So, we decided to take a trip to Lake Titicaca and stay with an indigenous family on one of the islands.
This blog will be separated into two parts. This first recap will be about the ride from Cusco to Puno and the historic stops along the way. The blog posted after this one will cover our overnight stay on Lake Titicaca.
For this trip, we booked a tour package that included the tour bus (Turistico), tour guide, two nights at a hotel in Puno, all meals on the lake and it also included five historic stops along the way to Puno. We also got to enjoy a guided boat tour to the floating islands and participate in a homestay for one night with an indigenous family on the island of Amantani. Finally, we would return by boat to Puno (with a stop on the island of Taquile). The total cost for two people for this entire tour was just under $180. We briefly looked at taking the train instead, but the round trip cost for the train was almost $500 per person.
Our first stop was the quiet little town of Andahuaylillas. We were taken to the San Pedro Church which is also known as the "Sistine Chapel of the Americas." It was built in the 1600s and is known for its elaborate murals.
We did not get to see inside this beautiful church because it was closed due to the census taking place that day all across Peru. Every citizen of the country was on "house arrest" until the census taker had come to their home to count the inhabitants. Only those with special permission (tour operators) from the gov't were allowed out.
As we pulled into the bus station, our tour guide said that everyone's hotel would send someone to pick us up. Well, who do you think were the only two people who did not have their name on a 'welcome sign' when we arrived? Yes, that would be us. Left out of the loop. Again.
The bus company was very helpful and none of the employees left until we were taken care of. They called our hotel several times and even our original tour representative back in Cusco. After an hour's wait, finally someone came to pick us up. We were very good sports about the whole thing, but we still felt a little agitated after a very long day.
After getting settled into our hotel we found a little local restaurant (the only one open after blocks of searching) and proceeded to devour an entire roasted chicken and two large beers to quell our travel blues.
Click on the image below for captions and a larger image.