On a remote island in the middle of Lake Titicaca are the people of Taquile Island, who to this day continue to live a traditional lifestyle uninterrupted from modernization and have just recently opened up the island to tourists. Here is our list of things you must see and do while on Taquile Island.
The owner of the first restaurant (which doesn’t have a name) on your way up from Taquile’s dock can demonstrate his shampoo-making for tourists. Enjoy a traditional lunch— the trucha (trout) is delicious—with a view of the surprisingly bright blue lake. After you finish your meal, the owner will show you how he crushes the island’s indigenous plants into a paste to use not only as a shampoo, but as an all-purpose cleaner as well. It really works!
When the sun begins to set, you’ll want to find a good spot to view it from. You can hike up to one of the higher points on the island or go to the top of one of the buildings in the Plaza de Armas. As the sun descends on Lake Titicaca, you’ll enjoy one of your most memorable sunsets in Peru.
Boat rides around the island are a great way to explore it and you’ll get a better understanding of its size and beauty. If you talk to some locals, you may even be able to arrange a fishing trip. Because of the island’s remoteness, there is no precedent for tourist fishing activities or tour package that includes fishing—you just have to ask.
The island’s rhythms are relaxed and mellow, which will be a nice break for tourists who have been traveling around the country and scrambling for bus rides. Follow the locals’ lead and take it easy while enjoying one of Peru’s most preserved cultures.
The island is most well know for its intact tradition of knitting men, who, in a reversal of roles, do all the knitting on the island. They produce some of the best hand-made clothes in Peru and have since opened a two-story store right in the heart of the Plaza de Armas where you can buy all their hand-crafted goods.
Staying with a family is your only option for overnight accommodation on the island: a local family will open its doors to you and you’ll get a glimpse into the Taquile lifestyle and the family’s dynamics, all topped off with a delicious homemade meal. Additionally, the island’s tourism is operated exclusively by its inhabitants so you’ll get first-hand knowledge from locals who know the area. Tours can be arranged by your hotel or hostel at the Puno dock on the mainland before your trip to Taquile Island.
The landscape of the island is very unique and deserves a closer inspection. As home to many unique indigenous plants, the island offers beautiful hikes on a rugged landscape with stunning scenery and views of Lake Titicaca, which you can take in from some of the miradores. Hiking is also a great way to explore some of the other villages that are scattered throughout the island.