Of Nature and Disconnection: Suasi Island

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To return to a city after many years is like visiting it for the first time. This is what I was told before I embarked, suddenly and alone, on a trip to get away from it all, with a final destination of Suasi Island. 

Early in the morning we departed on motorboat from the pier of the hotel Casa Andina Private Collection. We travelled for about 3 hours, during which we visited Los Uros, a set of floating islands made of totora reeds, as well as Taquile Island, with a population of Quechua origins that keeps its ancestral traditions alive. Finally, we reached Suasi Island, an enormous 43-hectare (106 acre) rocky outcrop, one of the few places left where nature asserts itself and humans are relegated to being mere spectators.

Suasi is privately owned, and it is the only island in Peru with an owner. As a little girl, Martha Giraldo visited this enigmatic island and would never have guessed that years later, she would have the opportunity to purchase this island, and that she would have to plant trees, open pathways, bring animals, and maintain the ecological balance of the island.

Some time passed before Martha decided to rent out part of the island to the Casa Andina hotel chain. Under strict conditions of preservation, Casa Andina runs a 24-room lodge with the highest standards of service quality. And suddenly there I was, in an island smack in the middle of Lake Titikaka, disconnected from the nonstop hustle and bustle of the city, with my cell phone off, enjoying nature, without looking at the time (at least for three days), as I walked through this island attempting to uncover its secrets, its past, and its relationship to the Lake. 

Although time seems to come to a standstill in a natural environment like Suasi, my time to depart did arrive, but not without the satisfaction of having seen an enigmatic, unforgettable place. 

Martha lives on the island today, planting native flowers, replanting trees, caring for her plants, and sharing with guests the past and present of Suasi Island, this piece of land that she made her own and which she works for, so that future generations may have the chance to learn about our origins and the value of our natural heritage.

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