I spent two nights at the floating islands of the Uros people, 3810 m from the sea level in the Lake Titicaca. Staying at “Kamisaraki Inn” was one of the highlights of my trip to Peru!
To reach “Kamisaraki Inn” you must first get to Puno. Most guides will say that you must ask around for Silverio Lujano Jilapa, but you can also arrange with his son Ruben by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), he will meet you at the bus station. Than you go by car until a place that looks just the middle of the road (specially if you arrive by night as I did), the Lake Titicaca at one side of it… until you start to notice the Los Uros’ boats at the shore. That’s how you’ll get to the Kamisaraki island.
Arriving at the middle of the night makes the ride even prettier, traveling on a little boat only with the stars shining above your head… it was a great welcome from the Lake Titicaca!
The Uros’ islands are made of totora plant and they are actually floating. You can fell the island moving. I found it great for sleeping but it can be weird when you are awake, specially when you feel your feet sinking while you are walking!
Los Uros people live in this islands since pre-incan times, they no longer speak the Uros’ language but aymara and they live traditionally from fishing activities around the lake and the exchange of goods with other people, “el trueco” . Now days, most of this people live from tourism. They make the islands to host tourists, either to sleep for some nights or to spend the afternoon. They embraced new activities like handicraft in order to make some pieces to sell to the tourists, arrange their islands with pretty totora decoration and even made feline heads to their totora boats (balsas). The tourists love it and the result is really amazing. The islands look lovely!
After sleeping a night at one of the totora-made small rooms, the next day we decided to get away a bit from the main tourist circuits and went for a ride with Silverio. First, we filled the boat with goods: rice, fruit, drinks and sweets for the kids and than we head for the islands were live the people that decided not to embrace tourism. They still live from fishing and have a very though live since the lake isn’t giving much to it’s people now days. We had the pleasure to meet the “abuelita”, a woman said to be more than 100 years. The happiness our presents brought, specially for the young kids was one of the best moments of the entire trip.
Around here, kids know how to ride a boat at 5 years old in order to go to school and the boats are their major toys so don’t be surprised to see a young kid riding a boat with his friends while you can’t even stand in your feet on it!
A stay at one of Los Uros’ island is a must do when traveling in Peru. Kamisaraki island is great for it’s nice people. Ruben is a great guide and can tell you all about Los Uros’ culture, both past and present. You have to keep in mind that the lake can be a very cold place, there is no shower and toilets are… well, see for your self! I was happy to arrive at a normal hotel room and bathroom after but staying at Kamisaraki was one of the best experiences ever!