Jet Lag Journal: Lake Titicaca
In my last post on Lima, Peru, I offered up some tips for the taking, and I’m thinking that’s honestly the best way still to explain my other part of my Peruvian trip around Lake Titicaca as well. So if you do find yourself with an extra day and a half while in Peru, do get yourself to the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca–rich in color and rich in culture, you won’t be disappointed.
1. The very, very first tip for the taking: Understand that Lake Titicaca is huge, as in, very massive in circumference. Once, you land in Juliaca, the airport closest to the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, you’ll need to take an hour ride to Puno, the major city that sits on the Peruvian side of the lake, or you’ll need to head in the other direction. . .
2. If you’re staying at Casa Andina: you must note that there are 3 of these types of hotels with this brand name situated around the lake–we didn’t realize this. So suffice to say, we headed in the wrong direction. And by the time we found out, we were three hours away from our original destination: Casa Andina Suasi.
3. Always, always have cash on you! Luckily, we did, so we were able to pay for a cab ride around the lake to our true destination once we realized we needed to course correct. After 9 hours of travel, we finally made it our boutique hotel.
Casa Andina Suasi sits on a private island on Lake Titicaca, that is roughly four square miles. We had some lovely gentleman help haul our stuff on the powered raft.
Because of the time of day, it really was that bright out in the afternoon still. Thus, be sure to bring sunglasses when traveling to the lake (polarized ones are recommended for even more clarity and beauty).
The colors and contrast of colors from the water to the sky to land are really, truly so deep. None of these photos in this post have been touched with filters. They are completely true to their in-the-moment-shot. All is pretty quiet on the four square mile island and within the boutique hotel. We loved our short stay at the hotel, but it truly is for those maybe getting away on a honey moon or a quiet weekend. Before we left, we took a short walk around the island in the morning and traveled the path of the indigenous llamas.
I mean can you believe these colors? They’re not made up! The sky is constantly in flux all over Peru and on the lake it’s no different, so storms roll in and roll out. So sublime this place is.
Tip #4 is if you’re making the trip to Lake Titicaca, and you’re taking the time and energy to travel all the way there, you best make it a point to see the Uros islands and culture. To visit the floating islands and the inhabitants, it’s really best to to stay on the Puno-side of the lake for easy access. Thus, why we had to cut our trip short at Suasi since we were 3 hours away, and didn’t realize when we booked that original hotel. Let your hotel recommend the best tour group to get in on, as we did, as it provided a very smooth process of organizing.
While the Uros island visit was very touristy and cultivated, it was all managed by them and so all funds go directly to them, which made the experience feel better. Above, is one of the Presidents of one of the 30 islands. He took us in a traditional boat raft from his island to another. He is quite a jolly man. The water reed plant you see everywhere is used in every aspect of their lives from heat, food, transportation and shelter.
Most hotels around Peru have some other land and fields surrounding them that are still being cultivated and tended to by local farmers and herders. Above was the view right next to our Puno hotel. It’s charming to see that not everything has been taken away yet for tourism.
#5, if you’re going to Puno, stay at Casa Adina Puno. The price is very affordable, the views of the lake are breath taking and you sit literally on the edge with the lake as the backyard to the hotel. It’s clean and has a nice restaurant for breakfast and dinner. We felt so lucky to grab a room here when Suasi didn’t work out for visiting the Uros Islands. The hotel managers were so sweet for making the change in reservation at no cost and helping us in our time of need.
So bottom line, I would make it a point to visit the area if you have an extra 1.5 day to spare, that’s all you’ll need to see Puno/visit the Uros Islands and take in the scene. Just be super aware of how far it is from the airport to your destination, know which part of the lake your destination is on, and have some cash handy. It’s all worth it to see the expansive water, sky and colors up close. I wouldn’t take back any of it for the memory of our time spent there.