Our last stop in Peru was at the lakeside town of Puno.
Puno is just outside the border of Bolivia and it’s super easy to get across from here.
There was only one attraction that interested me in Puno, the floating Uros islands on Lake Titicaca!
Basically, the Uros people are an ancient culture which dates back to before the Inca times. To get away from the fighting and drama, the Uros people built floating islands made out of reed plants. The local people still live on the lake today. And even though it has become mainly a tourist attraction, it was still fascinating to go out there, meet the people and explore their homes.
We got a tourist boat from the dock to the Uros islands where we had a guide who explained to us what the Uros were and what they were all about. He explained that they have schools out on the lake as well as shops, smart phones and internet. Basically it’s a small floating neighborhood!
We met the local people on the island we visited, the mayor of the island explained how they make the islands out of reeds. He said that the islands only withstand the water for around 30 years so they have to remake them a lot. It takes over a year to make them!
We went into a local woman’s home which she shared with her husband and two kids. The house was around the size of our bedroom. It was also freezing on that island and since they don’t have any insulation I have no idea how they stay warm.
The island felt super spongy to walk on, and wet! It was such a surreal experience knowing that this is how some people still choose to live in the name of tradition.
After experiencing the Uros, we got back on the boat and visited Isla del Sol which is an island in the middle of the lake.
Here we also visited a local traditional town. In the square there was a big weaving and knitting warehouse. The guide explained that the practice of weaving and knitting is sacred to the local people. The practice isn’t just reserved for women either, he said that all people must equally learn the techniques. Before a man and a woman can marry, they must both show their handiwork and gain approval.
We walked around the island for a bit looking at the scenery before having lunch in a local restaurant.
Then we got back on the boat, and back to Puno!
As I said, I can’t say much for the actual town of Puno. I was still feeling pretty sick at that stage so I didn’t make a huge effort to get around other than the Uros.
But the following day, we were off to La Paz, Bolivia!