Visit one of the remotest and most spectacular regions in the world for an unforgettable romantic getaway
We spent a long time contemplating the glistening waters of Lake Titicaca as we snuggled deeper into a small pavilion surrounded by gauzy white curtains. We could see flickering sunbeams being caught in billowing curtains as we sipped on a glass of local Peruvian wine, the translucent fabric lending an air of magic to the sun-hazed proceedings.
Lake Titicaca, straddling the borders of Peru and Bolivia, isn’t an obvious choice for a romantic getaway. The mere mention of the country Peru makes one think of the handsome ruins of Machu Picchu or the arid Nazca desert, home to the mysterious Nazca lines. In a bid to go off-the-beaten-path, we found ourselves boarding a bus to Puno, a bustling city on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world (12,500 ft. above sea level) and the birthplace of the Incan civilization.
We had no idea what to expect but we found ourselves stumbling for words minutes after checking into Titilaka, a luxury eco lodge positioned on a remote peninsula overlooking the lake. We could see the sun poised delicately over the ripples created by the waves from the large glass window in my room. Soon enough, it was dipping into the horizon. We stood still as the sky exploded into variegated shades of blue and pink. Lake Titicaca is famed for the prettiest sunsets and night skies in the world and if this welcome was anything to go by, the next few days were going to be unforgettable.
We spent the next few days kayaking on the lake, exploring crumbling Incan ruins and temples built by Spanish conquistadors in the area, and walking on trails, steeped in myth and folklore. But the highlight of our stay at Hotel Titilaka was a visit to a group of floating islands made entirely of reed. The Uros Islands are a group of 90 self-sustainable islands. The inhabitants on the Peruvian side occasionally ‘anchor’ the islands to stop them from floating across the border to Bolivia. These islands offer a rare opportunity to sample a completely different way of life. We’ve never seen anything like it before and I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like it ever again.
It took some time getting accustomed to walking on a landmass made entirely of reed – Both of us kept feeling the island would sink. But the colourful costumes of locals and their little kids soon distracted us. We spent the next few hours exploring the tiny island, the houses, the local school (yep a school on a floating island) with eyes filled with wonder. The inhabitants are completely removed from modern life and still use the barter system to purchase groceries, food, and clothes. We couldn’t get enough of the kids’ ruddy complexion and welcoming smiles. Ladies on the Uros Islands quickly took me under their wing because I was wearing the same colours as them.
Everyday we would look forward to coming back from excursions. Titilaka Lodge works closely with local Aymara communities, so residents are employed as chefs and caretakers. No wonder, meals were bursting with local flavours and ingredients – Peruvian breads warm out of the oven, avocados from the garden next door, trout from Lake Titicaca, freshly-plucked fruits, and coarse organic salt from the salt ponds nearby. Vid and I waited for meal times because every single dish we tasted at Titikaka was memorable. I still can’t get the tuna and avocado tartare, served with a smattering of toasted rye seeds, out of my mind. Vid, on the other hand, chose the Alpaca Carpaccio as a starter every single day – a high recommendation indeed! In a bid to pay homage to colourful local handicrafts, meals were served in rooms adorned with impossibly bright wall hangings, furnishing, and drool worthy rugs.
As the day began to metamorphose into night, we would inevitably find ourselves at the hotel’s patio, sipping on a pisco sour (the Peruvian cocktail of choice!) every evening. Bonfires were lit and warm mulled wine replaced cocktails as the evening turned to night. But we grabbed a blanket and stayed put. That’s because stargazing at Lake Titicaca can become something of an obsession – the night skies are adorned with thousands of sparkling stars and the elusive Milky Way here at the Peruvian border.
It’s these little things that we remember about our skirmish with Lake Titicaca – stargazing on chilly evenings, extraordinary sunsets, the smiles of the faces of Aymara locals, and the sumptuous fresh produce. It’s hard to articulate Lake Titicaca’s remote and otherworldly beauty in words but we’ll just say this – a languorous stay on the shores of the lake made us forget the ‘real’ world for 4 whole days.
- Titilaka Lodge is situated on the shores of the world’s highest navigable lake.
- It is possible to fly from Lima or Cusco to Juliaca Airport. In addition to this, several buses ply between Cusco and Puno. Titilaka Lodge offers complimentary transfers from Juliaca Airport and Puno Bus Station. The hotel is situated on a remote peninsula overlooking Lake Titicaca. There are no ATMs or chemists here – make sure you stock up on money and any medicines/provisions you might need before you leave for Titilaka
- Titilaka Lodge works closely with local communities and offers a unique opportunity to sample Peruvian food, culture, customs, and handicrafts.
- This corner of the world is famed for some of the most stunning sunrises and sunsets in the world. Opt for the dawn rooms overlooking the lake or the corner room that allows rare views of Lake Titicaca.
- All rooms boast of iPod docks, all-inclusive minibars, organic toiletries, heated floors, free wifi, and sandals made from local Peruvian fabrics.
- The hotel offers a number of excursions. Make sure you visit the Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca for an experience like no other.
- Go hungry – the food at Titilaka Lodge is luscious. Make sure you try the trout and fruit sorbet made from local fruits such as chirimoya (custard apple) and mango.
- Don’t forget to creep out for a spot of stargazing at night. Lake Titicaca is one of the most remote and spectacular regions in the world. Consequently the night sky is strewn with thousands of stars and the elusive Milky Way on clear nights. Titilaka Lodge offers blankets, warm mulled wine, and bonfires on request.
- The room rate includes room service, wine tastings, day trips and excursions, cocktails, and exquisite 3 course meals. More information on www.titilaka.com.
Here’s a video from our stay at the hotel:
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This is a modified version of an article first published in The Hindu. We were guests of Titilaka Lodge at Lake Titicaca. We are two extremely opinionated ninjas – so all views (good and bad) are entirely our own. Click on to read our full Disclosure Policy.