Kayaking Lake Titicaca
There is no better way to see the beauty of Lake Titicaca than by sea kayak. We began our kayaking trip far from the hustle and bustle of Puno, in Llachón, a Quechuan village on the lake’s shore. At dawn, with Bolivia’s snow-covered mountains aglow, we launched brand-new sea kayaks onto black waters. I had been to Lake Titicaca several times before but never had I experienced it like this.
Instead of chugging across the lake on a diesel-powered boat, we glided on glassy waters past boulders covered with bright-green algae. We breathed in the musty air and watched waves fold onto the white-sand beaches. I would have sworn we were on an ocean were it not for the impossibly thin air—and the fact that our guide kept drinking the crystal-clear lake water from his cupped hands. We left the shoreline and began to paddle across the lake, as deep as 900 feet in some places, toward the rising hulk of Isla Amantaní. By evening, the lake was glassy calm and stained red by the setting sun.
Titikayak (Bolognesi 334, tel. 051/36-7747, www.titikayak.com), partly owned by the reputable ExplorAndes agency, offers a variety of safe and organized kayak trips leaving from Llachón. A half-day trip tours the shores of the peninsula, a full-day trip goes back and forth to Taquile or Amantaní, and a three-day trip that explores the island in detail. Longer 10-day trips to out-of-the-way places can be arranged. The company has excellent equipment and provides everything needed.
Valentin Quispe (tel. 051/982-1392, llachon [at] yahoo [dot] com) in Llachón is the kayak caretaker, and trips can also be arranged directly through him.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition