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Las Islas Flotantes

Written on: Friday June 22nd, 2007

A journal entry from: See you next year!

Earlier this trip we met a girl who wrote a thesis about the influence of tourism on local communities. And although I don´t know what she exactly wrote, the Islas Flotantes (Floating Islands) would probably make a great case study.

Because we couldn´t get to Bolivia anymore we had to spend the night in Puno. In our hotel we were talked into doing a tour to the Islas Flotantes next morning, before going further to Bolivia. It was an interesting, or should I say strange, experience.

When entering the area of the islands the captain first had to pick up a paper which said to what island we had to go to. This is apparently to divide the groups equally among the different islands. On the island we got a small explanation of the history and the making of the islands while the people of the island were waiting for us to buy their souvenirs. For which we were granted some 15 minutes, but hadn´t any plans to. Afterwards we could take an "original" reed boat to the next island, for a little extra money of course, or we could go with our own tour boat. We did the last. At the next island there was the opportunity to dress like the already waiting locals and sit with them to take pictures. An opportunity we let go by. And soon after we were on our way back to our hotel.

It was fascinating to see how people actually live on reed islands in reed homes, with solar panels to get power for their televisions (among others I presume). But it was sad that it felt more like a real life amusement park. Makes me wonder how their lives were before mass tourism.