Very important side note: Every time I type Taquile Island, it autocorrects to Tequila Island. I’ve had a rough start to the week, and as I’m writing this it’s only 10am on a Wednesday, but I’m seriously debating pulling out some Jose and doing a few shots.
I had elected to go on a Full Day Lake Titicaca tour because, well, I love boats.
So after visiting the debatably-inhabited Uros Floating Islands, my tour group made its way to the bigger and much less controversial island, Taquile.
This island is of a more usual, natural, and solid construction (rock, soil, etc). Basically, its just a regular island, not of the man-made floating variety.
It’s a steep (and high altitude style exhausting) hike to the center square of Taquile Island. Going slow and taking breaks really helps, especially if you have to shed some woolly layers, while also providing a convenient excuse to pause and take in the idyllic surroundings.
It feels like walking back in time, as there are no motorized vehicles in sight, only sheep and their farmers.
The main square is another blast from the past, surrounded by the church, a gallery, and a knitting shop. The top level of the dilapidated building holding the knitting shop offers some interesting birds-eye views of the island, so popping up to the top is a necessity, either before or after stopping in to see some knit wares.
view from the top
The knitting collaborative does textile art that has been declared by UNESCO an “intangible cultural heritage of mankind”.
Interestingly, on Taquile, it’s usually the men who do the majority of the knitting. Women do a bit of weaving and tend to the sheep (there aren’t any alpacas on this island), but the guys are in charge of the knitting, starting from childhood.
They’re really into it. It’s not uncommon to see gentlemen walking around with knitting needles poking out of their shirt pocket.
Hearing that men are into knitting was unusual for me, as my solidly ingrained American gender role stereotypes tell me that grannies like to knit, and a few exceptional wannabe hipsters like myself.
To be honest, though, I was the unusual one to the villagers. I happened to be wearing my bright teal (aqua? turquoise? not sure what you’d call this color) Vibrams and the locals were getting an absolute kick out of them, pointing and giggling and calling friends over to look. Like, check out that chick who has shoes with TOES! I don’t mind that kind of attention (I wear toe shoes, come on, I’m used to it) so I wiggled my toes to increased bursts of laughter.
After the toe show died down, our tour group had lunch in a local place (there was even a vegetarian option) as the rain started to drizzle.
The tour ended with an easy walk through the hillside back to the boat, where the waves were slowly increasing in intensity, and the sky had darkened significantly.
Necessary Details for the Lake Titicaca Floating Islands & Taquile Trip
I went on the Full Day “Titicaca Uros Floating Islands & Taquile” trip with Peru Hop and Find Local Trips. The cost was just $25, including lunch. I was picked up from my hotel around 7am, and returned around 5pm (roundtrip transfer to and from the dock included).
The tour included a stop to the Uros Floating Islands (read more about it here) and Taquile Island.
If you have less time, there’s a 2 hour trip available, and if you have more time (and want more of an authentic local experience) there’s a 2 day trip with a homestay available. If I could do it again, I would definitely go for the 2 day overnight trip.
If you’re wondering what to pack, I’ll have a packing guide up shortly.
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