It’s been a year since we got on a bus and headed to the unknown. We met a taxi driver who promised he worked with a travel agency and buy our tickets to an unforgettable experience in Puno. After $200 USD dollars, we hoped it was true.
Our overnight journey started at 10 PM. We arrived in Puno around 6 AM the next morning. We were picked up by a tourist group and joined about 10 other people with the same destination.
Our expedition would last two full days. We would spend the night with a local family on the island of Amantani. However, we would first stop would be the floating island of Uro in Lake Titicaca. We spend about two hours there and learned all about the process of how they maintain their home. We took a short ride on a balsa which was handmade, bought souvenirs and got on board again.
We would spend another 3 or more to get to Amantani. When we got there our families were eagerly waiting for us. Erika was the one who would share her home with us. She was only 20 years old and took care of her elderly mother. She explained to us that the island is divided into several sections and that each week each section takes turns on who will host. To some, this is their only source of income.
After lunch, we headed to the Pachatata mountain. Erika explained to us that someday she wished to be an alcalde of her community and that although she had a boyfriend she had no desire to get married. I loved her motivation to help her community.
Once we arrived to the mountain, we were told to walk around the temple three times and make a wish. We watched the beautiful sunset and walked back down. The party was throwing a party for us and we needed to get ready.
Erika let us borrow some of her traditional clothes. In just a few minutes we were ready for the party. We danced for hours. It was a beautiful experience I will never forget.
At about midnight we went to sleep. Erika asked if we could turn off the light as soon as possible since their only source of energy was through solar panels and they took good care of it.
We were so tired from sleeping on a bus the previous night that we fell asleep in minutes. The next morning breakfast was ready and just like that, it was time to leave.
Erika walked us to the port and all the locals waived goodbye as we left.
Last stop was Taquile island. We hiked to the highest point and then went to had a delicious lunch. We learned that knitting is mostly done by men and greetings are done by exchanging coca leaves. The island was beautiful.
We headed back to Puno and just like that our trip was almost over.
The next morning we would fly to Lima, visit El Parque del Amor, soak our feet in the ocean water and head back to our beautiful hotel for some relaxation. We had scored a sweet deal by getting our own Cinco de Mayo party with unlimited drinks. We couldn’t miss that! We attempted to make it out of the hotel after dinner but by then we were too drunk and tired. The next morning we would fly back to the U.S. and forever remember this amazing experience.
Note to self: If you ever make it back to Peru. Book your own bus trip to Puno. You can get a round trip from Cuzco to Puno for about $15 U.S. dollars. You can also book a tour for another $30 dollars. Save yourself some money!
On to the next one!
Watch full traveling video here: