Fiesta on Taquile island

Our trip on Lake Titicaca last Wednesday continued on by slow boat from the Uros peoples’ island towards Taquile island, a further 90minutes away. With the sun out this was a pretty laid back journey. Our guide explained there was a ‘Carnaval’ fiesta on Taquile that day, which we’d be able to watch after lunch, and he’d be participating.

We arrived at Taquile’s ‘El otro puerto’ and had a relatively gentle walk up to almost the top of the island for our lunch. There was a lot of agricultural terracing on the island, and some sheep, pigs, cows, all very picturesque! We passed numerous island people dressed up in their local costume, preparing for the fiesta. Everything seemed very chilled and friendly. We had lunch at a local restaurant with stunning views out over the lake – veggie options were provided, including an excellent quinoa & veg soup. Over lunch our guide not only got dressed up for the fiesta, but also told us about his peoples customs.

Taquile has been lived on for thousands of years. Over time different tribes and empires have controlled it. The Inca’s had it for a while and introduced the Quechua language, which is still spoken. Then of course the Spanish invaders took it and enforced their own twisted morals.

In the late 1930’s the indigenous people of the island managed to ‘buy back’ their own island, and run and control it in a way they wanted. More recently they have managed to control the tourist industry’s incursions to their home. They live fairly collectively with their own rules and customs. There are no police, vehicles nor dogs on the island, and they have their own procedures for resolving any problems. Their 3 key rules are ‘love, learn, and work’. They generate their own electricity now from solar, and pump fresh water up from below the island.

Around 2000 people live on this small island, approx 7 x 1.5km, in what appears to be a fairly harmonious and idealistic way, with a very high level of control over their own affairs. The fiesta we were invited to observe in their main square was a very colourful and lively affair (until it rained), and at no time were we expected to buy anything. We were pretty impressed! Here are some pics of the island and fiesta.

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