I don’t have much to say about the city of Puno. We both wanted to check out the floating reed islands just outside of Puno and after some research we found Uros Khantati. During our research we discovered that due to heavy competition from the tour companies, locals of these islands received very little money. A local woman, Cristina Suaña Coila realized this and together with her family organized an authentic experience on their island where they cut out the tour operators and therefore were able to keep more of the profits.
The cost was S/ 165 each a night and this included pickup from our hostel, boat ride to the island, some lessons on the local history and their way of life, cultural events, fishing and 3 meals. After a few emails and the realization that English on the Island was very limited (Spanish, Quechua and Aymara are mostly spoken), Mel and I were on a small power boat to Uros Khantati.
When we arrived we were greeted by Cristina and shown to our room, which compared to our hostel in Puno was amazing. Solar panels powered the lights and even warmed water for the showers! The rooms were simple but nice, the beds were very comfortable and had lots of extra sheets to keep us warm as it gets rather cold on the lake at night.
After getting settled we went to meet the other guests. There were 2 Irish girls and a guy from the UK that would be staying the night. Also, some of the guests from the night before had opted to stay longer and joined us for some of the day’s meals and events. Luckily the family from the night before were multi-lingual which helped with the explanation of how the islands were constructed and the history of the people. The even let us dress up in the traditional oufits, did some dancing and took the big reed boat out for a spin.
I would highly recommend this experience to anyone wanting to see the Floating reed Islands of Lake Titicaca. Cristina prefers to have customers by referrals so contact her directly by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or if your Spanish is decent try their cell phone: (051) 951 695121 / 951 472355