The floating islands, lake titicaca...
So I didn`t even spend a night in Puno on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. It`s a bit of a dump and the only reason so stop there is to visit the nearby floating islands of the Uro people. I arrived off the night bus from Cusco and immediately booked myself onto a trip to the islands followed by a bus direct to Copacabana on the Bolivian side of the lake... this really is a whistle stop tour of the world`s highest navigable lake.
I hopped on my boat to see the floating islands. It was really fascinating to see how these islands are made. They take the roots of reeds that grow in the lake, cut them into blocks and tie them together to make a large flat floating platform. They then layer the reeds on top. The reeds are replenished from the top as they rot away at the bottom. Everything from boats to houses it seems are made from the reeds that grow on the shores of the lake. The Uro people were thought to have adapted to this way of life as a means of escaping other aggressive indigenous groups such as the Incas. Today there are no pure blooded Uros left surviving but the way of life still continues with many member of the community never stepping foot on dry land. Hundreds of people live there, they have schools and a hospital. Their main source of income is of course tourism... and these unique islands attract it by the boat load! The islands that you are able to visit are very touristic and everything is for show. It`s very intereesting to see but nothing about it seems very real. It`s like being on a Peruvian themed ride at Disney Land or something. But it`s a beautiful place and a unique thing to see.
Back in Puno I hopped straight on my bus and hopped across the boarder to the more relaxed lakeside town of Copacabana, Bolivia...