IMPACTFUL TRAVEL AT THE HIDDEN ISLAND OF TICONATA IN LAKE TITICACA
Ticonata is a small island in Lake Titicaca. We started to cooperate with the community almost 20 years when we were looking to bring our groups to different place off the tourist track. The community that owns the island is very friendly, their main living activities are fishing (in beautiful handmade little sailing boats) and agriculture on the mainland in Ccotos.
At the beginning we used to come and camp on the island. The local people invited us to have dinner with them, to watch the sunset from their ceremonial place at the top of the island (where you can as well observe an amazing sunset over the Lake Titicaca) and we listened for hours to their stories around the campfire while watching the stars (of the southern hemisphere).
During the day we would go out with their little sail boats to learn about their ways to navigate and fish with nets. Also games of football or volleyball could never be missed, usually the home-team would always win (imagine, at the altitude of 3800m.a.s.l. visitors are usually out of breathe quickly). But each game and each visit to Ticonata was always an amazing experience.
Over time we got to know the community better and started to get involved more with the projects they wanted to realice. The idea was to build little round houses on the island which could be used as a place to sleep for visitors that could be interested in their culture and beautiful island. We helped to put their plan into action and together we started built ‘putucos’, little round houses based on a pre-inca design of ruins that are found in the area made in sun dried adobe bricks and with a tatched roof. Several of our travel groups were happy to get dirty and give them a hand in the process.
We helped with the building of several putucos, bathrooms, a beautiful place to eat and a small museum where the community exhibits mummies they found close to their ceremonial center on the top of the island. One group also helped to restore and build a better harbor on the island for them to dock their boats and protect them better. Because sometimes there can be winds on the lake. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world they say.
All the infrastructure is 100% owned by the community. For many years we were some of the very few people knowing and visiting this island. It is located a bit further in the lake than the more known Taquile and Amantani islands. Now it makes our heart warm to see that the community manages the project well and that they also receive other sustainable travel groups. That we have been able to contribute to this community to value their traditions, natural environment and to improve their installations and wellbeing through the creation of this community-based tourism project.
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