Taquile Island, another jewel of Titicaca Lake
Set within Lake Titicaca, Taquile Island has a colorful history and a distinct culture.
Taquileans are so well-known for intricate and well-made handwoven textiles that in 2005 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared them to be a “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage.” These textiles are a character-defining element of their culture .
Taquile: Nature, culture and knitters
Taquile island is home of a Quechua population of about 2,000 people who are mainly farmers, fishermen and above all renowned weavers.
By the age of seven, boys are proficient knitters. In fact, the entire family is involved in knitting or weaving. Children knit “chullos” (hats), gloves and finger puppets of condors and llamas, common animals of the Andes. Women hand-spin the soft fleece of the sheep and alpaca into fine yarn for sweaters and blankets.
The island offers beautiful landscapes of hills, stone archways and, of course, the blue water of lake Titicaca around it.
The locals grow crops like corn, beans and quinoa on the pre-Incan terraces that cover its hilly terrain. Thanks to a largely vegetarian diet, the locals are said to live an average of 90-100 years.
The island is largely untouched by modernity with not even a bicycle to be seen in the island.
In July, villagers observe the Feast of Santiago Apostol with music and dancing. Whether celebrating weddings or religious holidays, there is always a reason to enjoy the folk music and dance that is an important part of island life.
Taquileños run their society based on community collectivism and on the Inca moral code „ama sua, ama llulla, ama qhilla“ (Quechua for “do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy”).
The island has a radio station and is equipped with generators. Islanders have elected to use solar panels to generate energy.
Taquile Island is located 36 Km (22 miles) away from the city of Puno. It takes a 2 and half-hour boat ride to arrive in the island’s main dock.
The island highest elevation is 4100 m (13451 feet); it has a length of 5 Km (3.10 miles) and a width of 1.5 Km (0.93 miles). To walk across the island takes about two hours.
Tours to Taquile island
You can enjoy Taquile in 2 forms:
A full day Excursion:
These tours has a departure in Puno and begin with a visit to the floating island Uros before continuing to Taquile.
During the visit to Taquile visitors follow enjoyable paths that gradually take them to the main village or to other more remote sectors of Taquile. These other paths of access to the main village allow you to catch spectacular views of Lake Titicaca.
Many tours try to avoid climbing up the 535 stairs that take the visitors to the main village, but it is unavoidable to walk the stairs down to go back to the main dock. So it is very important you have a good physical condition and good boots to walk.
Also a demonstration of traditional Andean weaving is the highlight of this visit.
A 2 days Excursion with a Overnight in Taquile:
If you decide for an overnight experience in Taquile Island, (Normally with a previous visit to Uros floating islands) you can take your time and visit interesting sights with a host family, such as monuments to Pachamama (Mother Earth) , which are especially fascinating during Taquile’s wild festivals.
Enjoy the sunset and sunrise. 😉
Staying with a family gives you the chance that a local family will open its doors to you and you’ll get a glimpse into the Taquile lifestyle and the family’s dynamics, all topped off with a delicious homemade meal.
Additionally, you must know that the island’s tourism is operated exclusively by its inhabitants, so you’ll get first-hand knowledge from locals who know the area.
We highly recommend that you book your tours with a serious and formal travel agency. Please get informed about the company where you are going to take your tour in order to ensure that the tours are realized in a sustainable way and if handling is in accordance with the respect of the local rules and activities of the island.
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