QuickPeek: Too many Buses. Hiking. Island life. Vegan Food

Yay, back in Peru after more than a year! We decided to take an early morning bus out of Copacabana and after a good b’fast at the hostal Joshua, we walked up to the main square and picked up the 9AM bus to Puno. After a short stop at the immigration which, kindly, was painless and free entry for 90 days, we rode into Puno. This was a Sunday and the end of a long weekend too and Puno was deserted. I had contacted a Couchsurfing host in town and I had to wait to hear back from him. After hanging about and finding the only cafe that was semi open, I got message that he would be unable to host and we decided to head to the next town over, where we might be lucky with another host.

We took a collectivo to Juliaca and arrived around 4 pm or so. I was super hungry and given there was a vegetarian restaurant in town, we headed there first to have a good meal. The food was pretty decent and once we had our fill, we headed to meet our host. Juan was a really nice chap and caring and he was the caretaker of a small sport complex. He let us sleep in one of the store rooms in the sports club. It was right in the centre of town and pretty close to the bus station and the veggie restaurant! Sweet!

The night was pretty cold and when we met Juan in the morning and asked him for advice, he suggested we should go and visit the Isla Amantani in Lago Titicaca. This island was known for the twin hills of Pachamama and Pachatata and Krista had planned to get there at some point. We decided to have a bit of b’fast and took a collectivo to a small town called Capachica from where we were able to take a ferry across. Along the way, we met Esther, a lady who was from Amantani and she invited us to her home where she had a small home run B&B.

Amantani was an interesting place. The community decided to embrace tourism and instead of building huge hotels and resorts, many of the families decided to build small accommodation and the community decided together, on a rotation basis, on where the tourists could stay. We seemed to have bypassed the system a little, but still ended up staying with a really lovely family in their home with full board. It was interesting that the food was primarily vegan, including Quinoa corn and a big variety of potatoes, things that they grow there!

The boatman was a bit of an ass and charged us double the standard fare of 5 soles and though I wanted to confront him, I decided to let go. We had a long hike up the hills with full packs to Esther’s palce. In the thin air, at 4000m and steep inclines, it was a bit of a tiring task. The island was maintained impeccably clean with well laid out trails all along. The only way to move about in this island was by foot and that just made it charming. The people were super nice and were eager to make sure we were not lost and everyone’s first question is “Which family are you staying with?” so that they can direct us in the right direction.

The couple of days at Amantani was really peaceful and was great to walk about the various trails and up the hills. After a couple of days, we decided to head back to Puno to get back on wifi and do some research on where to head to next. This time the boat was reasonable and we took a collectivo back to town. We were just in time for lunch and I had found a vegan restaurant in Puno to which we beelined to and had a nice meal and later found a pretty cheap hostel and decided to stay the night.

The Couchsurfing host in town, was unable to host us but he came into town to catch up for a while. Germain was a really nice chap and we chatted for a while as we walked about town and he gave some good advice on palces to visit. We decide to take a day and then head eastward towards the Amazonias as there was a town with some hot springs. So, may be, a bit of exploration is in the offing.

Track Notes

Expenses: SG$ 79.05
Comments: My arrangements and Puno and Juliaca didn't work perfect, but still managed to have a good time around.