Weave your way through the channels between the infamous floating islands of Uros, and just beyond is the island made famous by their intricate knitting and textile weaving, Taquile. About thirty miles from Puno, or an hour-and-a-half boat ride, Taquile is a fun island for exploring travelers.
Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca is rich in history. The Spanish at one time used the island as an Alcatraz-type prison. Today, it is home to more than three thousand native Taquilenos. These natives speak the national tribal language of Peru, Quechua. They are an agricultural community of corn, bean, and quinoa growers who utilize the terraces that were built pre-Incan civilization. Mainly due to a diet nearly entirely vegetarian, Taquilenos have an average lifespan of almost a hundred years. Taquile remains untouched by modernism. Bicycles are rarely seen, and cars are non-existent.
A moral code of the Incans says, “Don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t be lazy.” The Taquilenos live by this code. Men and women work together to create the thriving community in which they live. Men are taught at a very young age how to knit, which will eventually become their means of contribution; the women weaving. Men are known to knit hats that reflect their stage in life: a hat that contains a section of white means he is not betrothed, while a solid red hat means that the man is married.
These works and traditions earned the island of Taquile the exquisite honor of UNESCO’s title of Masterpieces of Oral or Intangible Human Heritage. The souvenirs you’ll purchase here are testaments to the pride of workmanship that all Taquilenos put into their works. They do not export their goods; you must visit to appreciate.
You can get to Taquile via a guided tour boat. You’ll be dropped at the pier; after which you will take a walk on the path leading into the village. There will be ample time to admire the many sights and views along the way. Lunch can be had at any one of several family-owned restaurants serving authentic Taquileno cuisines. After lunch, your tour concludes with a walk to the center of the village where you can purchase the Taquileno crafts.
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