Surrounded by majestic mountaintops and welcoming villages, the turquoise waters of Lake Titicaca have been central to the cultural and spiritual lives of the Andean people since time immemorial. We’ll explore the pre-Inca ruins that line its shores, then discover its floating reed “islands” where the Uros Indians live today.
- It's Included:
- Airfare from Puno to Lima
- Accommodations for 4 nights in Puno and a day room in Lima
- 13 meals—4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners
- 9 small group activities
- Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader, who speaks English and the native language
- All transfers
- Porterage for 1 bag per traveler
After concluding our Real Affordable Peru main trip, we depart Cuzco for a full-day scenic drive to Puno, stopping at various sites along the way. Our first stop is in Raqchi to explore the impressive ruins of the largest Inca temple in Peru, which was dedicated to their god Virachocha. We then continue our drive, enjoying a box lunch on board, and arrive at our hotel in Chucuito—a charming Aymara town just South of Puno—in the afternoon. Dinner is at our hotel tonight.
After a late breakfast, we visit the village of Copamaya to see a weaving demonstration, then enjoy an opportunity to speak with some local residents of this agricultural community before enjoying a lunch of regional specialties.
In the afternoon, we enjoy our first glimpse of the azure waters of Lake Titicaca as we stroll along its northern shore. According to Andean legend, a pair of gods rose from its waters to found the Incan empire. Its size and elevation make the waters of the lake very cold with sizable waves.
Then we return to Chucuito to explore its plaza, colonial churches, and Inca fertility temple, made of massive stones pointing up at the sun god. Later we dine at our hotel.
This morning we ride to Sillustani, set on a peninsula in Lake Ayumara. Here we visit the mysterious pre-Inca ruins called chullpas, or funeral towers, where the Colla tribe buried their elite class in massive carved tombs. This "city of the dead" consists of a group of cone-shaped towers overlooking the Laguno Umayo. The chullpas are made of enormous stones—bigger at the top than at the bottom—and most date to the 15th century, at the time of Inca occupation. We may have a chance to meet some of the modern-day descendants of the Colla during our visit to this site.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel to Puno for a tour of the city, including visits to its Baroque cathedral and crafts market. Tonight we enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Today we’ll explore Lake Titicaca by boat, stopping first to visit the Uros Islands, where the Uros Indians live on floating "islands" made of the reeds that grow in the lake's shallow waters. The Uros Indians are well-known for their totora reed boats, called balsas, which are primarily used for fishing and are sometimes affixed with sails, also made from reeds.
Then we'll discover Taquile Island. Once part of the Inca Empire, this island was one of the last locations to fall to the Spanish during their conquest of Peru. At that time, the Spanish forbade traditional dress, and the islanders adopted the Spanish peasant dress that they are known for wearing today. They also maintained Inca weaving traditions, and their hand-woven traditional textiles are considered to be among the finest in Peru. While there, we'll enjoy lunch with the locals, as well as a traditional dance performance and a presentation on life on Taquile.
We finish our boating excursion this afternoon and return to Chucuito, where we enjoy dinner at our hotel this evening.
After an early breakfast this morning, we fly to Lima, where you have a day room at our hotel. After lunch at a local restaurant, we embark upon a panoramic tour of Lima's Barranco district. Home to many of Lima's artists, musicians, and designers, Barranco is considered to be both the most romantic and the most bohemian district in Lima. We'll take in its charming Colonial architecture and flower-lined streets, and enjoy striking views of its district's unique topography, built around ravines and cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We'll return to our hotel this afternoon to rest. Later, we check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to the U.S. Please note: Today's lunch is credited from Day 11 of the main trip. There is no overnight stay tonight, just a day room in Lima prior to your evening transfer to the airport.