Arriving in Puno
After Colca Canyon we got onto a bus which went first to Juliaca and then to Puno. As we left Juliaca we noticed in the distance a thunderstorm. The bus route kept us in view and it was amazingly beautiful. We have never seen such a sight before. It kept up for many hours as multiple lightning strikes lit up the night sky.
Upon arriving in Puno we settled into a hotel for the night. The next morning we woke up to the noise of music and fanfare. After breakfast we went out to the street discovering that we had actually arrived to Puno during the annual anniversary celebration, November 5th. The school in the area had multiple groups dancing in the street each accompanied by a mini orchestra.
Touring Lake Titicaca
Our ride came the next morning right after an early breakfast. Our final destination was an island called Isla Suasi. First, however, we were in for a treat. Included in the transportation to Suasi was a tour of the islands of Titicaca.
Our first stop was the islands of Uros. These are the floating islands found in Lake Titicaca. Stepping out onto them felt like stepping onto a soft trampoline. We learned about the inhabitants culture and way of life. The people living on the islands first decided to go out onto the lake when the Spaniards came. They refused to be made into slaves. Instead they chose a life of freedom. Making their livelihood on the lake they ate the reeds, birds, and fish. When they could, they traded with people on land.
Afterwards, we visited an island called Tequille. The locals on this island developed a very unique culture. We were fascinated hearing about their life. There are many traditions that have to do with clothing worn on this island. The ritual surrounding marriage was highly developed. It had many steps and unique customs. We especially enjoyed seeing all the colorful clothing items. In addition, we had a chance to participate in a traditional dance with them. It was a lot of fun!
All the clothes you see are hand made. Children are taught from a young age and are required to have finished a belt or a hat depending on if you are a boy or girl to get married.
Interesting fact: their wedding ring is actually a belt that the girl weaves with all the promises they give each other represented by various pictures that are woven into the belt. The belt is worn everyday by the husband and wife when they get married. So much thought and meaning.
Arriving at Isla de Suasi
After learning about some of the cultures of Lake Titicaca we were ready for our own private island. Isla de Suasi is the only privately owned island on the lake. The hotel is extremely inviting and we were able to have an incredibly relaxing time there.
They have a restuarant, bar, and two game rooms. When we saw our room we felt like we were home. We had a great view out onto the lake, the room had a fireplace, a spacious bathroom, and a comfortable bed.
The Amazing Food
We arrived just in time for lunch and were treated to a delicious three course meal. We daily had really amazing meals. The salads were incredibly filling, and the main course was absolutely delectable. We had Quinoa salad, ceviche, salmon, trout, BBQ, and amazing deserts to name some of our favorites.
This island is extremely peaceful. We spent a lot of time relaxing and enjoying the sun. One of the days we enjoyed reading in the hammock. There is a lot of greenery and flowers surrounding the hotel. We saw a few Viscacha’s which look like bushy-tailed rabbits.
If you want to stretch your legs a little bit you can explore around the island. There are a number of trails you can go on. One of them takes you to the highest point and allows you to see the whole island. It’s a perfect spot to see the sunset from. There are also two Llamas, and two Vicunas living on the island.
Alternatively you can take a canoe or a kayak and explore a little bit of Lake Titicaca. We took a canoe and went around the island. It took us about two hours and was very enjoyable. We liked watching the birds running on the water as we rowed past them.
We spent most of our evenings sitting by the fireplace reading books. At around 5PM one of the staff members comes by to help light the fireplaces in all the rooms. It makes everything so much more cozier. There’s also warm blankets and a pot of eucalyptus leaves standing on the stove. The heat from the fireplace heats up the pot with eucalyptus and gives the room a fresh smell.
Evenings outside are pretty chilly and sometimes rainy. Every night we were given bottles filled with hot water so they could be put under the covers to keep the bed warm. We had no problem staying warm during our stay at Isla Suasi. The staff was incredible and they all spoke great English.
The owner, Maria, has a museum. The hotel offers a tour through it. We saw various artifacts from the history of the surrounding region. There were a few fossils as well as artifacts from the Spaniards, and the subsequent culture that developed. It was great to know more about the area we were in.
Leaving Peru and Heading to Chile
After having a wonderful time in Peru it was time to move on. We took a night bus from Puno to a city called Tacna. From there we crossed the border in a few short hours and arrived in the beautiful city of Arica. After staying short bit in Arica we headed over to the Atacama Desert!