From Colca Canyon to Lake Titicaca

I am travelling with clients through Peru. (Zum deutschen Blog.) The trip from Colca Canyon to Puno at Lake Titicaca will take about 6 hours. So we start early. First of all, the route leads us back over the mountains. Down in the valley in Chivay it is very foggy, but the higher the road gets, the clearer it becomes.

Peru, peaks of the Andes
spectacular view over vulcanoes of the Andes
The route over high mountain passes

Elisa, our Peruvian guide is completely out of the way, because shortly before we reach the highest point of the trip, at 4910 m, we see one of the very rare Andean deer; and a bit further on, some of the cute hares with the long tails.

Peru, fauna, mammal
one of the rare deer of the Andes, seen near Mirador de los Andes
Peru, fauna, rabbit
Viscacha, seen near Mirador de los Andes

Of course, we get off at the Mirador de los Andes and take countless photos. It is not really cold, although at night a thin layer of snow has fallen. But we have to go on.

Peru, Mirador de los Andes
at 4910 m above sealevel at Mirador de los Andes
Peru, high pass
view over the Andes at Mirador de los Andes

Again and again we drive over high mountain passes. Snow-capped peaks, however, we see almost only in the distance. Mostly these are volcanoes that are usually above 6000 m of altitude, some of them are still active.

Peru, flamingo
one of the pink flamingos in the Andes
Peru, lake in the Andes
view over Laguna Lagunillas
The Altiplano

At noon we reach the Altoplano. It is more than 3000 m above sea level. It is a huge plateau with fertile soil, wetlands and a lot of beef cattle. The indigenous people of the Aymara live here. They are usually very small and dark-skinned. Up to this day they have preserved much of their ancient culture, language and religion. There are still more than 2 million of them.

Peru, grave towers, pre-Inka
view over the smaller lake at Sillustani with ancient chullpas
Peru, grave tower by Inkas
Inka chullpa at Sillustani

At the Chullpas of Sillustani we have a long break. There are tomb towers scattered over several hills. Long before Christ, people were buried here in fetus posture and gifts for their afterlife. These towers were only a few meters high and made of bricks. Later, when the Incas arrived here, the towers got up to 12 m high and made of artistically hewn huge rocky squares. Archaeologists have always found several mummies and burial objects in them.

Peru, grave tower by Inkas
Inka chullpa at Sillustani, near Lake Titicaca

With the thin air and the warmth here, the visit is quite exhausting. Shortly afterwards we stop at a local family, who feeds us with potatoes and a sauce of healing clay with salt. This tastes very good. After all, we have tasted again one of the approximately 3000 different potato varieties that grow here in Peru. We can also take a look at the mud huts that are sparsely furnished. The whole family lives and sleeps in a tiny room. In the icy cold winters from June to August, this is the only way to stay warm.

Peru, Aymara people
me and the lama at an Aymara house
Peru, Indigenous house
the meal is cooking at an Aymara farm house
Lake Titicaca

After another 45 minutes we reach Puno, which is located directly at Lake Titicaca. The city has about 200 000 inhabitants and stretches out along the mountains. Here we are at about 3800 m above sea level. Since a while the thin mountain air no longer causes problems for me, I only avoid fast movements, so I do not get out of breath. Instead of chewing coca leaves, I prefer to drink coca leave tea in the morning. This certainly helps as well.

Peru, Puno am Titicacasee
Puno at Lake Titicaca

For the evening, Benito, our local guide recommends the restaurant “Mojsa”. Food is so good here that we already make a reservation for the next evening.

Peru, Titicacasee, Landkarte
map of Lake Titicaca, partly Peruvian and partly Bolivian

The next morning starts early again. We board a boat to visit the Uru people. They live on reed beds in Lake Titicaca. We are kindly received and learn a lot about their way of life. The islands have to be permanently repaired because they rotten quickly. The traditional reed boats holds about 1 year, then the municipality has to build a new boat. On each of the small islands, some families live together. A “president” is their executive. On the island we visit, this is Leia, who also shows us how the women embroider here.

Peru, reed isles
reed boat of the Uru, who live in Lake Titcaca
Peru, Lake Titcaca, reed house
Leia showing us the building of a reed isle

Of course progress has already arrived here as well. The families have solar cells with which they generate electricity, for example, to watch TV. For fishing, men and women take small motor boats. Unfortunately, the sewage of Puno flows directly and unfiltered into Lake Titicaca, so the water quality suffers greatly.

Peru, gardening
farming at Lake Titcaca

We drive another 2 hours to a large peninsula, where we are invited to eat trout at a family. They also proudly present their traditional clothing and lifestyle. During the two and a half hour return trip we enjoy the sun and the light rocking of the boat.

Peru, traditional clothing
traditional Peruvian family at Lake Titcaca


Another day in Peru is over. Tomorrow we drive to the Urubamba valley. Will you follow me there? Also on Instagram you find many more photos of my trips. I’m looking forward to your comments and your “like”! J

Peru, indigenous little girl
cute little girl on a market
Alpaca, Peru
Lama

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