Taquile

From the Uros Islands, we continued on to the island of Taquile.  It was another two hours or so by motorboat.  Taquile is about 22 miles from Puno, the major city on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

 Jose, who ferried us around Lake Titicaca.  Some of the traditional Uros boats can be seen in the background.

Jose, who ferried us around Lake Titicaca.  Some of the traditional Uros boats can be seen in the background.

 Taquile and the bow of Jose's boat. A panorama taken with my phone.

Taquile and the bow of Jose's boat. A panorama taken with my phone.

The islanders of Taquile maintain a very traditional lifestyle.  There are no cars or asphalt roads on the island.  Nor are there hotels.  If you want to stay the night, a homestay with a local family is the only way to do it.  Families take travelers in for homestays on a rotating system.  

 Agricultural terraces and the trail up from Puerto Alsuno on the north end of the island.

Agricultural terraces and the trail up from Puerto Alsuno on the north end of the island.

Agriculture, weaving and tourism are the major sources of income on Taquile.  

 The island of Amantani in the background.

The island of Amantani in the background.

Potatoes, quinoa and barley are rotated throughout the terraces annually.

 Moving the sheep to a different pasture

Moving the sheep to a different pasture

During periods when the terraces are left fallow, livestock graze on them to provide fertilizer.

 Cows on the terraces

Cows on the terraces

 A small adobe building on the path.  Probably used for storage.

A small adobe building on the path.  Probably used for storage.

 Apparently, recycled shoes make great hinges!

Apparently, recycled shoes make great hinges!

 Sheep with one hell of a view.  Bolivia is in the background.

Sheep with one hell of a view.  Bolivia is in the background.

One version of the Inca origin story says that the mythic first Inca ruler, Manco Capac, emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca and then marched on to Cusco to found the Inca Empire.  In reality, the Incas, led by Pachacutec, conquered the Collas in the Lake Titicaca basin in the mid 1400s.  The myth was probably an attempt at incorporating the local Aymara people in to the empire.

 Arco de Taquile in the main plaza.

Arco de Taquile in the main plaza.

Much of the population of Taquile is descended from Inca colonists.  Quechua is still the primary language, although nearly everyone speaks Spanish as well.

 Main plaza in Taquile.

Main plaza in Taquile.

The weaving and knitting traditions on Taquile date back to pre-Inca times.  Men typically knit the chullos (caps with ear flaps) and women weave chumpis (traditional belts).

 Man knitting a chullo in the main plaza.

Man knitting a chullo in the main plaza.

 View of the island looking west

View of the island looking west

 Another of the many stone arches on Taquile

Another of the many stone arches on Taquile

There is one primary school on Taquile and another that teaches traditional handicrafts.

 Girls weaving bracelets outside of the main main square

Girls weaving bracelets outside of the main main square

 Young girl in traditional dress

Young girl in traditional dress

 The view from above Puerto Chilcano.  

The view from above Puerto Chilcano.  

Despite being only about 5 square miles, Taquile is basically a mountain that juts out of Lake Titicaca.  The main plaza is fairly centrally located on the island, but can be easily reached from any of the ports.  It does, however, require climbing a lot of stairs.

 Chewing coca leafs before sailing back to Puno.

Chewing coca leafs before sailing back to Puno.

After going down the stairs to Puerto Chilcano, we caught a boat for the long trip back to Puno. After a quick motorcycle rickshaw ride, we spent the night in a very comfortable bed at Casa Panqarani.