Unreal sky over las islas flotantes, Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
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After a laid back day in Arequipa, Peru, my first stop from Cusco, I missed the early bus to the Colca Canyon in the morning. Instead of spending another day bumming around Arequipa, I decided to instead skip the canyon and hop the first bus to Puno, Peru’s hub for experiencing Lake Titicaca. 

Arriving mid-day in Puno, I immediately negotiated a cheap trip out to Uros, the famous floating islands on Titicaca and supposedly one of the oldest civilizations still alive today. The islands are man-made from an impressive combination of roots and reeds. Nowadays, the citizens of Uros have also had to create an anchor system for their “floating islands,” because, they comically explained, “if we wake up on the Bolivian side of the lake one morning we’re in trouble because we don’t have Passports!”
Although overall the tour was rather cheesy and very touristy, the islands were incredible and I lucked out by getting a beautiful sunset and an amazing orange sky overhead.
Unreal sky over las islas flotantes, Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
Unreal sky over Las Islas Flotantes, Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
Uros is composed of hundreds of small islands, and we only visited two. Each island is home to one or two families usually, each with their own small huts built from reeds. It was very interesting to see the craftsmanship put into these homes, and we also got to see a few older models, resembling tepees made of reeds.
Traditional reed tepee with reed canoe in the background. Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
Traditional reed tepee with reed canoe in the background
The families live primarily off of small fish from the lake, but the tourism allows them to row into town on their reed canoes to buy other food and basic needs. The canoes are very interesting. On the outside they look like they are made from 100% reed, but under the reeds are hundreds of plastic bottles to keep them better afloat. Recycling at its finest!
After the tour, I found myself a cheap hostel and got to bed early, planning to head to Bolivia the next morning.
Long story short, the next day I irresponsibly left my debit card in an ATM in the bus station and didn’t realize until I was half way to Bolivia. I immediately got off the bus in the middle of nowhere, hitched a ride back to Puno for 3 soles (less than $1), and asked a million different people in the bus station what I could do. I finally arrived at the conclusion that, since it was Sunday I could not get into the ATM. I would have to stay in Puno for the night.
But the day of terror quickly turned to tranquility. I was able to convince a hostel with warm water and wi-fi to put me up for around $6, where I took a very nice two-hour nap.
When I woke up, I took a walk down to Lake Titicaca and sat on the banks, writing and listening to the distant past street music in the background. The street music was a man singing and playing the charango, an instrument similar to the ukulele, but played in a different style. It has a really soothing sound and I couldn’t resist recording the music in exchange for my spare change, enough to buy the performer a cheap meal (once I get some decent wi-fi I’ll upload that video to YouTube and share on the No Strings Travel Facebook page which you can find by clicking “Social” on the page top bar).
Oh and did I mention that I saw the lunar eclipse over Lake Titicaca? It was unreal. The lake was once again a gentle reminder that the most rewarding times on my trip are those where I can find a beautiful spot to relax and take out a pen and paper. Going into this trip, I told myself that by conquering mountains and cross many borders I would come back to the U.S. invincible. I now realize that much more than being the great explorer I have always dreamed of being, I need to find peace inside myself. And especially if I am hoping to use travel as a means to get through the grieving process of losing my father last year, I must find the peace that he struggled so hard for the past many years of his life.
Full moon over Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
Full moon over Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
So in a twisted way, maybe losing my debit card to spend another day in Puno was meant to be. I had no trouble at all getting it back once the bank opened, and I am so grateful for how happy they were to help me. Maybe I should get a tattoo on my hand reminding me not to forget my card!
I was told by lots of travelers that they felt that Lake Titicaca is overrated and that you can do it all in a day, but I would not take back my two relaxing days on the Peruvian side, and now I have another day and a half on the Bolivian side!

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You can support No Strings Travel by using this link when shopping on Amazon! A small portion of the sale will go to us at no extra cost to you! Bookmark it :) https://amzn.to/2NAe2XV

No Strings Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

One response to “Lake Titcaca from Puno, Peru”

  1. Carl Nissen says:

    Thanks Nate! Love hearing about all the culture in a place I have never visited!

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