Finally in Peru
15.01.2009 20 °C
From Copacabana, Bolivia, we continued to Puno, Peru. These two towns are situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca. What makes this city special are the islands of the Uros that exist on the Lake. These islands are made of totora reeds which only grow in this area of the lake. These islands are inhabited by the Uros, which existed before the Inca civilization. The Uros who lived on the continent, fled to live on these islands on Lake Titicaca when the Inca people came along. They then lived on the islands after the Incas were defeated to avoid Spanish taxes that existed on the mainland.
These islands are about 30 minutes by boat from Puno, and we decided to make a visit to the Uros and the island Tanquille. We were very well received by the Uros who currently live on tourism from all the tourists that visit their island homes. They also make local crafts that are then sold to tourists. With this money, the head of the island goes to buy food in Puno as they can`t grow crops etc on the islands.
After these reed islands we went to visit the Uros Tanquille, on Lake Titicaca. This island also lives on Tourism, but also agriculture. The landscapes of this island that look down on the lake are magnificent. We stayed on the Island for a few hours after hiking up to the top (which is quite a climb with altitude as a factor (remember you are still at around 4000 metres above sea level here). At the top we were taken to a little place where we were served local river trout. Atfer this it was the long walk down to the boat, then back to Puno for a well deserved rest.
The next day we booked to travel with Cuzco Inca Express, instead of going directly to Cuzco (5 hour journey), this tour stops in places they think is important ... or maybe not. One of the stops was Raqchi an archaeological site in the region of Cuzco which is the largest surviving Inca temple, sadly the tour was let down by having a terrible guide whose Spanish was as good as his English, and the fact we had to pay all the time to see any of the sites we stopped at (these were not included in the tour).
Finally, around 7pm, we arrive in Cuzco, the city known as the gateway to Machu Pichu ... but is it?