Travel Blog for Fredrik and Gunnhild


Puno to Arequipa

After a tight schedule we decided to take it slow for a couple of days. We walked around the island of the hotel to see the alpacas living there. At 3 pm we took the first class bus to Arequipa. It was a bit delayed, but with huge recliner seats that was no problem.

The next day we started with breakfast at a terrace at the main plaza with a great view of the city’s grand colonial buildings and the surrounding volcanoes. We walked around the city with Jorgen and Kristina, visited a local market and the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. The monasterio is guarded by high walls. It has both colonial and andean architecture and is almost a citadel within the city. In the evening we had a briefing with the Colca Canyon tour organizer, and then went for a couple of beers in a so called Irish Pub.

Lake Titicaca – Taquile Island

This small island 35 km from Puno has been inhabited for thousands of years and the people maintain a strong sense of group identity. Taquile felt like its own little world, completely detached from the modern world. The island was completely covered by agricultural terraces, and the scenery was stunning. Red soil, blue lake and Bolivia’s snowy Cordillera Real in the horizon.

Taquile, Lake Titicaca, Puno

Traditions are very important to the society. The men wear tightly knitted hats in colours showing if they are married or not. They take pride in knitting them themselves, and some say that a potential father-in-law would fill the hat with water, and if leaking the man would be a lazy husband.

Single women wear colorful skirts while the married women wear black. They weave colorful and very detailed waistbands for their husbands which are used to protect their backs as there are no cars or donkeys on the island, and everything is carried around.

Their handicrafts are among the best-made in Peru, and are sold at fixed prices in the cooperative store on the main plaza.

Lake Titicaca – Floating Islands

Our hotel was located on a small private island and we were picked up at the private port. Our first stop was the floating islands of the Uros (Uros Islands). The islands are built using totora reeds that grow in the shallow parts of Lake Titicaca. The reeds are also used to build the houses, the boats and to make crafts. Parts of the reeds are also edible, and they normally eat approximately 15 a day. New layers of totora reeds are added on top of the islands twice a week as they rot from the bottom.

- Peru - 2008

Traditionally the Uros make a living from fishing and trade this for corn and potatoes from the mainland. For several of the islands tourism is now the main income.

We bought some crafts, tasted the reeds, tried on some traditional Uros clothes and were paddled in a reed boat to another island. When leaving the Uros the ladies were singing, first some local songs, then some 80’s hits and in the end they shouted “Hasta La Vista Baby!”. Charming, but very touristic.

Inka express to Puno

Inka Express is a guided tour from Cuzco to Puno. We stopped at Andahuaylillas – The Sixtine Chapel of America, Raqchi – Temple of Wiracocha God, La Raya pass – 4335 meters above sea level and Pukara.

In the evening we met up with the others that came by train and had a relaxing evening in the hotel. Laura organized a private tour of Lake Titicaca for the next day.

Raqchi ruins, Inka Express