The Titicaca lake is the highest shippable lake in the world inhabited by indigenous communities who live a peaceful life after their ancient traditions. It is, therefore, one of the most visited tourist places of Peru and hundreds of local agencies offer tours to the picturesque islands. If you want to avoid being scammed, escape the tourist masses and support directly the local families, you should definitely visit the islands on your own account. In the following article we will tell you how:
Have a local contact
Our friend Benita owns a beautiful little house on the charming island of Amantani on the Titicaca lake. You can contact her directly (see phone numbers at the end of the article) to stay at her house and enjoy a delicious lunch, dinner and breakfast cooked with fresh products from their own agriculture. She will also pick you up at the harbour upon arrival or send her lovely mother Franzisca. Benita is happy to show you around on their peaceful island and explain the way to hike up to their two sacred mountains with the temples of Pachamama and Pachatata.
Take a shared boat service
Instead of taking one of the packaged tour services, go directly to the harbour of Puno in the morning to take a shared boat service to Amantani leaving at 8am. Luckily, Benita’s brother works at the harbour and can assist you in getting a fair price. The boat also includes a short stop at the rather touristy but interesting Uros islands before it arrives at around lunch-time on Amantani island. The next morning, the same boat takes you to visit the neighbouring Taquile island where you can hike around and enjoy the stunning landscapes before going back to Puno.
Speaking at least basic Spanish is essential to communicate with Benita over the phone and to purchase your boat ticket. Also for experiencing lifestyle and culture on the island, Spanish is important to be able to exchange with Benita and her family and learn about their lives. Speaking the native language Quechua would be even better, as most elderly people like Benita’s mother Franzisca cannot speak Spanish.
Support the local community
Like most people on the island, Benita and her family live from what they grow themselves on their fields or exchange with their neighbours. Everything they can, they make by themselves: their clothes, bedsheets and furniture. Tourism is their only source of monetary income to buy all the things they cannot produce by themselves. Also, they are curious about receiving travellers from all over the world and exchange with them, as Puno is the furthest they have travelled in their lives so far.
Contact Benita, she will be happy to receive you!
+51 966 817 103
+51 951 637 361