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Arrive in Puno at any time. There are no planned activities today, so check into your hotel and enjoy the city. Overnight in Puno. Sitting on the shores of Lake Titicaca and located at 3830m above sea level, Puno’s weather can be extreme with very cold nights and strong sun during the day (don’t worry, if you get cold, buy an alpaca sweater from the market —they are inexpensive). Puno is also known for it's wealth of traditional dances: there are up to 100 different varieties, usually performed in the street processions celebrating Catholic feast days. If you are fortunate enough to be visiting at the right time you may even catch one of these celebrations. A popular optional activity in Puno is a visit to the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site.
Head out by boat this morning across Lake Titicaca, one of the world's highest lakes. Measuring 170km (106 miles) in length, it is the largest lake in South America and is also the largest lake in the world above 2000m (6560 ft). Our first stop on Lake Titicaca is at the floating islands of the Uros people. The Uros began their unusual floating existence centuries ago in an effort to isolate themselves from the Colla and Inca tribes. Sadly, the Uros language has died out, and today the islanders speak Aymara due to intermarriage with Aymara-speaking clans. Today about 300 families live on the islands, however their numbers are slowly declining. The Totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake are used for making everything from the islands themselves to the model boats that the islanders sell. The islands are made up of layers upon layers of reeds; as the layers closest to the water start to rot, they are replaced with fresh reeds on top. The reeds are also used to build their boats, which if constructed well will last up to 6 months. For the night we split into smaller groups and billet into Peruvian family homes to experience their style of living first-hand, a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience, including a local meal. Overnight homestay.
Continue exploring Lake Titicaca today on a short boat ride to neighbouring Taquile Island. Tour the ruins on Taquile, departing for Puno in the early afternoon. Overnight in Puno. The people of Taquile Island’s unique culture, style of dress and lifestyle make for a memorable visit. The men of the community do all the knitting, as this is strictly a male domain, while the women do the spinning. High quality, locally knitted goods are available for purchase at various cooperatives on the island. Despite the short distance that separates the two islands, Amantaní is quite distinct. Its soil is a rich terra cotta red, due to the high iron deposits, and the colour contrasts brightly with the deep azure blue of the lake and sky and the greenery of the local crops.
Depart Puno at any time.