Nazca, Cajamarca and Chachapoyas- 2000 years back in time

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Ivo, Mira and Maya at Ventanillas de Otuzco

After the floating Uru Islands and Isla Taquile on Lake Titicaca, after Cuzco and Machu Picchu, we continue exploring Peru’s many wonders, before heading to Ecuador. Fascinated by the rich history and exotic culture of this vast South American country, curious about some of its greatest mysteries left unsolved on the face of the Earth by civilizations much older than the Incas, we visit a few more ancient archeological and historical sites which have left modern scientists puzzled with riddles: Nazca, Cajmarca and Chachapoyas.

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The Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines

The  Nazca Lines  are series of ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert of southern Peru created by the Nazca culture between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D.- a thousand years before the rule of the Incas. Scattered in the dry desert over 500 square kilometers are hundreds of simple lines and elaborate individual figures of people, animals and plants of grand proportions- the biggest some 270 m across. They can only be observed from a high vantage point- from the surrounding hills, or even better- from the sky. So we prepare to fly.

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The Nomadiks will fly

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Map of the Nazca Lines

We arrive in Nazca early in the morning and immediately after exiting the bus station, we are greeted by a sleepy guy who offers small airplane excursions over the lines. We go to his office and bargain for the best possible last-minute price (the plane flies in 20 minutes and they still have space)- US$80 per person, while the regular price is at least US$100. A minivan takes us to the local airport and from there we take off. Everything is happening in a hurry. Our plane is tiny. A French couple, our family of three and the two pilots barely fit in. The plane lifts off and heads to the wrinkled dry red desert. We feel weightless, dizzy, excited and happy circling over the world-famous Nazca Lines. We have headphones in which we can hear the pilot pointing at and explaining the shapes.

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Inside the airplane

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Maya is happy to fly over the Nazca Lines

A hummingbird, a spider, a monkey, a shark, an orca, a lizard, a jaguar, a condor, a man, a woman, a tree, a flower- giant very precise drawings etched on the desert’s skin by the Nazca people. With simple tools, they methodically removed the top layer of red pebbles, uncovering the lighter grey ground beneath, creating these stylized figures of lifeforms, as well as simple lines.

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The monkey

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The spider

Seen from above, by gods or any other creatures living in the skies or visiting our planet from a distant world, the Nazca Lines would seem like a picture encyclopedia of the creatures populating our planet Earth. Why the ancient Nazca People spent day after day removing rocks in the hot waterless desert, making giant drawings? Was their intention to record their world and inform those who ruled the sun and controlled their faith about life on Earth? Archaeologists, historians, and mathematicians have all tried and failed to determine the purpose of the mysterious Nazca Lines.

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View from above

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The hummingbird

Maybe they are a way to communicate with extraterrestrials, who probably have already met the Nazca people? One of the most famous Nazca geoglyphs is an astronaut waiving a friendly hand to the sky.

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The astronaut

Cajamarca

Another strange site in Peru is near the historical town of Cajamarca. It is a humble not very famous archeological site in the town of Otuzco named Ventanillas de Otuzco, which consists of small “windows” carved in the face of the rocky hills in the countryside, very much resembling bee hives, used as a funerary building- an ancient necropolis.

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Ventanillas de Otuzco

There are 337 square and rectangular niches used to house the dead, carved with amazing precision some 2,000 years ago. This City of the Dead, built by the Cajamarca people long before the Incas moved in, is another archeological wonder of which very little is known.

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We are fascinated by the Ventanillas de Otuzco, the hot thermal Baños del Inca used by Atahualpa as a spa not far from Otuzco, and by the town of Cajamarca itself.

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Banos del Inca thermal pools complex

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The public pool at the complex

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Clay Cajamarca figurines at the museum in the complex

Cajamarca became our favorite Peruvian destination, with stunning colonial architecture, cool mountain climate, beautiful surrounding nature with many rivers and lakes, and friendly welcoming people. Our only regret is that we didn’t spend more time there.

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Typical Cajamarca hat

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Saturday washing at the river

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An important mountain settlement ruled by Tupac Inca’s father Pachacuti during the Inca Empire, Cajamarca is the site of a famous battle which took place in 1532, when conquistadors Francisco Pizarro and Hernando De Soto defeated the Inca army and captured its leader Atahualpa- the Last Inca. They held him in a room in the main temple and promised to let him free in exchange of a ransom- the room of the captive Inca General had to be filled with gold. Within two months, the room was filled with gold offerings, yet Atahualpa was executed. This marked the end of the Inca Empire and the beginning of Spanish colonial rule.

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Cathedral in Cajamarca

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Street in Cajamarca

Thanks to the CouchSurfing community, we meet John Alcalde, our host in Cajamarca and spend a couple of nights in his awesome medieval-looking house. It’s a century-old big colonial building, where we sleep in a room on the second floor. John takes us around the city and tells us about its particular architecture, its many cathedrals, its festivals, people and nature. We visit the famous Ransom Room, where Atahualpa spent the last days of his life, and an old empty church. There, in the church transformed into a museum with no visitors but us, John sings a sad area from a famous opera with majestic acoustic. In the evening, we drink beers in front of the big fireplace in John’s house, and watch a film on his home cinema system.

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With John Alcalde in Cajamarca

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Atahualpa “ransom room”

Chachapoyas

We also travel to Chachapoyas in the Amazon Andes – a region in northern Peru covered by dense tropical forest and pretty remote and isolated form other regions of the country. Here we visit another monumental archeological site similar in proportions and beauty to Machu Picchu, but much less accessible and still not very popular.

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Great fortress of Kuelap

The fortress of Kuelap (“The Machu Picchu of the North”) is a walled city of great proportions (600 meters long and 110meters wide) built in 6th century AD consisting of over 400 buildings within massive exterior stone walls. Built on a ridge 3000 meters above sea level overlooking the Utcubamba Valley, visiting Kuelap can be an adventure.

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Instead of joining an expensive guided tour starting from the town of Chachapoyas and riding in the tourist minibus almost to the entrance of the ruins, we decide to hike. First, we take a local bus to El Tingo which brings us to 1800m above sea level and from there we take the horse trail up along the left bank of Tingo river. The hike is not difficult, but is long and going steep up with some muddy sections and a small mountain village not far from the ruins. It takes us over 4 hours to reach the summit of the mountain where the heavy stone walls of Kuelup rise on a barren hill.

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The horse path to the fortress is muddy!

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Maya found a funny bug

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Maya found yummy berries

It’s already afternoon and all other tourists have left! We are the only visitors and the entire site is deserted.

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Round houses at Kuelap

The massive exterior stone walls of the great fortress of Kuélap reach upwards of 20 meters (60 feet) in height and possibly served to defend the city. The 400 individual houses are all made with cylindrical stone constructions as well as raised platforms built on slopes.

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The Chachapoyas civilization, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, was a culture of Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonas Region of present-day Peru. The Incas conquered them shortly before the arrival of the Spanish in Peru. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the Chachapoyas were one of the many nations ruled by the Inca Empire. Much of what we do know about the Chachapoyas culture is based on archaeological evidence from ruins, pottery, tombs and other artifacts. Only an estimated 5% of the Chachapoyas sites have been excavated according to a BBC documentary from January 2013.

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The treacherous bus-rides on winding dirt roads, the four-hour hike up and three-hour hike down the steep mountain is absolutely worth it. Joining a guided tour form Chachapoyas would also be worth it, whatever the price, as Kuelap is not a site to miss when visiting Peru. Besides Kelap, there are a few more unique places not far from the town, like the second highest waterfall in the world or the Carajía sarcophagi, so spending a few days in Chachapoyas is a must.

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Chachapoyas

Carajía is an archaeological site in the Utcubamba Valley, located 48 km northeast of the city of Chachapoyas, where eight Chachapoyan mummies (only seven left today) were discovered on the cliffside, referred to by local residents as the “ancient wise men”.

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carajia sarcophagi

Dated to the 15th century, the seven sarcophagi with their mummies still inside stand up high on a vertical cliff facing east, an inaccessible and unexplored cave behind them. They are about 2.5 meters tall, constructed of clay, sticks and grasses, with exaggerated jawlines and with human skulls sitting atop their heads, which makes them unique. Their inaccessible location high above a river gorge has preserved them from destruction by looters.

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This time we do join a guided tour, as there is no public transportation to the site, and we don’t regret it. Not only we share this journey with a really awesome young Swedish couple, but our guide turns out to be a great very knowledgeable person, as well as a believer in the Ancient Aliens Theory, who tells us many interesting facts, legends and rumors about the Chachapoyas people and their mummies.

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Our group- friends from Sweden and the guide

We feel like Indiana Jones; privileged and forever grateful to be able to behold these majestic and mysterious ancient sites: the Nazca lines visible only from the sky, the 2000-years old necropolis of Otuzco near the one of the most beautiful colonial towns of Peru- Cajamarca, the majestic fortress of Kuelap with its round stone houses and tall walls and the eerie sarcophagi occupied by real mummies standing on a cliff near Chachapoyas.

Watch our short YouTube video- Two Months in the Andes With Maya

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Cuzco and Machu Picchu

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The Nomadik Family in Machu Picchu

Every traveler’s dream is someday to reach the top of the Inca World and marvel at its majestic proportions and ancient mysteries. It’s our Number One Peruvian destination too, and after Lake Titicaca it’s time to go to Machu Picchu. There are a few ways to get to the site once you arrive in Cuzco, and the journey to The Lost City of the Incas is in itself an extraordinary experience of epic proportions, especially if you choose the cheapest option, which does not include a train.

Cuzco

We arrive in Cuzco after another painful overnight bus ride from Puno, and are lucky to find an extremely clean and very cheap hostel room with two double beds and a private bathroom with hot water for $15.00 per night (for three people). If you are looking for a nice place owned by a humble welcoming family, and are willing to walk about 20-30 minutes to the historical downtown part of the city, where you will never find such a clean hostel at such price, then remember this one: Hostal Luve, not far from the bus terminal.

From the hostel, we walk on the main street, past a few money exchange bureaus where we buy Sols- the Peruvian currency, and past the large indoors crafts market, where, after an impressive bargaining episode with a few chubby ladies, we buy Peruvian hats and a poncho for Maya.

It’s raining and it’s very cold, grey clouds hanging over the city. It has been raining almost everywhere we go since La Paz and our biggest concern is that when we finally arrive in Machu Picchu we will have this miserable un-photogenic cold weather.

We spend a few hours roaming the narrow streets of Cuzco, the Archeological Capital of the Americas standing at 3400 m. This city does not compare to any other place we’ve ever visited on our journey so far. Cuzco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Crowned Emperor of historical capitals in the New World- unique and unrivaled.

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Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús

Peru’s Tourism Capital and Cultural Heritage of the Nation, Cuzco stands on layers of cultures, with the old Inca Empire built on the structures of the Killke pre-Inca people who occupied the region from 900 to 1200, and the Spanish partially destroying and replacing indigenous temples with Catholic churches and palaces standing on the ruins of Inca temples.

Carefully planned and constructed according a definite plan in which two rivers were channeled around the city during the rule of Inca Pachacuti, the Kingdom of Cuzco became the capital of the vast Inca empire of Tawantisuyu from 13th to 16th century. After the Spanish conquest, the city became the colonial center of the colonizers.

How Cuzco was built, how its large stones were shaped and transported to the site by the Incas remains undetermined. In the historic neighborhood Barrio de San Blas housing local artisans and craft shops, we walk up and down steep narrow streets with old houses built by the Spanish over heavy Inca foundations. Everywhere we turn, there are Gothic and Baroque churches and cathedrals.

The Spanish destroyed many Inca buildings, temples and palaces and used the remaining walls as foundations for the construction of new churches, cathedrals and convents. St Dominic monastery stands on the ruins of the House of the Sun, the palace of Inca Roca was converted to the Archbishop’s residence and so on.

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Convento de Santo Domingo and Intipanpa

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Mira, Old City, Cuzco

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Maya at Plaza de Armas, Cuzco

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Convento de Santo Domingo and Intipanpa

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In one of the buildings surrounding the main square Plaza de Armas we walk in one of the many tourist agencies where we buy tickets for a mini-bus ride to Hidroelectrica and back. Now, those of you, who are planning a visit to Machu Picchu and want to save some $$$ pay attention!

Journey to Machu Picchu

The cheapest mini-bus two-ways ride cost $16.00 to $20.00 per person. The epic journey to the top of the Inca World begins with this mini-bus. It has about 12 seats and leaves in the morning from Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, at 08h00 a.m. Our driver is a small funny guy and his taste in music concerns us a lot, as the ride is about 6-8 hours with the radio blasting at max volume. Luckily- and strangely- this particular driver is not into the awful Latino-crap we are constantly bombarded with in other busses- he likes 80s and 90s music, oldies and evergreens. He also blasts some awesome techno while driving madly on a crazy mountain road with steep cliffs and dangerous curves. Maybe he is just trying to please the tourists (successfully), which in our particular bus are young backpackers from different countries- two annoying college girls from the USA, a very fit British guy and his charming Serbian girlfriend, a French couple and a German couple, and a few Chilean students, of course.

As soon as we leave the city, we are among glacier-covered mountains and deep canyons carved by the mighty Urubamba River flowing the wrong way. We pass through an area of eternal fog, as we descend from higher to lower altitudes, where the cold temperatures of the high plateau collide with the heat of the tropical lowlands, creating patches of thick permanent mist- not our driver’s favorite part of the road.

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The scenic road is narrow, winding through mountains and passing directly over streams of water where our driver happily splashes the mini-bus at high speed, DJ Tiesto as a background. The road leads us down, from 3400m to 2400 m. The weather gets hot and the Andean cool mountain climate gives way to hot moist tropical weather.

We arrive in a small city- the last stop before hidroelectrica and the end of the paved road. There, we eat lunch, then the drive continues on a super narrow dirt road with space for one car only, with steep wall on one side and deep drop-off on the other- scary and dangerous. Everyone is freaking out! The Serbian girl wants to get off the bus and walk the rest of the road- she is next to the window and the drop-off of the cliff is just inches away.

Happily, we don’t collide with any other vehicle coming against us and we don’t drop in the canyon. We arrive at the hidroelectrica at around 4 p.m., two hour before sunset. We have at least two hours and a half to walk to Aguas Calientes- the village at the foot of Machu Picchu, so we better hurry up. We start run-waking marathon style together with a hundred other tourists from dozens of other mini-buses, along the railroad tracks. Backpacker’s exodus.

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Ivo and Maya walking on the railroad to Machu Picchu

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Aguas Calientes

We reach the town of Aguas Calientes always walking on the railroad tracks, soaked from the inevitable rain, waving a middle finger at the half-empty super-expensive train for rich tourists that passes us with a whistle. We find the cheapest possible hotel (US$ 20 per night, room for 3 people), take shower, eat dinner (US$ 10 for 3 people, fixed menu at a restaurant) and sleep. Here, near the main square, we meet a blond hairless Inca dog and we buy our Machu Picchu admission tickets ( total US$90 for the three of us). No matter where you buy your admission tickets, the price is the same, as long as you don’t get an all-inclusive guided tour, which is totally not worth it.

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Entrance to Aguas Calientes

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A blond hairless Inca dog

Machu Picchu

The next morning we walk across the Urubamba River and hike for about two hours up a steep mountain instead of taking the six-dollar bus that brings tourists right to the entrance of the Lost City. The hike is steep, the views are priceless. Ivo and Maya use the trail, but for me going vertically up proves more difficult, than  the dirt road for the buses. It’s longer, but easier on the heart.

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Thousands and thousands of tourists from every corner of the world have invaded the green mountain, where the most famous Inca site is. It’s hard to see the ruins from so many tourists and so many staff strictly controlling the crowds. There is a mean uniformed guy monitoring every corner telling us which direction we are allowed or not allowed to walk, where we can step or not step, how to pose and how not to pose for a picture. All this commotion can really spoil the experience. Guided groups block paths and sites, older or overweight tourists slow down the human flow up and down stairs, domesticated photogenic llamas who are the place’s only permanent residents roam freely among the visitors, enjoying special privileges, allowed to graze in places, where no tourist have the right to set foot.

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Mira with a llama, Machu Picchu

Most people leave the site around noon, as they have to travel back to Cuzco the same day. We have reserved our hotel room in Aguas Calientes for one more night. Thus, we are able to stay on Machu Picchu until 4 p.m., when most visitors are gone. Only then we are able to appreciate and enjoy this magnificent archeological site bathed in golden afternoon light, almost deserted.

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Machu Picchu

Built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti around 1450, Machu Picchu features spectacular workmanship at a dramatic site. The city sits in a saddle between the two mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, with a stunning view down the Urubamba valley. Its architecture was adapted to its surroundings. It has a water supply from springs that cannot be blocked easily, and enough land to grow food for about four times as many people as ever lived there. The hillsides leading to it were terraced, to provide more farmland to grow crops. The terraces reduced soil erosion and protected against landslides and invasions. There are nearly 200 structures, of which the central most important ones were constructed using the classical Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls called ashtar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar. How the enormous stones were moved and placed up the steep mountains remains uncertain.

The primary archeological treasures of Machu Picchu are the Inti Watana ritual stone, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows, all three dedicated to the Inca’s supreme deity- the Sun God.

Shortly after the Spanish invasion, the site was abandoned and almost completely forgotten, until 1911, when an American historian led by a local farmer, discovered the ruins and initiated their exploration, restoration and preservation.

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Machu Picchu Interesting Facts

  • Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, both cultural and natural, described as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”.
  • Since its discovery in 1911, growing numbers of tourists visit the site yearly, reaching 400,000 in 2000.
  • Machu Picchu is one of the most important archaeological sites in South America, one of the most visited tourist attractions in Latin America, and the most visited in Peru.
  • In the late 1990s, the Peruvian government granted concessions to allow the construction of a cable car and a luxury hotel, including a tourist complex with boutiques and restaurants and a bridge to the site. Many people protested the plans, including Peruvians and foreign scientists, saying that more visitors would pose a physical burden on the ruins.
  • A no-fly zone exists above the area.
  • UNESCO is considering putting Machu Picchu on its List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • In January 2010, heavy rain caused flooding buried or washed away roads and railways to Machu Picchu, trapping more than 2,000 locals and more than 2,000 tourists, later airlifted out. Machu Picchu was temporarily closed, reopening on 1 April 2010.
  • Nude tourism is a recent trend, to the dismay of Peruvian officials. In several incidents, tourists were detained for posing for nude pictures or streaking across the site. Peru’s Ministry of Culture denounced these acts for threatening Peru’s cultural heritage. Cusco’s Regional Director of Culture increased surveillance to end the practice.
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We didn’t see any nude tourists on Machu Picchu, but w witnessed the increased surveillance and we still had the feeling of something very wrong happening there with so much influx of visitors. With the world population constantly increasing and tourism becoming faster and more affordable to people worldwide, this most popular Peruvian destination has become more crowded than Disney World during summer vacation. Hopefully the Peruvian government will come up with a better plan for preserving this fragile unique site for future generations, instead of trying to exploit it for profit.

We leave Machu Picchu with mixed feelings.

Machu Picchu Photos

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Maya with her new poncho at Machu Picchu

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Titicaca- The Lake From Our Dreams

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Copacabana

From La Paz, we take the bus to Copacabana- a touristy town on the shore of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Again we look for cheap accommodation, but all the hostels are full with backpackers mainly from Chile, as apparently the schools and university in Chile are on vacation in February and everyone is visiting neighboring affordable Bolivia. In the backyards of some hostels, backpackers have even organized small camping sites, but this time we don’t have our tent, so we keep looking for a cheap room. We finally find one in a dirty suspicious hostel- two beds, next to the common toilets, which is a disaster, but we take it for the night ($10.00 is too much for such a shitty place but we have no other option). We spend the afternoon looking around town: the massive white cathedral, the busy market, the beach on the lake. We can’t believe we are finally here. Lake Titicaca- the lake with the funny name with snowcapped mountains on the horizon, the lake from our childhood geography lessons, the lake from our dreams- is right at our feet, sparkling blue, peaceful, enchanted.

Copacabana

Copacabana

The Cathedral

The Cathedral

With an average depth of 100 meters, reaching some 280 meters at the deepest parts, lake Titicaca is the deepest highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 meters. It is the largest lake in South America located in the Andes Mountains on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Five major river systems and more than twenty other smaller streams feed into Lake Titicaca, and it has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated.

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Isla del Sol

The next morning, we take the ferry to Isla del Sol (The Sun Island). It’s raining and the sky is covered with grey clouds, but as soon as we reach the Island, the sky clears and the sun illuminates the most beautiful landscape: steep green hills and rocky shores, yellow-sand beaches and tiny stone houses- a fairytale land floating in an immense calm lake of blue water.

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Isla del Sol is one of the largest islands on the lake where, it was believed, the sun god was born. Instead of streets, there are narrow paths covered with flat rocks and mud winding between the houses of approximately 800 families, up and down the slopes. The main economic activities are fishing and farming using agricultural terraces on the hills, with tourism picking up speed. There are over 180 ruins on the island, with the main attraction- a sacrificial table, where human blood was offered to the Sun God in the times of the Incas.

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We hike to the sacrificial table and back (about 3 hours both directions) admiring the gentle white and purple flowers of the potatoes blooming on the hills, the tranquility of the land and the immensity of the lake, we eat avocado and egg sandwiches which two women are selling to tourist in front of their house, and we take the ferry back to Copacabana just in time to get on the evening bus to Puno- another city on the shores of the big lake, but on the Peruvian side of the border.

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Sacrificial Table

Sacrificial Table

Floating Uros Islands

We are back in Peru. In Puno, we find a new clean hostel- private shower with hot water, internet and two double beds for $10.00. We rest, and early in the morning we are off to the docks again. We find the ferry to the Floating Uros Islands and Isla Taquile and once again we are exploring Lake Titicaca, this time from the Peruvian side.

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The boat ride is spectacular. We are navigating through channels among swampy waters covered with tall sharp grass sticking out of the shallow lake, birds panicking as the boat approaches, flapping wings, screaming and running in all directions on the lake’s surface. Flamingos fly overhead. After a few hours we reach the Floating Uros Islands- a group of some 40 artificial islands made of floating totora reeds.

Floating Uros Islands

Floating Uros Islands

The ancient Uros were the owners of the lake and water- people with black blood who did not feel the cold. They were the Sons of The Sun. In the times of the Inca invasions, the islanders would simply lift anchor and drift together with their homes to a safe corner of the lake. Yet, they were conquered and made slaves. Today, the remaining Uros people lost their languages but kept many of their traditional ways. They still build their boats and islands using bundles of dried totora reeds abundant in the shallows of the lake, adding solar panels for electricity. (Dry reeds are very flammable, and fire and diesel generators are not too practical anymore.) The dense roots of the plants keep growing after the construction of the islands and interweave to form a natural one-meter layer called Khili that support the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. The lower layer of reeds rapidly rots away, so new reeds are added to the top every three months. The islands last about thirty years.

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The place has become a major tourist attraction losing much of its authenticity due to the fact that the few hundred remaining locals have become businessmen relying more and more on the tourist dollar, waiting for the next tourist boat to arrive, organizing tours, demonstrations and craft markets. Yet, it is still a unique place worth the visit.

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Isla Taquile

Next, we continue to Isla Taquile, where the festivities for the February carnival are still under way and we witness another festival.

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Taquile is a hilly island with an area of less than 6 square kilometers and was used as a prison during the Spanish Colony. In 1970 it became property of the Taquile people, who have inhabited the island ever since – around 2,200 people. The highest point of the island is 4,050 meters above sea level and the main village is at 3,950 m. Similarly to Isla del Sol in Bolivia, here are found some pre-Inca ruins, and agricultural terraces on the hillsides.

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With no cars and hotels, life on Taquile is still largely unchanged by modern civilization and tourism, and the place is truly authentic and wonderful. Everyone wears traditional clothes. “Taquile and Its Textile Art” were proclaimed “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. Here knitting is big part of the culture and is done by the men ONLY, starting at a very early age. The women make yarn and weave.

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Taquileans are also known for having created an innovative, community-controlled tourism model, offering home stays, transportation, and restaurants to tourists. Ever since tourism started coming to Taquile in the seventies the taquleans have slowly lost control over the mass day-tourism operated by non-Taquileans. The Taquileans have thus developed alternative tourism models, including lodging for groups, cultural activities and local guides, who have recently completed a 2-year training program. Furthermore, the local Travel Agency Munay Taquile has been established to regain control over tourism. (from Wikipedia)

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This means, that your boat ride to the island and your guide will be locals from Taquile, and all the dollars you spend on your visit will go 100% straight to the local community- AWESOME! Here, we meet a local guy named Delfin, who can accommodate visitors in his home for an overnight visit and awesome local meals and provide a truly authentic experience, so if you are in the area- give him a call, he is a fine sweet and very reliable guy delfin18ani@hotmail.com

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Many people later asked us if we had to choose one destination: Copacabana in Bolivia with Isla del Sol or Puno with the Floating Uros Islands and Isla Taquile, which one would it be. We always tell them, that these two destinations are very different and are both worth the visit.

Lake Titicaca

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