Our first taste of Peru was the smallish town of Puno. We left Copacabana via bus that took us over the Bolivia/Peru border (only 10 minutes from Copa) and then on to Puno, the trip took about 3 hours and cost $30Bolivianos. We had made a booking at Marlons House, (as I had heard they had good breakfast for Peruvian standards) so we jumped into a cab straight to the hostel. The cab driver asked whether we had a reservation to which we replied yes, we only later learned that should we have not had a reservation and were simply trying our luck at the hostel, the driver would act as if it was on his recommendation bringing us here and the hostel would then up the price of the room giving the driver a cut, a common practice in Peru. Basically my recommendation is to simply say yes you do have a reservation, it really is none of their business.
Puno has the Uros floating islands, they aren’t real islands (I later learned), they are a large mass of man made islands made of reeds collectively found in the lake about 1/2 an hour away from the port. We took off on a three hour tour after breakfast one morning, after a short boat trip we pulled a long side one of the 86 floating islands and hopped off to greet the family who lived there.
Apparently there were five families living on this conglomeration of smaller islands to make the one larger one where we sat, you really do have to take the whole thing with a grain of salt as we weren’t entirely sure how legit it was that these people spent their entire lives on these floating reeds when Puno was only less than 1/2 an hour away. Was this whole set up purely for the tourists? Rob and I did have a running joke throughout that evening, spotting girls in the town of Puno and questioning whether that was the young 17 year old girl “Vicky”, we had met on the floating island earlier that day, dressed in the local garb and seemingly so simple (however Rob did spot her answering a cellphone at one point).
It was worth the visit however, but we did draw the line at paying again for a 1/2 hour trip via reed boat over to a second island, instead opting to take the original larger boat over. This island was a restaurant selling local cuisine which we opted out of purchasing as we had another plan for lunch, well I did anyway.
Off we took to a vegan restaurant that featured as number one on Tripadvisor, Loving Hut. We seem to find that quite frequently a vegan or vegetarian option will sit at the very top of a Tripadvsior list for a city in South America, we wonder why this? Anyway off we went to the Loving Hut where we were greeted by the really nice owner, the set menu was only 12Soles, 15 if wanted to try all three main options which Rob did. The menu included salads from the salad bar, a giant bowl of vegetable (duh!) soup, a main and a traditional Peruvian desert, I am not sure what it is called but it is the gloopy fruit stuff . We were served our main with the optional brown rice and also added plenty of this type of chilly oil stuff. It was a really good meal considering it was purely Vegan, even Rob said it was ok, and we were stuffed, all for AU$4.80!
I also did a little workout on the rooftop of our hostel, with the altitude still pretty high my warm up run up the stairs almost killed me but I followed through with some other non-cardio exercises. With the assistance of a chair I found and a towel on the ground I had a good workout.