Part of the two days excursion to Lake Titicaca was a home stay with a local family in Taquile Island. I lived a day with a local family helping them out in their daily tasks such a picking quinoa. Yeah, and tried to play football with the locals. The elevation made playing a bit more challenging than normally.
Taquile island is a hilly island located 45 kilometers east of Puno in Lake Titicaca. Life on Taquile is still largely unchanged by mainland modernities. Culture is very much alive on Taquile, which can be seen in the traditional clothes everyone wears.
During my south American tour, one of the highlights of the trip was two days excursion to Lake Titicaca. I got to visit an artificial Uros island and meet the Uro people still living in traditional way.
Lake Titicaca is the biggest lake in South America and it is also considered as the “highest navigable lake” in the world. It resides in both sides of the border of Bolivia and Peru at the surface elevation of 3812 metres. The Uros islands or the “Floating Islands” are small manmade islands constructed by the Uros people from layers of cut totora, a thick buoyant reed that grows abundantly in the shallows of Lake Titicaca.
I met this little cutie somewhere in the middle of Bolivian Altiplano when we stopped for lunch. The curiosity of a child is universal; Your your age, your gender, the colour of you hair doesn’t matter. Kids are kids where ever you go.
All most touching the sky, at the elevation of more than 4000 m above sea level in Bolivian highlands lies Potosí. A city with glorious mining past, present and future.
Cerro Rico de Potosi is the world’s largest silver deposit and has been mined since the sixteenth century. Walking around you can feel in your nose the fine dust from the mines and sun in your face. The streets of Potosí and city itself is rather modest but somehow it has certain appeal, at least if you are interested to visit a still working mine. I was too chicken to go but instead I wondered around and explored the bolivian culture and spanish colonial history.
Potosí, one of the highest cities in the world, is located at the elevation of 4,090 metres above sea level. For centuries is was the spanish colonial mint. Potosí lies at the foot of the Cerro de Potosí or Cerro Rico (“rich mountain”). The Cerro Rico is the reason for Potosí’s historical importance, since it was the major supply of silver for Spain during the period of the New World Spanish Empire.
Imagine that above you there is a sky that so deeply blue it hurst your eyes and under your feet, there is crispy white salt as far as you can see. You could be dreaming (or as a Finn found it, in a frozen lake somewhere in Finland on a sunny winter day…) or in a Dali´s painting. It is maybe the most bizarre natural setting you can imagine.
In Bolivian Altiplano lies Salar de Uyuni, the world’s most largest salt flat in Bolivian Altiplano near the crest of the Andes at an elevation of 3,656 meters above sea level. Salar de Uyuni used to be a botton of a prehistoric lake or lakes. There is even an island, Incahuasi, in the middle of all this surreal wonderland.
I would describe Bolivia as crazy beautiful. The altitude, the climate and its geography creates unique beauty and peaceful flow of life added with touch of some craziness which makes Bolivia South American.
La Paz rightfully reflects this Bolivian character – It is crazy beautiful. La Paz is set in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu river and surrounded by the high mountains of the Altiplano. This geographical location gives La Paz a very unique setting; it feels like the city is climbing the mountains surrounding it. City tour in La Paz is demanding effort, not only because of the constant hills up and down, but also because it is located roughly 3,650 m above sea level. This makes Paz is the highest capital city in the world.
I was not the only one in love with the Iguazu Falls. Hundreds of different butterflies where dancing in the air in Iguazu Falls National Park.
Separate post on Iguazu Falls coming up later.