From the South side of the Taquile Island

Taquile, you've left me with great memories. You've taught me a beautiful lesson. It’s a masterpiece of the Peru's oral and intangible heritage to humanity.

Today I celebrate everyone on the island – men, women and children – for their amazing ability to preserve their traditions, despite the encroachment of modern tourism, and their simplicity, kindness and sweetness towards visitors.

To follow in the footsteps of our ancestors at almost 4000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level is only a small part of the astonishing, incredible experience of spending a few hours with the inhabitants of Taquile in this "unique" socio-cultural corner of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake.

The trip begins on a ferryboat, and continues disembarking on a rustic port in the island. My heart starts pumping faster and I feel short of breath as I see an 8-year old indigenous princess approach us shyly to greet us, along with her mother. Both of them were barefoot as they welcomed us and opened the doors to their house. What amazing colors and hues! My eyes could not stop admiring the beauty of the place.

A few meters away, the Mayor of the community greeted us and invited us to chew coca. Later, strengthened and full of spirit, we began our exploration of the Incan world view.

Taquile is a rock island featuring agricultural terraces, eucalyptus trees, and the cantuta flower, with women walking around and preparing wool. You can see sheep everywhere, as well as happiness in the faces of the children. Here you find peace. There are also many symbols, pre-Incan ruins, a magical silence, people speaking Quechua, and more.

Society in Taquile is based on collective work, and on the Inca moral code which boils down to "don't steal, don't lie, and don't be lazy." Men wear black pants and a white shirt, and a vest with different forms and colors which reveal the wearer's role in the community. They also wear an embroidered sash which describes the promises made to their wives. Women wear a red blouse and many multi-colored skirts, covered by a black skirt. Their faces are protected from the sun by a cloak which is also black.

Taquile is an ancestral spot, a place which is proud of its ancestors, special and full of emotion and adventure. You must go and spend time with the families who so kindly share their traditions, myths and legends, and make offerings to Mother Earth (Pachamama), etc. Enjoy the sunset, the interactions with men and women weavers, the storybook landscapes, and the inexplicable affection that any indigenous child inspires. Their little faces made me feel something new, different and very special inside.

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