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These Photos Will Make You Want to Visit Taquile Island in Peru

These Photos Will Make You Want to Visit Taquile Island in Peru
Shut off from the modern world, up until a few years ago it was nearly impossible for visitors to stay on Lake Titicaca’s Isla Taquile. In an attempt to attract more tourism to its shores, Taquileños are following in neighbour island Amantaní’s footsteps and opening their homes, and their hearts, to tourists. Here are 16 photos that will make you want to visit Lake Titicaca’s Taquile island.

Stunning scenery

Taquile island, surrounded by Lake Titicaca’s piercing blue waters and surrounding islands, offers spectacular views from every angle.

Taquile Island offers spectacular views from every angle © Tycdence Davis / Flickr

With no motorised vehicles allowed on the island and little light, noise or rubbish pollution, Taquile is very much an untouched paradise.

Taquile has no cars or bikes on the island © Jessica Vincent

In fact, you’re far more likely to bump into a herd of grazing sheep than a car or bike—or even another tourist.

Grazing sheep on Lake Titicaca’s Taquile island © Jessica Vincent

The north of the island is also home to deserted, pristine, white-sand beaches that allow the locals to take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Titicaca.

Taquile is home to two beautiful white-sand beaches © Jessica Vincent

Taquile is marked by its Incan cobbled paths and stone archways, which mark the beginning and end of the different communities on the island. The arches also represent an official welcome to visitors each time they pass through each mini-region of the island.

Taquile is famous for its stone archways symbolising a welcome to a new community on the island © Jessica Vincent

Inca ceremonial sites

Taquile is home to two sacred Inca ceremonial sites built on the highest part of the island.

Taquile is home to two Incan ceremonial sites © Jessica Vincent

They are so sacred that locals are only allowed to enter once a year during the annual Pachamama (Mother Earth) offering in the presence of the highest shamans.

Follow the cobblestoned streets to ceremonial Inca sites © Jessica Vincent

The main ceremonial site is closed off and strictly forbidden to enter, but it’s possible for visitors to enter a small, walled off section where it’s possible to view the ceremonial site from a short distance.

Visitors can see the main ceremonial site from behind a small stone wall © Jessica Vincent

Beautiful families

Whilst the scenery and archaeological ruins are undoubted highlights, what really makes this place special is its people.

A young boy from Taquile shows the camera the fish his father caught that morning © Jessica Vincent

Families on Taquile welcome visitors into their homes, showing you their customs, traditions and way of life.

Father and son knit together on Taquile Island © Jessica Vincent

They’re full of life, always smiling, and—most importantly—welcome their visitors as if they were family.

A Taquileño welcomes guests into his home with a smile © Jessica Vincent

Children play a big role in helping the family in daily tasks, including the important ploughing and sowing of the quinoa and potato terraces.

Children in Taquile help the family plough and sow the fields © Jessica Vincent

Fascinating traditions

Taquile is known for producing some of Peru’s best quality textiles. In fact, their hand-knitted hats, gloves and cumberbund-like waistbands are considered so special that, in 2005, they were named Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

A woman spends months weaving the intricate chumpi waistband—many of which describe traditions and important festivities—using the oldest type of loom in the world  © Jessica Vincent

What few people know, however, is that the making of these intricate, hand-knitted handicrafts is an activity exclusively reserved for men. For Taquileños (men from Taquile), knitting—seen as a highly intricate and creative skill—is a way to publicly show your worth to the community.

62-year-old Justino's wife recently died, so he now wears a red hat to the left side, indicating he is no longer married and is in mourning  © Jessica Vincent

While knitting may be reserved for men, the women are in charge of spinning the wool and weaving the intricate Chumpis; the thick, cummerbund-like waistbands worn by all men in the community.

A woman walks along Taquile's cobblestoned streets whilst she spins the wool for her husband to knit with  © Jessica Vincent

When it comes to agriculture, Taquileños and Taquileñas still use ancient farming techniques and tools. For example, the Incan Chaki Taklla, a foot plough made of a wooden pole with a sharp point made from stone or metal, is used for ploughing and sowing the potato terraces.

Taquileños still use ancient farming techniques and tools to sow their fields © Jessica Vincent

To arrange a homestay directly with the local community, contact Jaime at info@taquile.net or on (51) 971141905. You can find their website here for more details.