adventure.
Because the island is small, and doesn’t have any visitors except those linked to the hotel, you or your children could walk around it without problems, from one end to the other, without getting lost, or getting too far away, without any danger at all. Or you could follow the affable guide on one of his expeditions: a boat trip, climbing hills, watching the sunset or counting stars.
You could also spend the afternoon in the comfortable library full of attractive titles, visiting the local mini-museum, traveling to the far end of an island to see the sunrise, pouring yourself a glass of wine in the self-service, open bar, or enjoy one of the three delicious meals served each day.
Alternatively, you could just stretch out in a hammock, under the highland sun, to contemplate the colors of a lake that doesn’t shine as magically anywhere else but Suasi.
Uros: Hand-made islands
The floating islands of Uros, a product of man and not nature, are the most popular on Titicaca. They are very close to Puno, and very few tourists skip them.
The islands’ inhabitants have a short and well-defined program for the tourists: women in multicolored sweaters receive the tourists as they disembark from the boat, and one of the older men explains, with an entertaining scale model, how to islands were built with the abundant lake reeds.
Later, they invite the tourists to visit their houses, to see how they live, and to go on a boat ride if they so desire. Uros is a popular stop on tours of other islands, like Raquile or Amantaní, but if you prefer just to visit them, you can reach the floating islands by ferry.
Amantaní and Taquile
These islands are the most extensive and traditional in Titicaca, where the people still dress with their traditional clothing and where they produce elaborate weavings.
The production of traditional textiles on Taquile has been declared an international cultural patrimony by UNESCO. In their knots, these beautiful textiles show the rituals and ceremonies of these communities. The finest even represent the social status of those who use them.
It’s a real pleasure to pass through these islands and enter into the calm of their daily life. The landscape of each has a particular charm. There are trails from which to observe the sunrises or sunsets, or to simply pass through its forests, which smell of muña. At all times, you are surrounded by a seemingly never-ending lake.
The communities are pioneers in the regional development of rural tourism. Most excursions to the islands are daytrips, but it is better to spend the night in Amantaní or Taquile’s isolated spots, where the islanders welcome guests into their own homes and show them island life.
Tourism on the islands is based on the idea of communal property, and the families take turns providing housing, boats, and other services to tourists. A trip here is a constant learning experience, always seeing the world from a different perspective.
These islands also have an archeological legacy dating back to Tiahuanaco. Old agricultural terraces and ceremonial terraces litter this area, adored since the pre-Columbian era, and where, according to legend, the world began.