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Is it possible to do a boat tour on Lake Titicaca? Where should I start? And are there roundtrips possible? Is it recommened to do a boat tour there as a tourist? aAnd can I see anything special?

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5 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

We do it from Peru side. You have to go to Puno port and buy one of the excursions they sell that could be just for a lake trip or you can stay one night with a family in Taquile or Amantani islands. That option is very recommendable.

You also have the option to talk with a fisherman and negotiate a better price, but my advice is to buy a tourist excursion, because it's not expensive and nobody there speaks English so you may end up visiting a beach or going to Bolivia because of a misspelling.

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"Can I see anything special?" You will see how these people live every day without electricity and some other comforts of modern life.

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Besides the trips from Puno the other popular boat ride on Lake Titicaca is to go to Isla Del Sol, an island on the Bolivian side. You can either do a day trip from the Bolivian town of Copacabana close to the Peruvian border, or stay on the island in one of the numerous basic guest houses. You can easily spend a day walking around the island and go swimming. There are some Inca ruins as well but I did not find them very impressive.

Isla del Sol and Lake Titicaca

Photo credit Peter Hahndorf

The boat ride itself is about an hour from what I remember, and it does help if you have a sunny day when visiting the "Island of the Sun"

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The Isla del Sol is really amazing! one of the most beautiful places I've went. There are some good cheap guest houses to stay, and you have to stay at least two days to fully explore it. The trip from Copacabana is the best way. –  Diego Dec 20 '11 at 5:15
    
The Isla del Sol trek that crosses the island from north to south is a tourist trap. In 3 different places you have village borders where you have to pay a local tax to cross the land. In december 2010 it was about 5 or 10 soles at each point. So, I advise to avoid the main trekking path and instead take alternate path that goes through villages on the east side. But it's longer. –  dolmen Dec 21 '11 at 13:05
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Very possible. Last year, with a friend, we bussed from La Paz, Bolivia in the early morning to Puno, Peru, on the west side of the lake. By mid afternoon we'd checked into our hostel and booked and were on a trip to the Uro Islands on the lake.

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We had a storm on the lake as we were leaving the islands, which added to the dramatic landscape and scenery.

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For a description of the tour and my trip, I did a write-up on a blog page.

I should point out that once on the islands, I've never felt like I was in such a tourist trap as much as that moment. They're very cool, and worth seeing, but you really felt like you were (And you literally were!) trapped on an island with pushy sellers.

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Oh, a pity the bad experience. It's an amazing place. We don't had such "tourist trap" so enjoyed our stay (we sleeped in the island, I don't know if this makes the trip different). –  Ivan Dec 19 '11 at 22:58
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Yeah, so did my friend who is convinced the entire thing has no history, but was created (story and all) as a tourist trap ;) I'm not quite that cynical - while it was a tourist trap, it was still really interesting and the show that the lightning storm put on on the lake was amazing. Plus I've always wanted to visit the lake, so the whole day was a huge highlight for me :) Didn't bother me, I can usually find the positive in any situation when travelling. Usually. –  Mark Mayo Dec 19 '11 at 23:17
    
Now that you mention the storm, I remember that the night at Taquile I saw the most wonderful sky in my life. A pity my camera cannot capture that sky –  Ivan Dec 20 '11 at 8:59
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I did a 2 days boat tour with a home stay on Lago Titicaca this February.

  1. The boat leaves Puno at around 9am and we arrive at Taquille Island about 2.5 hours later.
  2. Taquille Island looks like a very peaceful paradise where the community leads a very simple life. The altitude will start weighing on you as you climb towards the middle of the island if you haven't been acclimatised yet. We had lunch on the island and it was delicious. They plant quinoa locally there and we had quinoa soup as a starter followed by fresh fish from the lake. Around 2 pm or so, we started to climb down to the other side of the island where our boat was waiting for us.
  3. Another hour of boat ride and we reach the peninsula where we have our homestay. I got to live and experience living as the local people in this region as well as embracing their culture. There was a dance at night and you will have dinner with your homestay family. I recommend you bring a Spanish dictionary or at least learn some Spanish words. Given my limited to non existent Spanish, I was forced to communicate with the homestay family by flaying my arms around and pointing at things around me.
  4. On Day 2, we say goodbye to the family and leaves at 8am to Uros, the floating islands. That took around 3 hours by boat. The floating islands made of reeds looks out of this world, it's quite a sight to behold. After landing on one of the man made island, a local will give you the history and how it was built. After that, it's another hour by boat to Puno, we also had lunch on the boat. We were back in town by 12:30 to 13:00.

Visting and living on the island is probably the best and most rewarding experience if you are visiting Puno and Lake Titicaca.

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Note also that spanish is not the native language of the locals, so even if you speak spanish the exchange will be limited. But interesting anyway. I have mixed feelings about the evening and night I spent on Armantani because locals are now clearly relying on tourism and the exchange becomes too much formatted: they give you what they expects the tourist expects, based on what they have seen of the previous tourists. –  dolmen Dec 21 '11 at 13:13
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I am visiting Lake Titicaca next week and will be taking a tour offered by All Ways Travel. I chose them based on the recommendations from my friends who have taken Lake Titicaca tours with them. Lonely planet and other travel guide books also recommended them. Again, I am yet to go there so take my advice with a pinch of salt!

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