Amantani Island is situated on Lake Titicaca at an elevation of over 3800m. It is home to the pre-Inca Aymara people and visitors can experience the traditional way of life on the island with an overnight stay with a local family.
Amantani Island is located about 4½ hours by boat from Puno and a trip to the island usually involves a visit to the floating read islands of Uros on the way, followed by a visit to Taquile Island the following day before returning to Puno. The local families rotate taking in visitors, and accommodation is assigned upon arriving on the island. Guest rooms tend to be the best rooms in the house (or outbuilding) but they are still quite basic. There may be limited, or no electricity and the guide may be in a different house as most families do not have enough room to house more than 2 guests. The meals served are simple but wholesome, usually based around potatoes, quinoa (Inca rice) and fish. It is a nice gesture to take fresh fruit, vegetables, bread or candles as a small gift. After guests are usually invited to a dance in the village meeting place.
On a 2-day trip visitors will first visit the floating islands of the Uros, descendants of a people who fled to the middle of the lake to escape conflict with the Collas and the Incas. These 42 small islands have been made by hand from totora reeds that grow in the shallow waters of the lake and they are now a living museum.
Amantani Island is a beautiful, barren place with numerous well preserved terraces and is home to about 800 families of farmers, fishermen and weavers living in a few small villages. There are excellent hiking opportunities to the island's two peaks (Pachatata and Pachamama) with spectacular views across the lake and the rugged island landscape. However, although the distances are not great without acclimatisation the hiking is tough.
After an overnight on Amantani Island there is a visit to the more prosperous Taquile Island with its thriving tradition of weaving and knitting. All the men knit, and watch out for their hats -red is for married men and white for bachelors! Quechua is spoken on this island.
Location: Amantani Island is on Lake Titicaca, about 4.5 hours from Puno by boat.
Rooms: Guests are accommodated in the homes of local families, usually being offered the best room in the house, although this is still likely to be basic by western standards. Families can usually accommodate no more than 2 guests, so family groups and large groups travelling together will be accommodated in different houses.
Activities: The afternoon is spend exploring the island, possibly walking to the to the highest point to see the ancient ruins and enjoy views f Lake Titicaca. Dinner is taken in the family home, after which all guests are invited to the village dance and provided with traditional clothing. This is a great opportunity to meet the local people.
Facilities: The accommodation is basic but clean. Bedding and blankets are provided. Guests share the family bathroom. The hospitality is warm and genuine and guests are made to feel very welcome, even being invited into the kitchen to witness dinner being cooked. There may be only limited or possibly no electricity.
Dining: Meals are taken with the family in their home. The food will be basic, usually based on potatoes, grain and fish.
Health: Lake Titicaca is not a malarial area.
Communication: There is no ‘phone, fax or email and no mobile reception on Amantani Island.
The majesty of Machu Picchu, scenery of the Sacred Valley and beauty of Lake Titicaca make this a very special holiday.
"Being part of a local house, a simple guesthouse was constructed for visitors, with a huge livingroom for guests only, offering a heater, two large rooms on the 1st floor, with brilliant view to the Lake Titicaca and on the village. Bathroom downstairs, with shower, colourful, basic and clean. Local food with potatoes, vegetables, tomatoes, chicken, tea in company of our guide. Unfortunately we didn't got much contact to the family; only on our way back to the boat I spoke a while with Juanita, our host mother, about her family. It's more a B&B than a homestay. (We had meals and walks with our guide at Amantaní. He showed us a tiny café and told us stories about the recent past. Local people are in general quite shy, we got the impression they wouldn't propose anything to us in self-initiative.) "
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