It is very uncommon that one travels to Puno and does not visit the grand Lake Titicaca, one of Peru’s biggest attractions due to being the world’s highest navigable lake (at above 12,000ft) and home to some of the oldest civilizations in South America.
The most efficient way to see the lake is via the full day boat tour that will take you to two of the most-commonly visited islands; Uros and Taquile. This particular tour departs your hotel around 7.30 am and returns later afternoon around 5.00 pm and will be aboard a smaller motor boat that is equipped with panoramic windows offering great views of the lake and shielding from the wind. Note that there is additional seating space on the top of the boat where you get some fresh air and a higher view.
The Uros islands are located about 30 minutes by boat from the Puno mainland, where you will spend roughly an hour exploring the impressive man-made floating reed islands and will learn about the history and culture of the Uros people. You will then embark on a 2-hour scenic boat ride to Taquile, where the local people are well known for their textile work.
Upon arrival to Taquile, the tour group will set off on a hike up to the top of the island, where phenomenal views of the lake and island countryside will be available. Hiking in high altitude can be a bit exhausting, therefore, it will be important to take smaller steps and break at any moment necessary to catch your breath. On route, your guide will provide you with some interesting facts regarding the history and culture of the island inhabitants as they are very different from that of the Uros people and you’ll have plenty of photo opportune moments along the way.
After exploring the island, you will enjoy an included lunch at one of the local restaurants (both vegetarian and meat options available) before taking the 2.5 hour boat journey back to Puno from where you will be transferred to your hotel for the evening.
Photo - Bobistraveling
There are a few key things to keep in mind for the full day excursion of the lake that will help to better prepare you and ensure a more enjoyable tour. To start with, you will want to bring along a small backpack to carry your personal items. Note that you can always leave some objects on the boat during island excursions. A few suggested items to pack in your bag would be the following:
At least one water bottle (or preferred hydrating beverage) per person. You will have the opportunity to purchase more water on the islands.
Sunscreen to reapply throughout the day. Note that the sun is very strong in this part of the world.
Sunglasses and lip balm to further protect you from the sun and wind.
Camera to capture all memories.
A suggested precaution is to pack medication if you are prone to seasickness or to cure headaches.
A lightweight poncho between the months of October – April (encompassing the rainy season) in case of rain showers.
You will want to bring cash on hand (in form of the Peruvian Sol) since you will have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs, take an optional reed boat ride while on the Uros islands or purchase beverages during lunch on the Taquile Island. We would suggest carrying at least 50 Soles and if you are possibly interested in purchasing local textiles while on your tour, you will want to bring along more money (ie: textiles can range anywhere from 10 – 300 Soles).
Regarding how to dress for the day tour, it is a must that you wear comfortable walking shoes and is recommended to bring along a sweater as it can get chilly later in the day and if any wind is present, especially during the cooler, winter months (April – October). The last and most important recommendation is to get a good night’s rest prior to your tour since Puno is located at high altitude, and being well-rested is a great way to help prevent altitude sickness. A few other suggestions on how to help prevent altitude sickness is to keep hydrated, avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and refrain from overly stuffing yourself the day prior to your tour.
Keen to see Lake Titicaca for yourself? Check out our 12-day Andean Highlights and 11-day Andes and Uyuni tours. Or speak to one of our Destination Experts about crafting the bespoke vacation of your dreams.