NOTE: This article is part of a series of 12 articles on Peru and the many beautiful aspects of this country. There is a post for each day I spent there, although some may not be relative to that particular day. I intend to post two articles a week for this series, on Thursdays and Mondays.
Taquile is the largest natural island in the waters of Lake Titicaca. From here you can see the shores of two countries, Peru and Bolivia. It is off the beaten path of most of the tourist destinations in Peru, the closest being Uros and the other floating reed islands, but nonetheless is still a gorgeous and cultural place to visit. This was also one of the highest elevation places we traveled to, making it a bit difficult to breath, but it was the bluest sky I had ever seen.
The main source of profit in Taquile is the handwoven products. Being famous for their knitted goods, weaving is instilled into many aspects of daily life. Men begin learning how to knit in early childhood, as do women learning how to spin and dye the wool. Nearly everyone wears wide woven belts, or chumpis, which are woven by some of the women. Chuyos, a type of hat are also frequently worn by the men to denote their marital status. Depending on which side the top of the hat is placed, it will note on whether the man is single or married. Women also have a similar system, with the pom moms on their skirt marking their availability.
However, marriage is not the same as most of the West views it. In Taquile, couples will live together for years and possibly even have kids before getting married. This is to see if they truly want to live a life with one another before committing to. If they decide to split it off, the kids will typically go with a parent of the same sex, although its is becoming more frequent for them to live with both sides of the family. Because of this, divorce rates are exceptionally low.
We spent most of our time in the main square, browsing at the knitted goods and overlooking the massive lake (which was very cold by the way!). People meandered to and from, but it was a very quiet place. A few girls came to sell us handmade bracelets, of which I brought a few back for friends.
Before we left we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. Here we were easily amused by the owners who launched the tops off of soda bottles (more altitude equaled more pressure) and explained more about their life. They have continued using the terraces for centuries and still speak the Inca languages, Quechua. In addition, they create nearly everything from hand, including shampoo, which is made from a local plant. Watching them complete these talented actions was incredibly fascinating. I also loved the food, which was the typical Peruvian cuisine, plus local fish.
From there our adventures ended and we boated back to the hotel where we played pingpong until we couldn’t stay up any longer and prepared to depart the next day. Puno was a great place to end the trip and relax before the big flight home.